Wednesday, 13 March 2019 : 1st Week of Lent, Sixth Anniversary of the Election of Pope Francis, Vicar of Christ, Supreme Pontiff and Bishop of Rome (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Luke 11 : 29-32

At that time, as the crowd increased, Jesus spoke the following words : “People of the present time are troubled people. They ask for a sign, but no sign will be given to them except the sign of Jonah. As Jonah became a sign for the people of Nineveh, so will the Son of Man be a sign for this generation.”

“The Queen of the South will rise up on Judgment Day with the people of these times and accuse them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and here, there is greater than Solomon. The people of Nineveh will rise up on Judgment Day with the people of these times and accuse them, for Jonah’s preaching made them turn from their sins, and here, there is greater than Jonah.”

Wednesday, 13 March 2019 : 1st Week of Lent, Sixth Anniversary of the Election of Pope Francis, Vicar of Christ, Supreme Pontiff and Bishop of Rome (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 50 : 3-4, 12-13, 18-19

Have mercy on me, o God, in Your love. In Your great compassion blot out my sin. Wash me thoroughly of my guilt; cleanse me of evil.

Create in me, o God, a pure heart; give me a new and steadfast spirit. Do not cast me out of Your presence nor take Your Holy Spirit from me.

You take no pleasure in sacrifice; were I to give a burnt offering, You would not delight in it. O God, my sacrifice is a broken spirit; a contrite heart, You will not despise.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019 : 1st Week of Lent, Sixth Anniversary of the Election of Pope Francis, Vicar of Christ, Supreme Pontiff and Bishop of Rome (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Jonah 3 : 1-10

The word of YHVH came to Jonah a second time : “Go to Nineveh, the great city, and announce to them the message I give you.”

In obedience to the word of YHVH, Jonah went to Nineveh. It was a very large city, and it took three days just to cross it. So Jonah walked a single day’s journey and began proclaiming, “Forty days more and Nineveh will be destroyed.”

The people of the city believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. Upon hearing the news, the king of Nineveh got up from his throne, took off his royal robe, put on sackcloth and sat down in ashes. He issued a proclamation throughout Nineveh :

“By the decree of the king and his nobles, no people or beasts, herd or flock, will taste anything; neither will they eat nor drink. But let people and beasts be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call aloud to God, turn from his evil ways and violence. Who knows? God may yet relent, turn from His fierce anger and spare us.”

When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, He had compassion and did not carry out the destruction He had threatened upon them.

Tuesday, 12 March 2019 : 1st Week of Lent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are all reminded of the importance of prayer in our life, because as Christians, it is essential that we have a good prayer life. Unfortunately, the reality is that even many among us may not have known how we should pray, and quite a few of us prayed in the wrong way, with some of us praying in a way that we are just going through the motion of prayer without knowing why we pray.

What is prayer, brothers and sisters in Christ? Prayer is a form of communication between us and God, and it can either be a personal prayer or a communal prayer. During the celebration of the Holy Mass, the priest celebrating the Mass acting in the person of Christ as the High Priest, as how it was in the ancient days in Israel, gathers the prayers of the whole congregation of the faithful and lift the prayer up to God as offering.

This is the form of communal prayer, but prayer can also be done in smaller groups, between our families and God for example, and between each and every one of us and God, an individual prayer. Ultimately, all of our prayers are ways for each one of us to speak to God, be it personally, or between our families and Him, or between our larger communities and Him, and even between the whole Universal Church and Him.

Prayer is a communication between us and God, and it is important that we take note of what prayer is about, because many of us think that prayers are like magic in that we think if we have problem then when we pray to God asking Him to remove from us that problem, then everything will immediately be settled. But this is where we are wrong, because we do not and cannot impose our will on God.

If our prayers are like list of requests, or at times even demands, then are we not imposing our will on God and demanding Him to do things to be according to our way? And when things do not go in accordance with what we want, that is why we become angry with God, thinking that He does not listen to us or that He ignored us. But in reality, everything will go according to how God desires it to be, His will be done and not ours.

That is why, instead of being so busy trying to demand our way out to God through prayer, which is a wrong way to do our prayer, just as it is wrong for us to speak all the time when we communicate with someone, then it is perhaps time for us to know how to pray in the right way. A prayer is a two-way communication between us and God, and just as we speak to Him, He is also speaking to us directly into our hearts.

But why is it that we are often unable to hear Him? Why is it that we are not able to recognise Him trying to communicate with us? That is because we are often too preoccupied in our minds and in our hearts, with our various concerns and thoughts, our desires and wishes. For example, when someone is trying to talk to us, and yet, we quickly interject with our own words, that are said more loudly, surely we cannot hear what the other person is trying to tell us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, that is why, when we pray, instead of rushing with our wishes and desires, or our complaints and things to say to God, we should quieten ourselves and clear our minds, allowing God first to speak to us within our hearts, that we may know truly what His will is for each and every one of us. We must not think that if we do not say what we want then God will not know what we want. He is God! And God knows everything in our hearts, even our most, deepest secrets.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we progress through this season of Lent, we should improve our prayer life, and we can do so by following the example of Christ, in the prayer He said to His heavenly Father, the Lord’s Prayer or Pater Noster. Instead of demanding God to do what we want, first we glorify God and thank Him for all the goodness He has bestowed us, and humbly accepting that His will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

We should be humble in everything, and as the Lord said, ‘Give us this day our daily bread’, He is showing us that assurance that God has given us, that He will provide us what we need, and He will take care of us. If we put our trust in God, we will not be disappointed. And through a stronger prayer life, we will have better connection and will be better attuned to the will of God, that in our lives, we will draw closer to Him and do what His will is for us, following the example of Christ, Who obeyed the Father’s will completely for our sake.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all have a profound transformation of our prayer life, so that each and every one of us will grow ever closer to God, each and every days of our life. May the Lord be with us always, and may He strengthen our faith in us, that we may be truly worthy to celebrate together with Him, our loving Father when we are fully reunited with Him in heavenly glory. Amen.

Tuesday, 12 March 2019 : 1st Week of Lent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Matthew 6 : 7-15

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “When you pray, do not use a lot of words, as the pagans do; for they believe that, the more they say, the more chance they have of being heard. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need, even before you ask Him.”

“This, then, is how you should pray : Our Father in heaven, holy be Your Name, Your kingdom, come, Your will, be done on earth, as in heaven. Give us today, our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we forgive those who are in debt to us.”

“Do not bring us to the test, but deliver us from the evil one. If you forgive others their wrongdoings, your Father in heaven will also forgive yours. If you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive you.”

Tuesday, 12 March 2019 : 1st Week of Lent (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 33 : 4-5, 6-7, 16-17, 18-19

Oh, let us magnify YHVH; together, let us glorify His Name! I sought YHVH, and He answered me; from all my fears He delivered me.

They who look to Him are radiant with joy, their faces never clouded with shame. When the poor cry out, YHVH hears and saves them from distress.

The eyes of YHVH are fixed on the righteous; His ears are inclined to their cries. But His face is set against the wicked, to destroy their memory from the earth.

YHVH hears the cry of the righteous and rescues them from all their troubles. YHVH is close to the brokenhearted and saves the distraught.

Tuesday, 12 March 2019 : 1st Week of Lent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Isaiah 55 : 10-11

As the rain and snow come down from the heavens and do not return till they have watered the earth, making it yield seed for the sower and food for others to eat, so is My Word that goes forth out of My mouth : it will not return to Me idle, but it shall accomplish My will, the purpose for which It has been sent.