Saturday, 2 March 2019 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Mark 10 : 13-16

At that time, people were bringing their little children to Jesus to have Him touch them, and the disciples rebuked them for this. When Jesus noticed it, He was very angry and said, “Let the children come to Me and do not stop them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.”

Then He took the children in His arms and, laying His hands on them, blessed them.

Saturday, 2 March 2019 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Psalm 102 : 13-14, 15-16, 17-18a

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust.

The days of mortals are like grass; they bloom like a flower of the field; but the wind passes over it, and it is gone, his field will not see him again.

But the Lord’s kindness is forever with those who fear Him; so is His justice, for their children’s children, for those who keep His covenant and remember His commands.

Saturday, 2 March 2019 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Sirach 17 : 1-15

The Lord created man from the earth and let him return to earth. He settled a fixed time for them and a set number of days, giving them power over everything on earth. He endowed them with a strength like His own, making them in His own image.

He put fear of them in all living things, thus they had mastery over the animals and birds. He endowed them with knowledge; He gave them tongue and eyes, ears and a mind to think with. He filled them with wisdom and knowledge; He taught them good and evil. He put His own eye in their hearts so they would understand the greatness of His works. They will praise His holy Name and relate the magnificence of His creation.

He gave them revealed knowledge as well and handed over to them the Law of life. He established an everlasting covenant with them and let them know His judgments. Human eyes saw the splendour of the Glory of God; their ears heard the grandeur of His voice.

He said to them, “Keep yourselves from all wrongdoing,” and to each of them He gave commands regarding his neighbour. Their conduct is always before the Lord; they cannot escape His sight.

Friday, 1 March 2019 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listened to the words of the Scripture speaking to us about the matter of believing in God and having a true and genuine love for Him. Unless we have that love and devotion in us, it is unlikely that we will be able to live our lives with faith. And for us, we also have to discern well how we should make our relationships with one another, imitating the love which we have for God.

In the first reading today, taken from the book of the prophet Sirach, we heard how different types of friends are present, and we may not realise this reality even from among those whom we call as friends. Some of those who become our friends, they did so because they are seeking for some benefits and gains for themselves, and when things go sour and our fortunes dwindle, they will be quick to draw a line between them and us, and distance themselves from us.

The friendship of this type cannot be called true friendship, as it means that the friendship is only valid and is maintained only conditionally, when things are good and favourable. The moment that things turn upside down and become unfavourable, the friendship also end up becoming lost. Then this kind of relationship cannot be called as true friendship, as true friendship and in fact relationship requires one to be committed and faithful in times both good and bad.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in today’s Gospel passage, we go to an even higher level of relationship, and that is the relationship between a man and a woman joined together in the holy and blessed union of matrimony, or marriage. This is a relationship in which a man is joined to a woman, and are united together in a new life blessed by God, and this union is blessed and sanctified by God such that, as the Lord Himself put it, no man should ever divide.

And yet, the Pharisees and some of the teachers of the Law tried to test the Lord by arguing that since Moses had allowed for the practice of divorce, provided that the person desiring the divorce must prepare a documentation and certification for the divorce, then a husband can divorce his wife and vice versa. But in doing so, they disregarded and misunderstood the sanctity of marriage and what the Lord had intended for His people, and instead, succumbing to the pressures of worldly desires and greed.

Again, the main reason for divorces to happen, both then as it is now, is the lack of true love and genuine commitment between the parties involved in the holy matrimony, where each of the individuals were involved in the marriage for their own ulterior motives and for their individual selfish desired and wishes. As a result, when the marriage is happy and filled with good things for both parties, there may be no issue, but the moment the marriage begins to encounter problems, more problems and troubles are quick to accumulate.

And this is where the devil is very quick to make use of the perfect opportunity to strike at us, to cause divisions and bitterness among us, hatred and lack of love and commitment to one another, causing the breaking of our families and matrimonial relationships, and even our other forms of friendships. The devil has many tools within his disposal, to strike at us relentlessly, by making use of the pride, ego, desire and the wickedness within our hearts and minds against us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are reminded of the need for us to have love within us and in our relationships, for us to be filled with genuine love instead of lust, dedication instead of selfishness and pride, compassion and true passion instead of greed and worldly desires. Today, we are called to love with tenderness, to do our very best to follow His examples, in how He has loved us all so greatly despite all of our sins and wickedness.

God remains in love with us despite our unfaithfulness, because He is ultimately faithful, dedicated and genuine in His love for each and every one of us. Are we able to show the same kind of love in our own lives? And are we able to show the same love in our relationship with God as well as with our fellow men? May the Lord strengthen us, and may He guide us all to love Him and serve Him with greater commitment, now and always. Amen.

Friday, 1 March 2019 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 10 : 1-12

At that time, Jesus then left that place and went to the province of Judea, beyond the Jordan River. Once more crowds gathered around Him and once more He taught them as He always did. Some (Pharisees came and) put Him to the test with this question, “Is it right for a husband to divorce his wife?”

He replied, “What law did Moses give you?” They answered, “Moses allowed us to write a certificate of dismissal in order to divorce.” Then Jesus said to them, “Moses wrote this law for you, because you are stubborn. But in the beginning of creation God made them male and female, and because of this, man has to leave father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one body. So they are no longer two but one body. Therefore let no one separate what God has joined.”

When they were indoors at home, the disciples again asked Him about this, and He told them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against his wife, and the woman who divorces her husband and marries another also commits adultery.”

Friday, 1 March 2019 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 118 : 12, 16, 18, 27, 34, 35

Praise to You, o Lord; instruct me in Your statutes, that with my lips I may declare all Your spoken decrees.

In Your laws I will rejoice and will not neglect Your words.

Open my eyes that I may see the marvellous truths in Your law.

Explain to me all Your ordinances, and I will meditate on Your wondrous deeds.

Give me understanding, that I may observe Your law with all my heart.

Guide me in obeying Your instructions, for my pleasure lies in them.

Friday, 1 March 2019 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Sirach 6 : 5-17

A gentle word makes many friends, an agreeable tongue calls forth gracious replies. Let your friends be many; but your counsellors, one in a thousand! If you would gain a friend, begin by testing him and do not put your confidence in him too quickly. For there is the friend who is such when it suits him but he does not remain faithful in the time of your adversity.

There is the friend who becomes an enemy and, to your confusion, makes known why you quarrelled. There is the friend who shares your table but does not remain faithful when things go against you. In times of prosperity he will be like your shadow and he will speak freely to those of your household. But if you are humiliated, he will turn against you and will avoid meeting you.

Distance yourself from your enemies and be careful about your friends. The faithful friend is a secure refuge; whoever has found one has found a treasure. A faithful friend is beyond all price; hold him as priceless. A faithful friend is a life-saving remedy, and those who fear the Lord will find one.

Whoever fears the Lord will make true friends for, as a man is, such will his friend be.

Thursday, 28 February 2019 : 7th 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 God through the Scriptures speaking to us about the need for us to realise at first, just how sinful we have been all these while, in our actions and deeds, in our words and in how we deal with one another in our respective lives. And we must realise how sin can be very dangerous for us, if we do not do anything in order to resist the temptation to sin, and to keep ourselves free from those sins.

In the first reading today, taken from the Book of the prophet Sirach, we heard about the reminder that sin is truly our great enemy, and how each and every one of us are sinners, whether it be great or small, significant or minute, but each one of us have sinned, and sin has corrupted our hearts, minds, and our very existence. Sin is disobedience against God, and because of sin, we have been sundered and separated from God’s grace.

But in the same reading we also heard how it was said that God’s compassion and mercy were indeed very great. This in fact is not wrong, as God’s love and compassion for each and every one of us is indeed very great, that He patiently waited and tried to reconcile us to Himself, through His many prophets and messengers, all those whom He has sent into our midst to call us back to Him, that we may repent from our sinful ways.

Yet, what the prophet Sirach reminded each one of us is that, we must never test God, by trying out His patience and by continuously being disobedient through our constant sins before Him. We also should not think that sin has no consequence for us, as perhaps at the moment when we sin without having any repercussions, doing what are wicked and sinful in the sight of God and men, no one may seem to hold us to account for our sins, but the time of reckoning will come for us, at the time that we least expect.

Why is that so, brothers and sisters in Christ? That is because it does not matter what status, power, glory or wealth we have in life, but all of us will eventually have to face death in the face, and death is the ultimate equaliser for all, as whether we are rich or poor, strong or weak, intelligent or not so intelligent, influential or nobody, we are all bound to die because of our sins. Just as sin came because of our disobedience, thus death came because of sin.

The Lord reminded us as well in the Gospel passage today, that each and every one of us must be wary of sin, in all of the things that we say and do, that we do not end up falling deeper and deeper into this trap of sin that has ensnared many of those who have gone before us. He used such dramatic expressions and language, telling the people to chop of their hands, their legs, plucking off their eyes if those have caused them to fall into sin, not for them to listen and obey to His words literally, but rather, for us all to understand that sin truly is dangerous.

Sin is like a terrible and dangerous disease that can easily and rapidly spread unless we do something about it. Our hands, legs and limbs, our eyes and all our organs are all without blame by themselves, and they are all capable of both good and wicked deeds alike. By themselves they are neither good nor wicked, for it is our hearts and minds that are filled with either things that are holy or unholy in nature.

What God wants each and every one of us to do is that we must make the conscious effort to cut ourselves off from sin, not by mere external actions, but through total internal and wholesome conversion, of our hearts, minds and souls, so that while once we may have lived in darkness and filled with sin, now we should begin anew, in a journey that is filled with a new purpose, that is to serve God with all of our strength.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today let us all awaken ourselves from our long slumber, and realise how fortunate each and every one of us to have been given these opportunities by God. He has given us chances after chances to bring our lives into order, and to turn our sinfulness back into a life of faith and dedication. Let us all not wait any moment longer, for none of us can know the exact moment of our death, and when it comes, it may already be too late for us.

May God be with us always, and may He strengthen us throughout our journey in life. May He grant us the courage to live faithfully according to His ways, and help us all to refocus our lives on Him, that we may gradually move away from our sinful past, and enter into a new and more meaningful existence in faith. Amen.

Thursday, 28 February 2019 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 9 : 41-50

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone gives you a drink of water because you belong to Christ and bear His Name, truly, I say to you, he will not go without reward. If anyone should cause one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble and sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a great millstone around his neck.”

“If your hand makes you fall into sin, cut it off! It is better for you to enter life without a hand, than with two hands to go to hell, to the fire that never goes out. And if your foot makes you fall into sin, cut it off! It is better for you to enter life without a foot, than with both feet to be thrown into hell.”

“And if your eye makes you fall into sin, tear it out! It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than, keeping both eyes, to be thrown into hell, where the worms that eat them never die, and the fire never goes out. The fire itself will preserve them.”

“Salt is a good thing; but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves and be at peace with one another.”

Thursday, 28 February 2019 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 1 : 1-2, 3, 4 and 6

Blessed is the one who does not go where the wicked gather, or stand in the way of sinners, or sit where the scoffers sit! Instead, he finds delight in the law of the Lord and meditates day and night on His commandments.

He is like a tree beside a brook producing its fruit in due season, its leaves never withering. Everything he does is a success.

But it is different with the wicked. They are like chaff driven away by the wind. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous but cuts off the way of the wicked.