Wednesday, 20 February 2019 : 6th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 8 : 22-26

At that time, when Jesus and His disciples came to Bethsaida, He was asked to touch a blind man who was brought to Him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When He had put spittle on his eyes and laid His hands upon him, He asked, “Can you see anything?”

The man, who was beginning to see, replied, “I see people! They look like trees, but they move around.” Then Jesus laid His hands on his eyes again and the man could see perfectly. His sight was restored and he could see everything clearly. Then Jesus sent him home, saying, “Do not return to the village.”

Wednesday, 20 February 2019 : 6th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 115 : 12-13, 14-15, 18-19

How can I repay the Lord for all His goodness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the Name of the Lord.

I will fulfil my vows to the Lord in the presence of all His people. It is painful to the Lord to see the death of His faithful.

I will carry out my vows to the Lord in the presence of His people, in the courts of the house of the Lord, in your midst, o Jerusalem.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019 : 6th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Genesis 8 : 6-13, 20-22

At the end of the forty days Noah opened the window of the Ark that he had built and let the raven out. This went off and kept flying to and fro until the waters had dried up from the earth.

Then Noah let out the dove to see if the waters were receding from the earth. But the dove could not find a place to set its foot and flew back to him in the Ark for the waters still covered the surface of the whole earth. So Noah stretched out his hand, took hold of it and brought it back to himself in the Ark.

He waited some more days and again sent the dove out from the Ark. This time the dove came back to him in the evening with a fresh olive branch in its beak. Then Noah knew the waters had receded from the earth. He waited seven more days and let the dove loose, but it did not return to him any more.

In the year six hundred and one, in the first month, on the first day of the month, the waters dried up from the earth. Noah then removed the covering from the Ark and looked out and saw that the surface of the earth was dry. Noah built an altar to YHVH and, taking some of all the clean animals and all the clean birds, he offered burnt offerings on it.

YHVH smelled the pleasing aroma and said to Himself : “Never again will I curse the earth because of man, even though his heart is set on evil from childhood; never again will I strike down every living creature as I have done. As long as the earth lasts, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease to be.”

Tuesday, 19 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 words of the Scriptures speaking to us about the faith which we ought to have in God, for all the wonders that He has done for our sake, from the very beginning of time. God has blessed us all His people since the beginning, even when we have disobeyed Him and sinned against Him, by not following what He has commanded us to do, and His love for us still prevailed against His anger at our sinful actions and deeds.

In today’s first reading, we heard the account of the building of the Ark of Noah, the great Ark that God commanded Noah and his family to build, in order to rescue themselves from the wicked generation of the people of his time. At that time, out of all the descendants of men, Noah and his family alone were still righteous and obedient before God, while all other people followed the path of sin, wicked and deviant before God.

But God, despite of the anger He has towards us mankind because of our sins, ultimately, He still loved us even more than He was angry at our sins. He created us out of His immense and boundless love, and as a result, He wanted to save us all from our predicament. Yet, it was us mankind who have often erred and refused to follow and obey Him, again and again, many times, despite His constant and thorough reminders towards us.

Noah spent over a century building up the Ark upon God’s instructions given to him, but during all those years, none of the people, except those within Noah’s own family, believed in the Lord and the message of His upcoming wrath, the Great Flood which He would send into the world, to wash it all away from the great wickedness and sins that the sons and daughters of men had committed. None of them believed and repented, and as a result, when the Flood began, and the Ark sailed away safely, all the rest of humanity perished.

In the Gospel passage today, the Lord was also doing the same among His people, as He taught the disciples and all those who have seen Him performing many miracles and healing among them. He saw the doubts and the lack of faith which were still in their hearts and minds, that has become a barrier for them from truly being able to understand and appreciate the love and the truth which He was bringing unto them.

They saw His miracles and marvellous deeds, but their hearts and minds were still burdened by doubt, and by the sins in their flesh. They were after all, mortal beings, corrupted and dirtied by sin, much as their ancestors had been, like all those who at the days of Noah, refused to believe in God and continued to live in the state of ignorance, both of their wickedness and sin, as well as their impending doom.

That is why God rebuked His disciples and chastised them for their lack of faith in Him, as they still put their trust in worldly matters such as food and provisions, rather than to put their complete trust in God. They are still creatures of the flesh, easily swayed by the demands and the desires of their bodies. God’s words and truth have not yet been planted and taken root deep within them yet. But God did not give up on them, and continued to teach them and guide them to the right path.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today many of us have not obeyed the Lord in the way that we should have done it. And many of us are still easily swayed by worldly desires and thoughts, and thus were distracted in our journey of faith towards God. But God has always been kind and loving towards us, and He is always ready to extend His merciful love towards us. Now, what matters is for us to accept His generous offer of mercy and love.

Are we willing to be forgiven by God? Are we willing to attune ourselves once again to His will and to His ways? Then we need to have a profound change of heart and attitude in life, that we should no longer be self-centred or be egoistic in life, but instead, learning to put our trust in God, in He Who alone is able to give us true joy and happiness in Him. Let us all grow ever more in our faith in God, and take up the chances that God has given us, to be forgiven from our sins, and to receive from Him the promise of eternal glory and life. Amen.