Wednesday, 16 January 2019 : 1st Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture reminding us of the many works that the Lord Jesus has done in our midst among His people, in the Gospel passage which we heard. The Lord Jesus travelled from places to places with His many disciples, performing many works and miracles, healing the sick and casting out demons, teaching the people on God’s truth and revealing the meaning of His laws.

This hard work and commitment we have heard, that the Lord and His disciples worked even until late at night and early in the morning, to serve the Lord’s people and to bring them closer towards God and His salvation. Jesus continued working even until late, so that more and more people could come to Him and be healed from their afflictions, be it from physical diseases or from troubles of the mind and soul, like those who were possessed by demons.

But the Lord also showed that He did not do all these for His own personal glory, and He did it all first and foremost because of His love for each and every one of us, and His love and obedience for the Father’s will, Whose will is our salvation and liberation from suffering because of our sins. When the people lauded Him and wanted to make Him their King, He quietly stepped aside and went away from the place to another place.

It was the same action that He did as He told His disciples, that although there were many more seeking His healing at that place, but He was called to do His work at many other places. Hence, He continued to travel from place to place, befitting what He Himself said, that the Son of Man had no place to lay down His head. He did everything for our sake, for the love He has for each and every one of us, and for the love and obedience He has to His heavenly Father.

And His greatest mission was mentioned in our first reading today, the continuation of the passages taken from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Hebrews, in which the Apostle St. Paul wrote to the Jewish Christian communities, linking the role and works of Christ to the role of the High Priest of God, which essentially explained what He has done for the sake of all of them, by His sacrifice on the cross.

To some of the Jews, the death of Christ in such a humiliating way on the cross, His rejection by the chief priests and the Sanhedrin Council would have amounted to a defeat and humiliation. But St. Paul told them that it was not so, for it was in truth part of what Christ has come into this world for, to be our High Priest, offering not the blood of animals but His own Body and Blood, of the Lamb of God, the Son of God incarnate in Man, that while He offered Himself as the perfect oblation for the forgiveness of our sins, He opened for us the path to eternal life.

This, is the culmination of the many good works that the Lord Jesus had performed in this world, that He gave everything up for us out of love, even laying down His own life for us. Now, are we then willing to believe in Him, and love Him with ever more zeal and devotion with each and every passing days? Let us all thank Him, Who has done everything for our sake, ceaselessly and tirelessly trying to help us through His compassionate love.

May the Lord, our loving God and Father continue to love us as He has done all these while. May He continue to bless us each and every day, and also with the grace to know His love and the strength to obey His will, in our every actions, words and deeds. May God be with us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019 : 1st Week 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.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019 : 1st Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 104 : 1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9

Give thanks to the Lord, call on His Name; make known His works among the nations. Sing to Him, sing His praise, proclaim all His wondrous deeds.

Glory in His holy Name; let those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and be strong; seek His face always.

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.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019 : 1st Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Hebrews 2 : 14-18

And because all those children share one same nature of flesh and blood, Jesus likewise had to share this nature. This is why His death destroyed the one holding the power of death, that is the devil, and freed those who remained in bondage all their lifetime because of the fear of death.

Jesus came to take by the hand not the Angels but the human race. So He had to be like His brothers and sisters in every respect, in order to be the High Priest faithful to God and merciful to them, a Priest able to ask pardon and atone for their sins. Having been tested through suffering, He is able to help those who are tested.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019 : 1st Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Hebrews, speaking about God’s dominion and power which He has given to His Saviour and Son, Jesus Christ. This was conveyed to the Jewish Christian community, many of whom believed that Jesus was the promised Messiah and Prophet, but many of them did not yet hold the position of believing that Jesus is the Son of God.

St. Paul wrote that to the Lord Jesus has been given the authority from His heavenly Father, that even though to all He appeared as a Man, the Son of Man, but He was not like any other men. For He was in truth, more than just a Man. Even the Angels and the evil spirits, who were fallen angels and all those who rebelled against God with Satan, they have to obey to Him and listen to His commands. That is why in the Gospel passage today, we heard how the Lord commanded the evil spirit to leave the man who was possessed by it.

In that passage, we heard the evil spirit himself proclaiming loudly before all who were gathered, Who the Lord Jesus truly was, that He was the Holy One of God, the One sent into the world with power and authority to heal mankind and to redeem them from their sins. Ironically, when the Pharisees, the teachers of the Law and all those who should have welcomed the Lord because they were knowledgeable of the prophecies concerning Him, failed to do so and even rejected Him, an evil spirit proclaimed Him as Lord.

This is a testimony of truth that is beyond all doubt, for an evil spirit may be able to do all sorts of falsehoods and lies, and spread untruths to make others fall into sin, but even it and the other evil spirits, and also the devil himself cannot tell lies before the Lord, Who is their Lord and Master as well. Satan was once the most brilliant Angel, Lucifer that fell because of his own ego and pride, and many Angels followed in his footsteps, cast out of heaven and becoming fallen angels and demons.

Therefore, as they were still creatures of the One and only Lord and King, Creator and Master of the entire universe, they had to obey the King of kings, and in Jesus, Who is both Man and God, with fullness of authority and power over them, the devil has no power and means to acknowledge but the truth. They knew that they had no power over Him and His humanity, for His humanity is spotless and perfect without any taint of sin.

Yet, it was God’s own people that rejected Him and refused to believe in Him and His words. They rather trusted and believed in their own ego and pride, in the things that caused Satan and all the fallen angels to fall from God’s grace before. They hardened their hearts against God’s love, and as a result, although they have witnessed firsthand the wonderful works and miracles of God, they failed to believe and instead, persecuted those who believed in the Lord’s truth.

St. Paul therefore wrote to all those Jewish communities and people who believed in the Lord despite the opposition of those who were influential in their community, including many of the chief priests, the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law. St. Paul wrote to them to keep the faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the One Whom the Lord has promised to His people as His Saviour, and Whose loving sacrifice on the cross has brought about the redemption of our sins.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we are called to reflect on this love which God has for each and every one of us, and we are called to love God in the same way that He has loved us first. He was so generous in His love, that despite our disobedience and sins, He Who loves each and every one of us do not wish us to be destroyed. Instead, He gave us every opportunity to be saved, and through His own Son, He has made this into a reality.

Let us all therefore live our lives from now on with faith, committing ourselves to the will of God, loving Him each and every days of our lives, and devoting our efforts, time and attention to Him. Let us glorify God through our actions, words and deeds from now on. May God bless us all now and forevermore. Amen.