Tuesday, 19 February 2019 : 6th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 8 : 14-21

At that time, the disciples had forgotten to bring more bread, and had only one loaf with the in the boat. Then Jesus warned them, “Keep your eyes open, and beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod.” And they said of one another, “He saw that we have no bread.”

Aware of this, Jesus asked them, “Why are you talking about the loaves you are short of? Do you not see or understand? Are your minds closed? Have your eyes that do not see and ears that do not hear? And do you not remember when I broke the five loaves among five thousand? How many baskets full of letfovers did you collect?”

They answered, “Twelve.” “And having distributed seven loaves to the four thousand, how many wicker baskets of leftovers did you collect?” They answered, “Seven.” Then Jesus said to them, “Do you still not understand?”

Tuesday, 19 February 2019 : 6th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 28 : 1a and 2, 3ac-4, 3b and 9b-10

Give the Lord, o sons of God, give the Lord the glory due His Name; worship the Lord in great liturgy.

The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the Lord thunders over vast waters. How powerful is the voice of the Lord, how splendorous is the voice of the Lord.

The God of glory thunders, the Lord strips the forests bare, and in His Temple all cry, “Glory!” Over the flood the Lord was sitting; the Lord is King and He reigns forever.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019 : 6th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Genesis 6 : 5-8 and Genesis 7 : 1-5, 10

YHVH saw how great was the wickedness of man on the earth and that evil was always the only thought of his heart. YHVH regretted having created man on the earth and His heart grieved. He said, “I will destroy man whom I created and blot him out from the face of the earth, as well as the beasts, creeping creatures and birds, for I am sorry I made them.” But Noah was pleasing to God.

YHVH said to Noah, “Go into the Ark, you and all your household, for I see that you are just in this generation. Of all the clean animals, you are to take with you seven of each kind, male and female, and a pair of unclean animals, a male and a female. In the same way for the birds of the air, take seven and seven, male and female, to keep their kind alive over all the earth, for in seven days I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights. I will blot out from the face of the earth all the living creatures I have created.”

Noah did all as YHVH had commanded. And after seven days the waters of the flood were over the earth.

Monday, 18 February 2019 : 6th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the story from the Scriptures beginning with the tale of Cain and Abel, the firstborn children of men, of the first family, Adam and Eve. We heard how Cain and Abel grew up in this world, tilling its earth and shepherding the animals of the field. And as they grew up, we heard of the sad and unfortunate tale of how Abel killed his own brother, of his own flesh and blood, because of jealousy and anger.

We see in this unfortunate occasion, the greed and desire, the ego, pride and ambition that are present within us, that when we do not restrain ourselves, it can cause us to do things that can lead us into sin, as what Cain’s actions had shown us. Cain desired acceptance, acknowledgement and honour, and when his offerings to God were not accepted while his younger brother’s offering was accepted, he became angry and jealous at his brother.

And such feelings of anger and jealousy became source of temptation for Cain, and Satan made use of the opportunity to pull the strings at his desire and his ego, and as a result, without thinking further of the grave consequences, he killed Abel, his own younger brother, just so that he might be able to satisfy his jealousy and justify his anger and ego. In that action, he has committed a great sin of murder, and worse still, as he murdered his own brother.

In the Gospel reading today, we heard of another story, in which the people asking the Lord Jesus to perform signs and miracles before them. And especially, it was the Pharisees who asked the Lord to perform those miracles with the malicious intent of hoping to embarrass Him, despite themselves having seen how the Lord Jesus could perform all those wonders and powers which no one, except those sent by God, could have performed.

Yet they still asked the Lord to perform the miracles, with the intention to harm His reputation and to embarrass Him. This came about because of the jealousy that they had against the Lord Jesus, as they saw Him as a rival to their own teaching authority, power and prestige within the community of the people of Israel. They saw His courageous and authoritative teachings as threats to their influence and privileges, especially because large crowds always followed the Lord wherever He went.

Just as Cain felt angry and jealous because his ego and pride was seemingly slighted by the acceptance of Abel’s sacrifice over his, the Pharisees were also affected by the same anger and jealousy, when they saw that the people were no longer solely depending on them as the sole source of knowledge and authority, but instead turning towards the truth that Christ has brought into the midst of His people.

This shows each one of us how dangerous our ego and pride can be. History has shown that when we allow pride and ego to guide our way and our thoughts, our choice of actions and decisions in life, we can end up committing even heinous and wicked crimes and deeds, that can cause the sufferings of others, pain and hurt in those whose livelihood may be affected negatively by our own desires and ego.

Cain killed Abel over this matter, and the Pharisees joined all those who sought the death of the Lord Jesus, and condemned Him to die on the cross at the hands of the Romans, all because of their ego and pride. They allowed all these things to become obstacles in their way of faith, and in the end, sin entered into their hearts and minds, corrupting their whole beings. This is what we can also suffer from, unless we realise how dangerous our pride and ego is, and restrain them.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we should temper our pride and our ego within us. These are things that are always within us, and we will always be tempted to be proud and to be selfish, to be seeking for our own glory and comfort, even at the expense of others. However, as Christians, we have all been called to overcome all of these, and resist the temptation to sin by this manner. Thus, instead of being filled with jealousy and pride, let us instead turn towards God and learn to love Him with all of our hearts.

May the Lord sow within us all the seeds of His love, that we may grow ever stronger in love, and remove from our hearts and minds all pride, egoistic and selfish attitudes, wicked thoughts and desires, and jealousy against others. Let us all love our brothers and sisters from now on, just as much as we love ourselves and love God in the same way as well. Amen.

Monday, 18 February 2019 : 6th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 8 : 11-13

At that time, the Pharisees came and started to argue with Jesus. Hoping to embarrass Him, they asked for some heavenly sign. Then His Spirit was moved. He gave a deep sigh and said, “Why do the people of this present time ask for a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this people.”

Then He left them, got into the boat again and went to the other side of the lake.

Monday, 18 February 2019 : 6th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 49 : 1 and 8, 16bc-17, 20-21

The God of gods, the Lord has spoken, He summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting. Not for your sacrifices do I reprove you, for your burnt offerings are ever before Me.

What right have you to mouth My laws, or to talk about My covenant? You hate My commands and cast My words behind you.

You speak ill of your brother, and slander your own mother’s son. Because I was silent while you did these things, you thought I was like you. But now I rebuke you and make this charge against you.

Monday, 18 February 2019 : 6th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Genesis 4 : 1-15, 25

Adam had intercourse with Eve his wife; she became pregnant and gave birth to a child. She named him Cain, for she said, “I have got a man with help from YHVH.” She later gave birth to Abel, his brother. Abel was a shepherd and kept flocks, and Cain tilled the soil.

It happened after a time that Cain brought fruits of the soil as an offering to YHVH. Abel for his part brought the firstborn of his flock, and some fat as well. Now YHVH was well pleased with Abel and his offering, but towards Cain and his offering He showed no pleasure. This made Cain very angry and downcast.

Then YHVH said to Cain, “Why are you angry and downcast? If you do right, why do you not look up? But if you are not doing what is right, sin is lurking at the door. It is striving to get you, but you must control it.”

Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let us go to the fields.” Once there, Cain turned on his brother Abel and killed him. YHVH said to Cain, “Where is your brother, Abel?” He answered, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?”

YHVH asked, “What have you done? Your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground. Now be cursed and driven from the ground that has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood that your hand had shed. When you till the soil, it will no longer yield you its produce. You will be a fugitive wandering on the earth.”

Cain said to YHVH, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. See! Today You drive me from this land. I must hide from You and be a wanderer and a fugitive on the earth, and it will so happen that whoever meets me will kill me.” YHVH said to him, “Well then, whoever kills Cain, will suffer vengeance seven times.” And YHVH put a mark on Cain to prevent anyone who met him from killing him.

Adam again had intercourse with his wife and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth; for she said, “YHVH has given me another child in place of Abel since Cain killed him.”