Thursday, 30 January 2020 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

2 Samuel 7 : 18-19, 24-29

Then king David went in, sat before YHVH and said, “Who am I, o YHVH God, and who is my family that You have brought me so far? Yet this was not enough for You, o YHVH God, for You have also spoken of Your servant’s house for a long time to come. Is this the way men act, o YHVH God?”

“You have set apart Your people Israel to become Your people forever; and You, YHVH, have become their God. Now, o YHVH God, keep forever the promise You made and have now revealed to me regarding myself and my family, that Your Name may be honoured forever and people may say, ‘YHVH of Hosts is God over Israel.’”

“The house of Your servant David will be secure before You because You, o YHVH of Hosts, God of Israel, have made it known to Your servant and have said to him : ‘Your family will last forever.’ This is why I have dared to address this prayer to You. So now, o YHVH God, since You are the faithful God, and have promised me this good thing, please bless my descendants, that they may continue forever before You. For You, o YHVH God, have spoken and, with Your blessing, my family shall be blessed forever.”

Wednesday, 29 January 2020 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard from the Scripture passages beginning from the exchanges between king David and the prophet Nathan in our first reading regarding the plan that David had in wanting to build a great House for God, what would eventually be built by David’s son, Solomon and known as the Temple of Solomon or the Temple of Jerusalem. And then in our Gospel passage today, we heard of the famous parable of Jesus, our Lord, namely the parable of the sower.

In our first reading today, as we heard of the desire of king David in building the house of God in Jerusalem because he thought that it was not fitting that he resided in a newly built and comfortable palace while the Ark of God or the Ark of the Covenant remained outside in the Holy Tent. Thus, he wanted to build a proper and worthy Temple for the Lord as a powerful sign of His presence among His people and as the epicentre of the divine worship for the people of Israel.

Thus he asked the prophet Nathan for his advice and what the Lord thought of his plans for the building of a great Temple to be the House of the Ark of the Covenant and thus to be the House of God among His people. But God had a different plan, and He revealed His plan to David, as He said that rather it was Solomon, David’s son and successor as king of Israel who would build the great Temple for God, and at the same time God also renewed His promise to David to make the reign of his house secure.

David obeyed God and did whatever He has led him to do. He reign righteously and justly, ushering a great era of prosperity and happiness among the Israelites. The reign of king David and his son, king Solomon is featured prominently in the Scriptures and have always been looked upon many centuries and even millennia later as the golden age of the Israelites. Many people continued to be nostalgic of the greatness and the prosperity that Israel enjoyed during those years.

And while David was not the one who built the Temple of Jerusalem, but if we read from the Book of Chronicles supplementing the information we have, we will know of how David did a great preparation for the building of the Temple, investing and setting aside massive amounts of gold, silver, other precious metals and materials. He also made preparations with his friends like Hiram, the king of Lebanon who would later on supply Solomon with plenty of Lebanon cedars and timber for the building of the Temple.

We can see from all these how David sowed the seeds for the building of the great House of God. And David has been faithful for all the years that he reigned as king, allowing all of his efforts and good works to pay dividends and bear much fruits when the Temple of God later on was built by his son, his reign secure and Israel prosperous under God’s grace and blessings. And this is related to how in our Gospel passage today we heard of the famous parable of the sower.

David is like the seeds that the sower spread on the rich and fertile soil, which bore much fruits, thirty-fold, sixty-fold, and even hundred-fold of what had been sowed. That is because David loved God and he allowed God to work wonders through him, through his reign and through his life by which he inspired his people to be faithful and to obey God. And as a result, many people were saved and remained faithful, and God’s people had great peace and prosperity then.

On the contrary, those seeds that fell on the rocky grounds or those that fell on the roadside and were picked up by the birds, and those that were choked by the thorns and brambles are those who received God’s love and had faith in Him, and yet they succumbed to the many temptations of this world, the temptations by which the devil tried to keep us away from God and to trick us into taking the wrong path in life.

That was what happened to king Solomon, David’s son, towards the end of his reign. As Solomon got older and became influenced by his many wives and concubines who began to sway and tempt him away from the true faith in God, the faith of Solomon had become weak and the wickedness and evil of pagan worship and disobedience against God returned. Sin has returned to Israel, and because the king has sinned, the rest of the people naturally followed as well.

As a result, the prosperity and glory that Israel enjoyed during much of the reigns of Solomon and his father came to an end after his reign, and the kingdom of Israel were divided into two, and eventually many centuries later, both were to be destroyed because the people failed to be faithful to God and continued on their path of disobedience and wickedness. This is a reminder for us all that faith in God leads to true joy and happiness in Him, while disobedience only leads to eventual destruction and harm.

Let us all discern, brothers and sisters in Christ, our path going forward in our respective lives. Do we want to follow the examples of David, in being open to allowing God to lead and guide us in our lives and to do what is good and righteous in God’s sight that we may reap eventually the good fruits of our faith and actions? Or do we rather follow what Solomon and many others had done in allowing the devil instead to take away our faith from us by means of many temptations that he has placed in our path? Are we able to resist those temptations and seek instead God’s truth?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all reflect on all these and strive to become ever better Christians in our life, in our work and actions. Let us all be exemplary and good in our life that we may inspire each other to live our lives ever more faithfully from now. May the Lord also continue to be with us all and bless us in everything we do. Amen.

Wednesday, 29 January 2020 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 4 : 1-20

At that time, Jesus began to teach by the lake; but such a large crowd gathered about Him, that He got into a boat and sat in it on the lake, while the crowd stood on the shore. He taught them many things through parables. In His teaching, He said, “Listen! The sower went out to sow. As he sowed, some of the seed fell along a path; and the birds came and ate it up.”

“Some of the seed fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil; it sprang up immediately, because it had no depth; but when the sun rose and burnt it, it withered, because it had no roots. Other seed fell among thorn bushes; and the thorns grew and choked it; so it did not produce any grain.”

“But some seed fell on good soil, grew and increased and yielded grain; some seed produced thirty times as much, some sixty, and some one hundred times as much.” And Jesus added, “Listen then, if you have ears.”

When the crowd went away, some who were around Him with the Twelve asked about the parables. He answered them, “The mystery of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But for those outside, everything comes in parables, so, that, the more they see, they do not perceive; the more they hear, they do not understand; otherwise they would be converted and pardoned.”

Jesus said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How, then, will you understand any of the parables? What the sower is sowing is the word. Those along the path, where the seed fell, are people who hear the word, but as soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.”

“Other people receive the word like rocky ground. As soon as they hear the word, they accept it with joy. But they have no roots, so it lasts only a little while. No sooner does trouble or persecution come because of the word, than they fall. Others receive the seed, as seed among thorns. After they hear the word, they are caught up in the worries of this life, false hope of riches and other desires. All these come in and choke the word, so that finally it produces nothing.”

“And there are others who receive the word as good soil. They hear the word, take it to heart and produce : some thirty, some sixty, and some one hundred times as much.”

Wednesday, 29 January 2020 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 88 : 4-5, 27-28, 29-30

I have made a Covenant with David, My chosen one; I have made a pledge to My servant. I establish his descendants forever; I build his throne for all generations.

He will call on Me, “You are my Father, my God, my Rock, my Saviour.” I will make him the firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth.

I will keep My Covenant firm forever, and My love for him will endure. His dynasty will last forever; and his throne, as long as the heavens.

Wednesday, 29 January 2020 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

2 Samuel 7 : 4-17

That very night, YHVH’s word came to Nathan, “Go and tell My servant David, this is what YHVH says : Are you able to build a house for Me to live in? I have not dwelt in any house since I brought the Israelites up from Egypt to the present day. But I went about with a tent for shelter. As long as I walked with the Israelites, did I say anything to the chiefs of Israel whom I commanded to shepherd My people Israel? Did I say : Why have you not built Me a house of cedar?”

“Now you will tell My servant David, this is what YHVH of Hosts says : I took you from the pasture, from tending the sheep, to make you commander of My people Israel. I have been with you wherever you went, cutting down all your enemies before you. Now I will make your name great, as the name of the great ones on earth.”

“I will provide a place for My people Israel and plant them that they may live there in peace. They shall no longer be harassed, nor shall wicked man oppress them as before. From the time when I appointed judges over My people Israel it is only to you that I have given rest from all your enemies. YHVH also tells you that He will build you a house.”

“When the time comes for you to rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your son after you, the one born of you; and I will make his reign secure. He shall build a house for My Name and I will firmly establish his kingship forever. I will be a Father to him and he shall be My son. If he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod, as men do.”

“But I will not withdraw My kindness from him as I did from Saul when I removed him out of your way. Your house and your reign shall last forever before Me, and your throne shall be forever firm.”

Nathan repeated these words and related this vision to David.