Friday, 1 February 2019 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 4 : 26-34

At that time, Jesus also said, “In the kingdom of God it is like this : a man scatters seed upon the soil. Whether he is asleep or awake, be it day or night, the seed sprouts and grows, he knows not how. The soil produces of itself : first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when it is ripe for harvesting, they take the sickle for the cutting : the time for the harvest has come.”

Jesus also said, “What is the kingdom of God like? To what shall we compare it? It is like a mustard seed which, when sown, is the smallest of all the seeds scattered upon the soil. But once sown, it grows up and becomes the largest of the plants in the garden, and even grows branches so big, that the birds of the air can take shelter in its shade.”

Jesus used many such stories, in order to proclaim the word to them in a way that they would be able to understand. He would not teach them without parables; but privately to His disciples He explained everything.

Friday, 1 February 2019 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 36 : 3-4, 5-6, 23-24, 39-40

Trust in the Lord and do good, dwell in the land and live on it. Make the Lord your delight, and He will grant your heart’s desire.

Commit your way to the Lord; put your trust in Him and let Him act. Then will Your revenge come, beautiful as the dawn, and the justification of your cause, bright as the noonday sun.

The Lord is the One Who makes people stand, He gives firmness to those He likes. They may stumble, but they will not fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.

The Lord is the Salvation of the righteous; in time of distress, He is their refuge. The Lord helps them, and rescues them from the oppressor; He saves them for they sought shelter in Him.

Friday, 1 February 2019 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Hebrews 10 : 32-39

Remember the first days when you were enlightened. You had to undergo a hard struggle in the face of suffering. Publicly you were exposed to humiliations and trials, and had to share the sufferings of others who were similarly treated.

You showed solidarity with those in prison; you were dispossessed of your goods and accepted it gladly for you knew you were acquiring a much better and more durable possession. Do not now throw away your confidence that will be handsomely rewarded.

Be patient in doing the will of God, and the promise will be yours : A little, a little longer – says Scripture – and He Who is coming will come; He will not delay. My righteous one will live if he believes: but if he distrusts, I will no longer look kindly on him. We are not among those who withdraw and perish, but among those who believe and win personal salvation.

Thursday, 31 January 2019 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John Bosco, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words from the Scripture telling us about the need for each and every one of us to be faithful to God, and to live out our lives with faith, and not with just empty gestures and superficial dedication. The Lord has given us many talents, abilities and blessings as gifts, and rightfully we are expected to make good use of them, for the benefit and for the good of all of God’s beloved children.

In the Gospel passage today, we heard about the short parable with which the Lord Jesus taught His disciples, with regards to the use of a light that ought to be placed on a lampstand and not to be hidden. This must be understood in the context of the importance of light for the people at that time, and even in our present day world. Light is very important because in a world where the absence of light is often feared and undesired because of the darkness and our inability to see or to experience things around us, light is truly a very important thing to have.

If light is covered up, then it becomes useless, as its light then cannot be seen by anyone. It is also senseless and meaningless for light to be hidden and not be seen by anyone. Therefore, when we heard the parable that the Lord mentioned about light, it was in fact a comparison to the talents, abilities and blessings that God has given to each and every one of us. Hiding up the light is essentially keeping our talents and abilities without using them for the benefit of men.

That is what the Lord told to the people, with the intention to remind them that each and every one of them have been given plenty of blessings, talents and abilities in order to be used for the benefit and good of one another, and yet, many of them have misused those gifts and blessings. Throughout history, we have seen many circumstances and occasions when there had been suffering because of the misuse of these talents and abilities.

In addition, there had been many occasions when the people were ignorant of the sufferings and difficulties faced by their peers around them. For example, in our world today, many people who are in need, poor and suffering, and at the same time, there are all those who are very rich and having abundant blessings and yet, did nothing to help those who were less fortunate. That is why there are so much injustice in this world today.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today each and every one of us are called to make use of the various gifts and blessings that we have been given, and share them with one another. That is what the Lord truly meant as He told His disciples the parable of the light, put on a lampstand to provide light to dispel the darkness that is present around us. We are called to do this, as part of what God had commanded us all to do.

Today, we celebrate the feast day of St. John Bosco, the saint well known for his dedication and hard work for the benefit of the poor and the less fortunate, in particular his work among the young boys and delinquents, who were gathered by the saint into a house where they could gain education and proper guidance with love and compassion. St. John Bosco showed love, care and compassion for those who need them the most and touched their lives.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are all called to follow the examples of St. John Bosco in his dedication in serving the people of God, his love for the poor, the needy and all those who need care and attention. Let us all share the love and the blessings that God has given us so generously, so that none of us will be left unloved and uncared for anymore. Let us turn our hearts and minds wholeheartedly to the Lord from now on.

May the Lord be with us always, and may He continue to lead and guide us down the right path, that in everything we say, do and act, we will always bring glory to God, and will love Him ever more, with each and every passing days. May God bless us all in everything, now and always. Amen.

Thursday, 31 January 2019 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John Bosco, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Mark 4 : 21-25

At that time, Jesus also said to His disciples, “When the light comes, is it put under a basket or a bed? Surely it is put on a lamp stand. Whatever is hidden will be disclosed, and whatever is kept secret will be brought to light. Listen then, if you have ears!”

And He also said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear. In the measure you give, so shall you receive, and still more will be given to you. For to the one who produces something, more will be given; and from him who does not produce anything, even what he has will be taken away from him.”

Thursday, 31 January 2019 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John Bosco, Priest (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 23 : 1-2, 3-4ab, 5-6

The earth and its fullness belong to the Lord, the world and all that dwell in it. He has founded it upon the ocean and set it firmly upon the waters.

Who will ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who will stand in His holy place? Those with clean hands and pure heart, who desire not what is vain.

They will receive blessings from the Lord, a reward from God, their Saviour. Such are the people who seek Him, who seek the face of Jacob’s God.

Thursday, 31 January 2019 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John Bosco, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Hebrews 10 : 19-25

So, my friends, we are assured of entering the Sanctuary, by the Blood of Jesus Who opened, for us, this new and living way, passing through the curtain, that is, His Body. Because we have a High Priest in charge of the House of God, let us approach, with a sincere heart, with full faith, interiorly cleansed from a bad conscience, and our bodies washed, with pure water.

Let us hold fast to our hope, without wavering, because He, Who promised, is faithful. Let us consider, how we may spur one another to love and good works. Do not abandon the assemblies, as some of you do, but encourage one another, and all the more, since the Day is drawing near.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, as we continue the discourse regarding the High Priesthood of Christ from the Epistle to the Hebrews, we are reminded yet again of the wonders of God’s love that He has willingly sacrificed Himself, offering His own Most Precious Body and Blood as the High Priest of us all, that through this sacred and worthy offering, all of us are freed from the slavery of sin, and receive the renewed grace of God’s love.

He has made a new Covenant with each and every one of us by the outpouring of His Blood and the shedding of His Body on the altar of the cross, sanctified and sealed by that sacrifice, making a Covenant that is everlasting and unbreakable, the Covenant of love between God and His beloved people. And because of His love for us, He willingly embraced that painful and yet loving sacrifice, enduring all the sufferings for our sake, that we may live.

Yet, for all that the Lord has done for our sake, many of us are still incapable of recognising the wonderful gift of this love. And the Lord reminds us about this through the Gospel passage today, in which He told His disciples the famous parable of the sower. In that parable, the Lord told the people of a sower who sowed his seeds which fell on different types of soil and conditions, in each of which, the seeds failed to grow except for the ones that fell on the rich and fertile soil.

Those seeds that the sower spread on the soil, is the Word of God, the faith and the truth that God has brought upon us through His Church and all those who worked hard to spread the Good News and the message of the Gospels of Christ. The sower himself is the Lord, Who sowed good things in us and spread His Good News and truth in our midst, that each and every one of us may grow in our faith and become closer to Him.

Unfortunately, based on what the Lord had gone through with us through the parable, we heard how many of those seeds fell on various types of soil medium, which were not conducive for proper and healthy growth and development of the plants. First of all, the seeds that fell on the roadside were eaten up by birds and therefore did not grow, representing all those who were distracted by the many temptations of life, and chose to follow Satan and his lies instead of following the way that God has shown us.

And then those seeds that fell among thorns and thistles and were strangled by those plants, as well as those that fell on rocky ground and failed to grow deep roots and dried up, were those who had the faith in them and yet, they were unable to grow in faith as the burdens of worldly temptations and the allures of pleasure and human greed caused them to falter and fall, to be made to bow to the pressures of the expectations of our world and our community.

It is only those seeds that fell on the rich and fertile soil that managed to grow into healthy and fruitful plants that bore rich produce and returns, many multiples of what had been planted in the first place. This rich and fertile soil is in fact referring to all those who have allowed God’s words and truth to come into their midst, and not only that, but they also internalised and understood those words and their meaning, and making them integral part of their lives.

That is how the Lord’s grace, love and blessings can bear fruit within us, and make us to be bountiful and great, when we allow God to enter into our hearts and minds, and transform us completely from the inside out. And thus, brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us are called to love God in the same manner as He has loved us all so deeply and wonderfully, that He has laid down His own life for our sake, offering for our salvation, the perfect offering of His own Most Precious Body and Blood as our Eternal High Priest.

Let us all turn towards the Lord from now on, loving Him and devoting ourselves to Him, each and every days of our life. Let us all open our hearts and minds, to allow God to enter into our lives, changing us and transforming us to become His worthy and beloved servants, and His wonderful people from now on. May God bless us all and our every endeavours, and may He be with us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 4 : 1-20

At that time, Jesus began to teach by the lake; but such a large crowd gathered about Him, that He got into a boat and sat in it on the lake, while the crowd stood on the shore. He taught them many things through parables. In His teaching, He said, “Listen! The sower went out to sow. As he sowed, some of the seed fell along a path; and the birds came and ate it up.”

“Some of the seed fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil; it sprang up immediately, because it had no depth; but when the sun rose and burnt it, it withered, because it had no roots. Other seed fell among thorn bushes; and the thorns grew and choked it; so it did not produce any grain.”

“But some seed fell on good soil, grew and increased and yielded grain; some seed produced thirty times as much, some sixty, and some one hundred times as much.” And Jesus added, “Listen then, if you have ears.”

When the crowd went away, some who were around Him with the Twelve asked about the parables. He answered them, “The mystery of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But for those outside, everything comes in parables, so, that, the more they see, they do not perceive; the more they hear, they do not understand; otherwise they would be converted and pardoned.”

Jesus said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How, then, will you understand any of the parables? What the sower is sowing is the word. Those along the path, where the seed fell, are people who hear the word, but as soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.”

“Other people receive the word like rocky ground. As soon as they hear the word, they accept it with joy. But they have no roots, so it lasts only a little while. No sooner does trouble or persecution come because of the word, than they fall. Others receive the seed, as seed among thorns. After they hear the word, they are caught up in the worries of this life, false hope of riches and other desires. All these come in and choke the word, so that finally it produces nothing.”

“And there are others who receive the word as good soil. They hear the word, take it to heart and produce : some thirty, some sixty, and some one hundred times as much.”

Wednesday, 30 January 2019 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 109 : 1, 2, 3, 4

The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand till I make Your foes Your footstool.”

From Zion the Lord will extend Your mighty sceptre and You will rule in the midst of Your enemies.

Yours is royal dignity from the day You were born in holy majesty. Like dew from the womb of the dawn, I have begotten You.

The Lord has sworn, and He will not take back His word : “You are a Priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.”