Sunday, 9 February 2020 : Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 5 : 13-16

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples and to the people, “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt has lost its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It has become useless. It can only be thrown away and people will trample on it.”

“You are the light of the world. A city built on a mountain cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and covers it; instead it is put on a lampstand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine before others, so that they may see the good you do and praise your Father in heaven.”

Sunday, 9 February 2020 : Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Corinthians 2 : 1-5

When I came to reveal to you the mystery of God’s plan I did not count on eloquence or on a show of learning. I was determined not to know anything among you but Jesus, the Messiah, and a crucified Messiah. I myself came weak, fearful and trembling; my words and preaching were not brilliant or clever to win listeners.

It was, rather, a demonstration of spirit and power, so that your faith might be a matter not of human wisdom, but of God’s power.

Sunday, 9 February 2020 : Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 111 : 4-5, 6-7, 8a and 9

The Lord is for the righteous a Light in the darkness, He is kind, merciful and upright. It will be well with him who lends freely, who leads a life of justice and honesty.

For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered and loved forever. He has no fear of evil news, for his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.

His heart is confident, he needs not fear. He gives generously to the poor, his merits will last forever and his head will be raised in honour.

Sunday, 9 February 2020 : Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Isaiah 58 : 7-10

Fast by sharing your food with the hungry, bring to your house the homeless, clothe the one you see naked and do not turn away from your own kin. Then will your light break forth as the dawn and your healing come in a flash. Your righteousness will be your vanguard, the Glory of YHVH your rearguard.

Then you will call and YHVH will answer, you will cry and He will say, I am here. If you remove from your midst the yoke, the clenched fist and the wicked word, if you share your food with the hungry and give relief to the oppressed, then your light will rise in the dark, your night will be like noon.

(Usus Antiquior) Septuagesima Sunday (II Classis) – Sunday, 9 February 2020 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Communion and Post-Communion Prayer

Liturgical Colour : Violet

Offertory

Psalm 91 : 2

Bonum est confiteri Domino, et psallere Nomini Tuo, Altissime.

English translation

It is good to give praise to the Lord, and to sing to Your Name, o Most High.

Secret Prayer of the Priest

Muneribus nostris, quaesumus, Domine, precibusque susceptis : et caelestibus nos munda mysteriis, et clementer exaudi. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

With our gifts and prayers accepted, we beseech You, o Lord, both cleanse us by these heavenly mysteries and graciously hear us. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

Communion

Psalm 30 : 17-18

Illumina faciem Tuam super servum Tuum, et salvum me fac in Tua misericordia : Domine, non confundar, quoniam invocavi Te.

English translation

Make Your face to shine upon Your servant, and save me in Your mercy. Let me not be confounded, o Lord, for I have called upon You.

Post-Communion Prayer

Fideles Tui, Deus, per Tua dona firmentur : ut eadem et percipiendo requirant, et quaerendo sine fine percipiant. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

May Your faithful, o God, be strengthened by Your gifts, that receiving them they may still desire them and desiring them may constantly receive them. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

(Usus Antiquior) Septuagesima Sunday (II Classis) – Sunday, 9 February 2020 : Holy Gospel

Liturgical Colour : Violet

Sequentia Sancti Evangelii secundum Matthaeum – Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew

Matthew 20 : 1-16

In illo tempore : Dixit Jesus discipulis Suis parabolam hanc : Simile est regnum caelorum homini patrifamilias, qui exiit primo mane conducere operarios in vineam suam. Conventione autem facta cum operariis ex denario diurno, misit eos in vineam suam.

Et egressus circa horam tertiam, vidit alios stantes in foro otiosos, et dixit illis : Ite et vos in vineam meam, et quod justum fuerit, dabo vobis. Illi autem abierunt. Iterum autem exiit circa sextam et nonam horam : et fecit similiter. Circa undecimam vero exiit, et invenit alios stantes, et dicit illis : Quid hic statis tota die otiosi?

Dicunt ei : Quia nemo nos conduxit. Dicit illis : Ite et vos in vineam meam. Cum sero autem factum esset, dicit dominus vineae procuratori suo : Voca operarios, et redde illis mercedem, incipiens a novissimis usque ad primos. Cum venissent ergo qui circa undecimam horam venerant, acceperunt singulos denarios.

Venientes autem et primi, arbitrati sunt, quod plus essent accepturi : acceperunt autem et ipsi singulos denarios. Et accipientes murmurabant adversus patremfamilias, dicentes : Hi novissimi una hora fecerunt et pares illos nobis fecisti, qui portavimus pondus diei et aestus.

At ille respondens uni eorum, dixit : Amice, non facio tibi injuriam : nonne ex denario convenisti mecum? Tolle quod tuum est, et vade : volo autem et huic novissimo dare sicut et tibi. Aut non licet mihi, quod volo, facere? an oculus tuus nequam est, quia ego bonus sum? Sic erunt novissimi primi, et primi novissimi. Multi enim sunt vocati, pauci vero electi.

English translation

At that time, Jesus spoke to His disciples this parable, “The kingdom of heaven is likened to a householder, who went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And having agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.

And going out at about the third hour, he saw others standing in the marketplace idle, and he said to them, “You also go into my vineyard, and I will give you what shall be just,” and they went their way. And again he went out at about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did so in the similar manner. But at about the eleventh hour, he went out, and found others standing, and he said to them, “Why did you stand here all the day idle?”

They said to him, “Because no man had hired us.” He said to them, “You also go into my vineyard.” And when evening came, the lord of the vineyard said to his steward, “Call the labourers, and pay them their hire, beginning from the last even to the first.” When therefore those who came at about the eleventh hour, they received a penny for every man.

But when the first also came, they thought that they should receive more, and they also received a penny for every man. And receiving it, they murmured against the master of the house, saying, “These last have barely worked but one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the heat.”

But he answering, said to one of them, “Friend, I did you no wrong, did you not agree with me for a penny? Take what is yours, and go your way. I will also give to the last even as to you. Or, is it not lawful for me to do what I will? Is your eye evil, because I am good? So shall the last be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few are chosen.”

(Usus Antiquior) Septuagesima Sunday (II Classis) – Sunday, 9 February 2020 : Gradual and Tract

Liturgical Colour : Violet

Gradual

Psalm 9 : 10-11, 19-20

Adjutor in opportunitatibus, in tribulatione : sperent in Te, qui noverunt Te : quoniam non derelinquis quaerentes Te, Domine.

Response : Quoniam non in finem oblivio erit pauperis : patientia pauperum non peribit in aeternum : exsurge, Domine, non praevaleat homo.

English translation

The helper in due time, in tribulation. Let them trust in You, who know You for You have not forsaken those who seek You, o Lord.

Response : For the poor man shall not be forgotten to the end, the patience of the poor shall not perish forever. Arise, o Lord, let not man be strengthened.

Tract

Psalm 129 : 1-4

De profundis clamavi ad Te, Domine : Domine, exaudi vocem meam.

Response : Fiant aures Tuae intendentes in orationem servi Tui.

Response : Si iniquitates observaveris, Domine : Domine, quis sustinebit?

Response : Quia apud Te propitiatio est, et propter legem Tuam sustinui Te, Domine.

English translation
From the depths I have cried to You, o Lord. Lord, hear my voice.

Response : Let Your ears be attentive to the prayer of Your servant.

Response : If You shall observe iniquities, o Lord, Lord, who shall endure it?

Response : For with You is propitiation, and by reason of Your Law I have waited for You, o Lord.

(Usus Antiquior) Septuagesima Sunday (II Classis) – Sunday, 9 February 2020 : Epistle

Liturgical Colour : Violet

Lectio Epistolae Beati Pauli Apostoli ad Corinthios – Lesson from the Epistle of Blessed Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians

1 Corinthians 9 : 24-27 and 1 Corinthians 10 : 1-5

Fratres : Nescitis, quod ii, qui in stadio currunt, omnes quidem currunt, sed unus accipit bravium? Sic currite, ut comprehendatis. Omnis autem, qui in agone contendit, ab omnibus se abstinet : et illi quidem, ut corruptibilem coronam accipiant; nos autem incorruptam.

Ego igitur sic curro, non quasi in incertum : sic pugno, non quasi aerem verberans : sed castigo corpus meum, et in servitutem redigo : ne forte, cum aliis praedicaverim, ipse reprobus efficiar.

Nolo enim vos ignorare, fratres, quoniam patres nostri omnes sub nube fuerunt, et omnes mare transierunt, et omnes in Moyse baptizati sunt in nube et in mari : et omnes eamdem escam spiritalem manducaverunt, et omnes eumdem potum spiritalem biberunt (bibebant autem de spiritali, consequente eos, petra : petra autem erat Christus) : sed non in pluribus eorum beneplacitum est Deo.

English translation

Brethren, do you not know that those who run in the race, all run indeed, but one receives the prize? So run, that you may obtain. And every one who strives for the mastery, refrains himself from all things, and they indeed that they may receive a corruptible crown, but for us, an incorruptible one.

I therefore so run, not as at an uncertainty. I so fight, not as one beating the air, but I chastise my body, and bring it into subjection, lest perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway.

For I would not have you as ignorants, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all in Moses were baptised, in the cloud and in the sea, and all did eat the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink (and they drank of the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ). But with the most of them God was not well pleased.

(Usus Antiquior) Septuagesima Sunday (II Classis) – Sunday, 9 February 2020 : Introit and Collect

Liturgical Colour : Violet

Introit

Psalm 17 : 5, 6, 7 and 2-3

Circumdederunt me gemitus mortis, dolores inferni circumdederunt me : et in tribulatione mea invocavi Dominum, et exaudivit de templo sancto suo vocem meam.

Diligam Te, Domine, fortitudo mea : Dominus firmamentum meum, et refugium meum, et liberator meus.

Response : Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto, sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper : et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation
The groans of death surround me, the sorrows of hell encompassed me : and in my affliction I called upon the Lord, and He heard my voice, from His holy Temple.

I will love You, o Lord, my strength. The Lord is my firmament, and my refuge and my deliverer.

Response : Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Collect

Preces populi Tui, quaesumus, Domine, clementer exaudi : ut, qui juste pro peccatis nostris affligimur, pro Tui Nominis gloria misericorditer liberemur. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

May You, we beseech You, o Lord, graciously hear the prayers of Your people, that we, who are justly afflicted for our sins, may be mercifully delivered for the glory of Your Name. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

Saturday, 8 February 2020 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jerome Emiliani, and St. Josephine Bakhita, Virgin (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints, Holy Virgins or Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of God in the Scriptures which first of all told us of the prayer of the king of Israel, Solomon, son of David, who prayed to God at the beginning of his reign asking for wisdom and good judgment, that God would bless him and help him to make up what he lacked in experience and ability. God blessed Solomon and praised his humility that he has not asked for worldly glory, wealth and power which were things commonly desired by those who were in power, like kings and lords.

God blessed Solomon for his steadfastness, honesty and sincerity, as Solomon readily admitted his youth and inexperience before Him, and also looked up to his father David as a great example he admired and aspired to follow in the actions he had taken in leading a righteous and just reign. God blessed Solomon with more than what he has earlier asked for, not just for wisdom and guidance, but even all those things which he had not asked for earlier on.

Solomon had a heavy responsibility and burden on his shoulders as king, especially as he succeeded his father David who had been very successful as king. David reunited the people of Israel once divided in civil war after the death of Saul, the previous king, and he also expanded the borders of the kingdom and brought great prestige and honour to the people of Israel. David provided a steady foundation that allowed Israel to enter into a great golden age, which continued and peaked under Solomon’s reign that God had blessed as He promised earlier on.

Solomon carried on his duties responsibly and reigned with great wisdom and justice over all of Israel, ruling Israel at the height of its glory and power. He also built the famous Temple of God, also known under its namesake the Temple of Solomon, upon the foundation and preparation that his father David had gathered beforehand. He was faithful to God for much of his reign, but unfortunately, if we read on more through the account of his reign from the Book of Kings, we will find it unfortunate that at his old age, Solomon began to be swayed by his many wives and concubines, many of whom continued to practice their pagan worship and customs.

Many of the successors of Solomon as kings in Israel and in Judah after the division of the kingdom were unfaithful to God and they led the people into sin, as they were the ones entrusted with the guidance over the people of God, and yet, they themselves were in error and led the people, the flock of God further away from their God and deeper into sin. And this is when we ought to look again into our Gospel passage today, when we heard about the Lord Jesus and His actions during His ministry with His disciples.

It was told that the Lord and His disciples were tired and exhausted after continuous work and encounter with many of the people who constantly brought their sick ones over for the Lord to heal them. And when they wanted to take a break, the Lord saw how many people were still coming to Him and seeking His help, even finding the way to discover where He and His disciples were despite their best effort to slip away. The Lord then continued to teach them and work, seeing how the people were like flock of sheep without a shepherd to guide them.

The Lord Jesus was the one and true King of Israel, Who as the Heir of David was the One promised by God to be the King that would sit on the throne of David and perpetuate his house. And yet, as the Lord Jesus Himself showed, His kingship was different from the many other kings of Israel who had not been faithful to God and led the people to the wrong paths. We can see how Jesus placed the needs of His people, His flock, above that of Himself, caring for their needs and loving them, even when He was tired and in need of rest.

Through all of these, God wants all of us to know that to be His followers and servants, to obey His will and commandments and to be the ones whom He had called and chosen, is something that will not be easy and straightforward for us. Those kings of Israel were chosen by God and had the obligation of being God’s vicars in taking care of God’s own people, the Israelites, but many of them fell to the many temptations present in our world, the temptations of money and wealth, of fame and glory, of lust and pleasures of the flesh among others.

As long as we allow our desires, pride, ego, ambition and all those temptations to mislead us, we will likely end up getting more and more distant from God and be like those who have not been faithful to their calling. The Lord Himself showed us what it means for us to work for the sake of the greater glory of God, which often requires sacrifices of time and energy, effort and resources. And today perhaps we should also look upon the good examples set by the two servants of God whose feasts we are celebrating.

St. Josephine Bakhita and St. Jerome Emiliani are two saints whose lives are truly extraordinary and they show us what being true and faithful disciples of the Lord is indeed about. They dedicated their lives in service to God, through prayers and work, that each and every one of us can also be inspired to follow in their footsteps too. If we are able to walk in their footsteps to follow the Lord, then we are heading in the right direction in life.

Let us begin first with St. Josephine Bakhita. She had a difficult early years of her life, being abducted from her family and community at a young age by slavers who made her into a slave and forced her to convert to a faith that was not her own. St. Josephine Bakhita had to endure much suffering as a slave and endured all sorts of humiliation and difficulties when she was treated less than a proper human being, sold from one place to another, until eventually she met her last employers, the Italian Vice Consul in Khartoum, Sudan who treated her well and eventually passed her on to another Italian family, who then gave St. Josephine Bakhita to encounter Christ for the first time through the Canossian Sisters when circumstances put her under their care.

Through the help of many people, St. Josephine Bakhita eventually was freed from her slavery with the support of the court and the authorities, and she became a Christian, and in time, joined the Canossian sisters into religious life. Her past, painful and difficult experiences in life did not make her to be bitter in life. On the contrary, she worked devoutly and always remembered the suffering of her people in Africa throughout her many years living as part of the Canossians, leading her to be well-respected by everyone for her faith and dedication to God.

She also forgave her abductors, persecutors and all those who had given her a terrible life during her first and early years. She would even thank and bless them, as she said that were it not for them, she would not have become a Christian and to be where she was then. It was God who called her out of slavery, much as how He liberated His people out of Egypt, and gave her a new life, to be a testimony of His glory and wonderful works among His people, and St. Josephine Bakhita’s life is indeed a powerful testimony of her faith.

Meanwhile, St. Jerome Emiliani was a man who ran away from his family during his teenage years to join the military, and then became official in the government. He encountered God through miraculous survival from a siege, which he attributed to the intercession of the Blessed Mother of God, which gradually began to touch his life, and in his later years, St. Jerome Emiliani dedicated himself to the care of the poor and orphans, those who are sick, opening houses and places to be where they can be taken care of and treated.

St. Jerome Emiliani was thus known for his extensive labours of charity, opening hospitals and orphanages, as well as dormitories for former prostitutes, caring for many and touching the lives of countless thousands. Together with some priests who supported his efforts, eventually St. Jerome Emiliani laid the foundations for the Congregation of Regular Clerics, composed of all those who share the same ideals and charity of St. Jerome Emiliani, in reaching out to the people of God, especially the less fortunate and weaker ones among them.

St. Jerome Emiliani embodied what the Lord Jesus Himself had done as described in our Gospel passage today, in caring for the needs of the poor and the needy, consoling orphans and all those who seek God for help. Together with St. Josephine Bakhita, they truly show us what true Christian virtues and charity are all about, and how each and every one of us are also able to follow in their footsteps to serve God in our own capacities and with our own abilities and talents.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, how about us then? Are we willing and able to follow in our predecessors’ footsteps? Are we capable to making the commitment to serve God as we should? Let us all ponder on this and reflect on how we can probably be better Christians and disciples of Christ from now on through our lives and through our commitment to live up to our calling as those whom the Lord has called to be His followers and disciples. May the Lord be our guide and may He strengthen us all in faith, at all times. Amen.