Friday, 23 March 2018 : 5th Week of Lent, Memorial of St. Turibius de Mogrovejo, Bishop (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

John 10 : 31-42

At that time, the Jews then picked up stones to throw at Jesus; so He said, “I have openly done many good works among you, which the Father gave Me to do. For which of these do you stone Me?”

The Jews answered, “We are not stoning You for doing a good work, but for insulting God; You are only a Man, and You make Yourself God.” Then Jesus replied, “Is this not written in your law : I said, you are gods? So those who received this word of God were called gods, and the Scripture is always true.”

“What then should be said of the One anointed, and sent into the world, by the Father? Am I insulting God when I say, ‘I am the Son of God?’ If I am not doing the works of My Father, do not believe Me. But if I do them, even if you have no faith in Me, believe because of the works I do; and know that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.”

Again they tried to arrest Him, but Jesus escaped from their hands. He went away again to the other side of the Jordan, to the place where John had baptised, and there He stayed. Many people came to Jesus, and said, “John worked no miracles, but he spoke about You, and everything he said was true.” And many became believers in that place.

Friday, 23 March 2018 : 5th Week of Lent, Memorial of St. Turibius de Mogrovejo, Bishop (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 17 : 2-3a, 3bc-4, 5-6, 7

I love You, o Lord, my Strength, the Lord is my Rock, my Fortress, my Deliverer and my God.

He is the Rock in Whom I take refuge. He is my Shield, my powerful Saviour, my Stronghold. I call on the Lord, Who is worthy of praise : He saves me from my enemies!

A deadly flood surrounded me, devillish torrents rushed at me; caught by the cords of the grave, I was brought to the snares of death.

But I called upon the Lord in my distress, I cried to my God for help; and from His Temple He heard my voice, my cry of grief reached His ears.

Friday, 23 March 2018 : 5th Week of Lent, Memorial of St. Turibius de Mogrovejo, Bishop (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Jeremiah 20 : 10-13

I hear many people whispering, “Terror is all around! Denounce him! Yes, denounce him!” All my friends watch me to see if I will slip : “Perhaps he can be deceived,” they say; “then we can get the better of him and have our revenge.”

But YHVH, a mighty Warrior, is with me. My persecutors will stumble and not prevail; that failure will be their shame and their disgrace will never be forgotten. YHVH, God of hosts, You test the just and probe the heart and mind.

Let me see Your revenge on them, for to You I have entrusted my cause. Sing to YHVH! Praise YHVH and say : He has rescued the poor from the clutches of the wicked!

Thursday, 22 March 2018 : 5th Week of Lent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the Lord Who made a covenant with His servant Abraham, as recorded in the Old Testament, saying that He would establish His descendants and bless them forever, because of the great faith which Abraham had shown to the Lord, by obeying Him and following Him at every moments of his life.

But in the Gospel passage today, we see how the Lord Jesus was angry at those people who called themselves the descendants of Abraham and Israel. They claimed to be the descendants of those who were good and faithful servants of God, but in their actions and deeds, and in their lack of faith in God, and in what the Lord Jesus had delivered to them, they were nothing like that of their illustrious predecessors.

As we heard in the Gospel passage today, the people accused Jesus of having colluded with Satan and worked with him in His teachings among the people, just because He told them the plain truth and reality, which they refused to listen to and to believe in, as those plain truth and reality were difficult to be accepted. Yet, that was what had afflicted them, the reality that the people had sinned and erred against God.

But God was truly a patient and compassionate God, Who does not let Himself be angered unnecessarily because of His people’s constant disobedience and waywardness. Indeed, they had erred many, many times, and despite constant reminders and messages sent to them through the prophets, they continued to disobey because they have hardened their hearts and closed off their ears and minds from receiving God’s truth.

They claimed that they were faithful to the Lord and that they have preserved His laws. However, in reality, they were only paying lip service to Him and did not truly love Him as they should have. They were only obeying the laws and the rules because they were following the traditions of their predecessors, without truly understanding and appreciating why they did all that they had done.

This is not what God wanted from them. What He wanted from them was true dedication and love, that they turn themselves completely towards Him, abandoning their sinful ways and all of their wayward behaviour. He wanted them all to be like their forefather, Abraham, in his faith and dedication, and in how they lived their lives, trusting in God and being good and righteous towards one another.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, that is what the Lord is also calling us to, during this season of Lent, that we turn away from all of our past bad and wicked habits, to embrace His ways and to repent from our sins wholeheartedly. Are we able to commit to this change in our way of life? This is surely not something that is too difficult for us to do? After all, let us think about it, that God Himself had done so much for us, so as to send us all His own beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to save us by His death on the cross.

And that cross, which Christ bore willingly in great suffering and pain towards Calvary, and on which He was hung above for all of the people to see, is the source of our salvation, and it is where all of the combined weight and consequences of our sins have been gathered and taken by Christ, that He suffered and died in our place. If we believe in Him and put ourselves completely in Him, entrusting our fate to Him, He will give us the succour from all of our sins, and we will be worthy of the grace of eternal life.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore, as we approach the coming celebration of the Holy Week and the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, let us all draw closer to God and deepen our relationship by spending our time in prayer, in contemplation and deeper understanding of our own sins, and by being more charitable and generous in our love for our fellow brothers and sisters. Let us turn towards God and turn our back away from our sins.

May the Lord bless us all, and may He be with us all throughout our journey of faith, that we may find our way into the eternal glory promised to us by the Lord. Amen.

Thursday, 22 March 2018 : 5th Week of Lent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

John 8 : 51-59

At that time, Jesus said to the Jews, “Truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word, he will never experience death.” The Jews replied, “Now we know that You have a demon. Abraham died and the prophets as well, but You say, ‘Whoever keeps My word will never experience death.’ Who do You claim to be? Do You claim to be greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets also died.”

Then Jesus said, “If I were to praise Myself, it would count for nothing. But He Who gives glory to Me is the Father, the very One you claim as your God, although you do not know Him. I know Him, and if I were to say that I do not know Him, I would be a liar like you. But I know Him and I keep His word. As for Abraham, your ancestor, he looked forward to the day when I would come; and he rejoiced when he saw it.”

The Jews then said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old and You have seen Abraham?” And Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” They then picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and left the Temple.

Thursday, 22 March 2018 : 5th Week of Lent (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 104 : 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

Look to the Lord and be strong; seek His face always. Remember His wonderful works, His miracles and His judgments.

You descendants of His servant Abraham, you sons of Jacob, His chosen ones! He is the Lord our God; His judgments reach the whole world.

He remembers His covenant forever, His promise to a thousand generations, the covenant He made with Abraham, the promise He swore to Isaac.

Thursday, 22 March 2018 : 5th Week of Lent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Genesis 17 : 3-9

Abram fell face down and God said to him, “This is My covenant with you : you will be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer will you be called Abram, but Abraham, because I will make you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you more and more famous; I will multiply your descendants; nations shall spring from you, kings shall be among your descendants.”

“And I will establish a covenant, an everlasting covenant between Myself and you and your descendants after you; from now on I will be your God and the God of your descendants after you, for generations to come. I will give to you and your descendants after you the land you are living in, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession and I will be the God of your race.”

God said to Abraham, “For your part, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you, generation after generation.”