Tuesday, 5 February 2019 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Agatha, Virgin and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Mark 5 : 21-43

At that time, Jesus then crossed to the other side of the lake, and while He was still on the shore, a large crowd gathered around Him. Jairus, an official of the synagogue, came up and, seeing Jesus, threw himself at His feet, and begged Him earnestly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, so that she may get well and live.”

Jesus went with him, and many people followed, pressing from every side. Among the crowd was a woman, who had suffered from bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a lot at the hands of many doctors, but instead of getting better, she was worse. Because she had heard about Jesus, this woman came up behind Him and touched His cloak, thinking, “If I just touch His clothing, I shall get well.” Her flow of blood dried up at once, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her complaint.

But Jesus was conscious that healing power had gone out from Him, so He turned around in the crowd, and asked, “Who touched My clothes?” His disciples answered, “You see how the people are crowding around you. Why do You ask who touched You?”

But He kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, aware of what had happened, came forward trembling and afraid. She knelt before Him, and told Him the whole truth. Then Jesus said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be free of this illness.”

While Jesus was still speaking, some people arrived from the official’s house to inform him, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Master any further?” But Jesus ignored what they said, and told the official, “Do not fear, just believe.” And He allowed no one to follow Him except Peter, James and John, the brother of James.

When they arrived at the house, Jesus saw a great commotion, with people weeping and wailing loudly. Jesus entered, and said to them, “Why all this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead, but asleep.” They laughed at Him. So Jesus sent them outside, and went with the child’s father and mother and His companions into the room, where the child lay.

Taking her by the hand, He said to her, “Talitha, kumi!” which means, “Little girl, get up!” The girl got up at once and began to walk around. (She was twelve years old). The parents were amazed, greatly amazed. Jesus strictly ordered them not to let anyone know about it; and He told them to give her something to eat.

Tuesday, 5 February 2019 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Agatha, Virgin and Martyr (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 21 : 26b-27, 28, 30ab, 30c-32

I will fulfil my vows before all who revere You. The lowly will eat and be satisfied. Those who seek the Lord will praise Him. May your hearts live forever!

The whole earth will acknowledge and turn to the Lord; the families of nations will worship Him.

Before Him all those who rest in the earth will bow down, all who go down to the dust.

My soul will live for Him. My descendants will serve Him and proclaim the Lord to coming generations; they will announce His salvation to a people yet unborn, “These are the things that He has done.”

Tuesday, 5 February 2019 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Agatha, Virgin and Martyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Hebrews 12 : 1-4

What a cloud of innumerable witnesses surround us! So let us be rid of every encumbrance, and especially of sin, to persevere in running the race marked out before us.

Let us look to Jesus the Founder of our faith, Who will bring it to completion. For the sake of the joy reserved for Him, He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and then sat at the right of the throne of God. Think of Jesus Who suffered so many contradictions from evil people, and you will not be discouraged or grow weary.

Have you already shed your blood in the struggle against sin?

Monday, 4 February 2019 : 4th 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 which related to us about the power of God that He exercises in our world, the salvation which He has given to His people, and which He reminded us through various occasions, how He saved His beloved ones by His mighty power through His servants, as mentioned in the Epistle to the Hebrews, from the days of Moses and the judges of Israel, and then in the Gospel itself we heard the miraculous deed that the Lord Jesus performed as He cast out demons from a man in Gadara region.

We heard of God’s wonderful love and providence for His people, in how He helped all those who have placed their faith in Him. He liberated them from the tyranny and oppression of the Egyptians, the Amalekites, the Canaanites and many others who have became the enemies and oppressors of Israel through the centuries of their stay in the land promised and given to them. He brought them out of their troubles and provided for them, and blessed them.

Then, in the same Epistle to the Hebrews, we heard the mention of all those who have been persecuted and have received oppression and challenges, and yet refused to give in to the demands and pressures from those who sought to destroy them or to subvert them to abandon the Lord. They remained in good faith and committed themselves despite the pains and sufferings, putting their trust in the Lord fully.

The Lord reassured all those who have heard of all these things happening, especially for the early Jewish Christians who were oppressed both by the Jewish authorities and by the Romans and the Gentiles, that He was still with them, providing for them and guarding them despite all the troubles, pains and sorrows that they had to endure. Through the words of the Epistle, the Apostles were bringing this reassurance of God’s promise that He will stand by His people and that ultimately there is nothing, no matter how great, can stand up against God’s power and will.

In the Gospel passage today, we heard how the Lord Jesus cast out from a man who had been ostracised and cast aside from the community because of the numerous multitudes of evil spirits and demons that had possessed him, so many that they called themselves as legion. The Lord showed His might and power by casting out those demons from the man, from whom everyone else had fled. He showed His people, that God’s love and power overcomes everything.

We see how the Lord loves each and every one of us, even those of us who are in the deepest darkness, dirtiest and most tainted by sin. He does not want any one of us, His beloved ones, to suffer the consequences of our unrepented sins, that is, eternal damnation in hell. He Who created us out of love, with His desire to love us and to share the perfect love found in Him with us, certainly wants each and every one of us to be reconciled with Him.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, what is the true significance of today’s Scripture readings to us all? It is the fact that each and every one of us are God’s beloved people, that we should put our complete trust in Him, knowing that He is always ever present in our midst, and standing by us, even in the moments of our greatest sorrow, suffering, agony and pain. God will not abandon us no matter what, and He will always be there. To trust in God is something that we should be doing.

Let us all therefore learn to put our trust in God, and love Him as much as we can, knowing that He has loved us first, with so much love, that He always stands by us, even in our most difficult moments. Let us all be thankful for all the love and grace that He has given to each and every one of us, and strive to do our best in life, to be faithful and to serve the Lord with all of our hearts and strength. Amen.