Tuesday, 11 February 2020 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes and World Day of the Sick (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Mass of Our Lady of Lourdes)

Psalm 83 : 3, 4, 5 and 10, 11

My soul yearns; pines, for the courts of YHVH. My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.

Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest where she may lay her young, at Your altars, o YHVH of Hosts, my King and my God!

Happy are those who live in Your House, continually singing Your praise! Look upon our shield, o God; look upon the face of Your Anointed!

One day in Your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be left at the threshold in the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of the wicked.

Alternative reading (Mass of Our Lady of Lourdes)

Judith 13 : 18bcde, 19

My daughter, may the Most High God bless you more than all women on earth. And blessed be the Lord God, the Creator of heaven and earth, Who has led you to behead the leader of our enemies.

Never will people forget the confidence you have shown; they will always remember the power of God.

Tuesday, 11 February 2020 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes and World Day of the Sick (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Mass of Our Lady of Lourdes)

1 Kings 8 : 22-23, 27-30

Then Solomon stood before the Altar of YHVH in the presence of all the assembly of Israel. He raised his hands towards heaven and said, “O YHVH, God of Israel, there is no God like You either in heaven or on earth! You keep Your Covenant and show loving kindness to Your servants who walk before You wholeheartedly.”

“But will God really live among people on earth? If neither heavens nor the highest heavens can contain You, how much less can this House which I have built! Yet, listen to the prayer and supplication of Your servant, o YHVH my God; hearken to the cries and pleas which Your servant directs to You this day. Watch over this House of which You have said, ‘My Name shall rest there.’ Hear the prayer of Your servant in this place.”

“Listen to the supplication of Your servant and Your people Israel when they pray in this direction; listen from Your dwelling place in heaven and, on listening, forgive.”

Alternative reading (Mass of Our Lady of Lourdes)

Isaiah 66 : 10-14c

Rejoice for Jerusalem and be glad for her, all you who love her. Be glad with her, rejoice with her, all you who were in grief over her, that you may suck of the milk from her comforting breasts, that you may drink deeply from the abundance of her glory.

For this is what YHVH says : I will send her peace, overflowing like a river; and the nations’ wealth, rushing like a torrent towards her. And you will be nursed and carried in her arms and fondled upon her lap. As a son comforted by his mother, so will I comfort you. At the sight of this, your heart will rejoice; like grass, your bones will flourish.

Monday, 10 February 2020 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Scholastica, Virgin (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Lord speaking to us through the Sacred Scriptures, in which we began with the accounts from the Book of Kings on the completion and the Dedication of the Temple of Jerusalem built by king Solomon for God. In that account, we heard how the king and the whole people rejoiced as the Ark of the Covenant was brought into the Temple of God, and placed at its centre, the Holy of Holies where God Himself would dwell.

The Ark of the Covenant has been the centre of the whole community of Israel since the time of the Exodus from Egypt, as its name was linked to its role as the container of the actual Covenant which God has made with His people and written on the two slabs of stone, which together with the manna gathered from the time when God had fed His people and the staff of Aaron with which God had performed many wonders and miracles before the people of Israel, symbolise the very presence of God among His people.

And that moment when the Ark of the Covenant was brought into the Temple signified the moment when the Covenant of God was renewed, which king Solomon celebrated with the large offering of sacrifices to God as described in the account of the Book of Kings, numbering in the tens and thousands and more. The whole people of Israel rejoiced because God has willingly dwelled among His people and blessed the Temple that King Solomon has built in Jerusalem.

What we have heard in our first reading on the dedication of the Temple and the arrival of the Ark of the Covenant is a prefigurement of what would then come at the moment when God renewed His Covenant with His people, one final time, and this time with a new Covenant that He would seal with His people with a new sacrifice, and this one is the sacrifice which Our Lord Jesus would make on the Altar of His Cross at Calvary. For Christ is indeed the Mediator and Bearer of God’s New Covenant.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard of the works of the Lord Jesus and His disciples who were then at Galilee, ministering to the people and caring for many people who came to Jesus seeking to listen to Him and His teachings, or to be healed from their various illnesses, diseases, afflictions and troubles. People kept on bringing their sick ones to Him and many were healed by His touch and works, and the people who had faith in Him were healed by merely touching His cloak.

In the Lord Jesus, we ourselves have seen the Lord coming to dwell among us, and this time, not just in the intangible form of the slabs of stone of the Commandments and the Law, or the manna or the staff of Aaron or the container which is the Ark of the Covenant mentioned earlier. Here is the One Who is the Lord Himself Incarnate in the flesh, the Divine Word and Son of God, Who took upon Himself the nature and appearance of Man, that He is able to dwell in our midst in the flesh, in Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour.

He came into our midst and dwell among us as He promised because He loves each and every one of us very dearly. After all, He created us all out of love and He wants nothing less than happiness and joy for us, which has been barred for us because of our sins and disobedience against God. Our sins have made us to be separated from God and His fullness of grace and love, which is precisely why He sent us His own Son, Jesus Christ.

When the Lord Jesus came into our world and touched us His people, and then ultimately fulfilled His mission by taking up His Cross and suffered for our sake, becoming the very sacrificial Lamb on the Altar for our sake, and being sacrificed for us, renewing forever the Eternal Covenant of Love that God has made with us, affirming with this act of supreme love of the desire that God has in being reconciled with us. By the forgiveness of our sins, we can be reunited with God once again.

Today, all of us are therefore reminded of just how fortunate each and every one of us that God has always loved us all despite all of our infidelities and lack of faith, for all of our rebelliousness and our failures to obey His will. God still loves us all and wants to forgive us all, and He has done so by sending us His Son to be Our Lord and Saviour, suffering and dying a most painful death on the Cross for our sake.

How do we then appreciate God’s love and love Him back, brothers and sisters in Christ? It is by opening ourselves to His love and allow His grace and forgiveness to touch us and our lives, that we may be healed by His compassionate love. Just as those people who came seeking Him to be healed from their various sickness and diseases, we are all also called to seek Him to heal us from the disease within us, within our heart, mind and soul, that is our sins.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, perhaps we should be inspired by the good examples led by one of our holy predecessor who had lived her life with great faith in God, that we too may know how to live our own lives with faith from now on. St. Scholastica, a renowned saint and holy woman, also the twin sister of St. Benedict of Nursia, is a great role model for us in faith as she led a devout life and inspired many others to follow her example mirroring what her brother had also done in establishing what would eventually become the Benedictines.

St. Scholastica lived a virtuous and prayerful life, dedicated wholly to God and committed herself to live an upright life of piety and charity, inspiring others in her community to be more dedicated and faithful to God. St. Scholastica showed us all what it truly means for us to be Christians, as those who believe in Christ and in His love, and because of that, we have to really show our love for Him by our action, our commitment to love Him and serve Him each and every days of our lives.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all seek to renew our faith in God and grow stronger in our love and devotion towards Him. Let us all be more Christian-like in our way of life from now on, and let us seek to glorify God at all times through our words, actions and deeds for His such great love for us that He has done with us everything He has done through His Cross. May God be with us always, and may He bless us all in our every endeavours. Amen.

Monday, 10 February 2020 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Scholastica, Virgin (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Mark 6 : 53-56

At that time, having crossed the lake, Jesus and His disciples came ashore at Gennesaret, where they tied up the boat. As soon as they landed, people recognised Jesus, and ran to spread the news throughout the countryside.

Wherever He was, they brought to Him the sick lying on their mats; and wherever He went, to villages, towns or farms, they laid the sick in the marketplace, and begged Him to let them touch just the fringe of His cloak. And all who touched Him were cured.

Monday, 10 February 2020 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Scholastica, Virgin (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 131 : 6-7, 8-10

The Ark is in Ephrata, we found it in the fields of Jaar. Let us go to where He dwells and worship at His footstool!

Arise, o YHVH, and come to Your rest; You, and the Ark of Your might. May Your priests be arrayed in glorious mantle; may Your faithful ones shout in gladness. For the sake of Your servant, David, do not turn away the face of Your Anointed.

Monday, 10 February 2020 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Scholastica, Virgin (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 Kings 8 : 1-7, 9-13

Then Solomon assembled before him in Jerusalem the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, as well as the leaders of the ancestral houses of the Israelites, to bring up the Ark of the Covenant of YHVH from the city of David, which is Zion.

All the Israelites assembled near king Solomon in the month of Ethanim, the seventh month. When all the elders of Israel arrived, the priests carried the Ark of YHVH and brought it up together with the Tent of Meeting and all the holy vessels that were in the tent.

After the priests and Levites had brought them up, king Solomon with the entire congregation of Israel that had assembled before him and were with him before the Ark, sacrificed so many sheep and oxen that they could neither be counted nor numbered.

Then the priests laid the Ark of the Covenant of YHVH in its place in the inner Sanctuary of the house – the Most Holy Place – underneath the wings of the Cherubim. The Cherubim had their wings spread out over the place of the Ark, providing a covering above the Ark and its poles.

There was nothing in the Ark except the two tablets of stone which Moses placed there at Horeb, where YHVH made a Covenant with the Israelites when they came out of the land of Egypt. And when the priests came out of the Holy Place, such a cloud filled YHVH’s House that the priests could not continue to minister. Indeed, the glory of YHVH filled His House.

Then Solomon said, “YHVH has said that He would dwell in thick darkness. So the House I have built You will be Your House, a place for You to dwell in forever.”