Thursday, 21 February 2019 : 6th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Peter Damian, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Mark 8 : 27-33

At that time, Jesus set out with His disciples for the villages around Caesarea Philippi; and on the way He asked them, “Who do people say I am?” And they told Him, “Some say You are John the Baptist; others say You are Elijah or one of the prophets.”

Then Jesus asked them, “But you, who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.” And He ordered them not to tell anyone about Him. Jesus then began to teach them that the Son of Man had to suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the Law. He would be killed, and after three days rise again.

Jesus said all this quite openly, so that Peter took Him aside and began to protest strongly. But Jesus turning around, and looking at His disciples, rebuked Peter, saying, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are thinking not as God does, but as people do.”

Thursday, 21 February 2019 : 6th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Peter Damian, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Psalm 101 : 16-18, 19-21, 29 and 22-23

O Lord, the nations will revere Your Name, and the kings of the earth Your glory, when the Lord will rebuild Zion and appear in all His splendour. For He will answer the prayer of the needy and will not despise their plea.

Let this be written for future ages, “The Lord will be praised by a people He will form.” From His holy height in heaven, the Lord has looked on the earth to hear the groaning of the prisoners, and free those condemned to death.”

Your servants’ children will dwell secure; their posterity will endure without fail. Then the Name of the Lord will be declared in Zion, and His praise in Jerusalem, when the peoples and the kingdoms assemble to worship Him.

Thursday, 21 February 2019 : 6th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Peter Damian, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Genesis 9 : 1-13

God blessed Noah and his sons and he said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth. Fear and dread of you will be in all the animals of the earth and in all the birds of the air, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. They are given to you. Everything that moves and lives shall be food for you; as I gave you the green plants, I have now given you everything. Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is its blood.”

“But I will also demand a reckoning for your lifeblood. I will demand it from every animal; and from man, too, I will demand a reckoning for the life of his fellow man. He who sheds the blood of man shall have his blood shed by man; for in the image of God has God made man. As for you, be fruitful and increase. Abound on the earth and be master of it.”

God spoke to Noah and his son, “See I am making a covenant with you and with your descendants after you; also with every living animal with you : birds, cattle, that is, with every living creature of the earth that came out of the Ark. I establish My covenant with you. Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I make between Me and you, and every animal living with you for all future generations. I set My bow in the clouds and it will be a sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.”

Wednesday, 20 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 Scripture speaking to us about the wonders of God’s love for us all, His beloved people. God has blessed all those who are faithful to Him, and provided for the needs of those who trusted Him and placed their focus on Him. The Lord saved Noah and his family through the great Ark and He also saved the blind man from His predicament, by restoring the sight which that man had lost earlier.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, first of all we heard from the Book of Genesis, the account of how the Great Flood wiped all lives from the whole earth, except for all those that Noah and his family gathered in the great Ark. The Lord kept them safe from harm and protected them from danger. The Ark floated through the storm and the flood until the flood started to recede, and all of the survivors went on to repopulate the earth. This was God’s promise of love and salvation to all those who have been faithful to Him.

God then promised His people that He will never destroy them with flood again, and showed His promise with the rainbow, that appeared every time a great rain falls on the earth. Ultimately, this reminds us of the fact that God loves each and every one of us, and He does not wish or desire for our destruction and suffering. All those who have perished during the Great Flood was caused by their own disobedience against God, their wickedness and sins.

God did not condemn the people to hell and destruction, but instead, the people of God themselves have consciously rejected God’s love and His generous offer of mercy and forgiveness. God has given all of them many opportunities, chances after chances for them to repent from their sins and to turn away from their disobedience. However, they still chose to be tempted and to disobey God regardless of the consequences of their sinful ways.

Yet, even with all of those attitudes, God still wants to help us all, out of His ever great love for each and every one of us. He extends His mercy and love, and He wants to touch us and heal us, in body, mind and soul, just as He stretched out His hands in order to heal the blind man. The blind man, who must have suffered from his blindness, was completely cured from his condition, and he could see once again.

We can only imagine just how joyful the man must have been, at the very moment when he was able to see light once again, in a world once filled with darkness and despair, that light piercing through his vision, allowing him to see clearly once again must have been such an unimaginably joyful experience for the blind man. That is exactly what each and every one of us experience when we are freed from sin, and receive from God the gift of faith and everlasting life.

Once, we have been sinners and we have disobeyed God, but God in His rich and wondrous mercy gave us a new lease of life, and a new hope when we were in the depth of darkness. He has blessed us with all these things because He loves each one of us very tenderly and greatly, that He has given us His only begotten Son, as Our Saviour, and Christ has suffered and died for us all on the cross, for the sake of our salvation.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, the question for us is that, are we able to love God and dedicate ourselves in the same manner as God has done for us all these while? Are we able to commit ourselves to love God with all of our hearts, minds and with all of our strength just as He has done, in His great patience and compassion, although we have constantly sinned against Him? We are called to love God and to serve Him, from now on. Let us all turn towards Him, and devote ourselves to Him with all of our abilities from now on, and always. Amen.