Thursday, 20 February 2020 : 6th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 33 : 2-3, 4-5, 6-7

I will praise YHVH all my days; His praise will be ever on my lips. My soul makes its boast in YHVH; let the lowly hear and rejoice.

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.

Thursday, 20 February 2020 : 6th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

James 2 : 1-9

My brothers and sisters, if you truly believe in our glorified Lord, Jesus Christ, you will not discriminate between persons. Suppose a person enters the synagogue where you are assembled, dressed magnificently and wearing a gold ring; at the same time, a poor person enters dressed in rags. If you focus your attention on the well-dressed and say, “Come and sit in the best seat,” while, to the poor one you say, “Stay standing, or else sit down at my feet,” have you not, in fact, made a distinction between the two? Have you not judged, using a double standard?

Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters, did God not choose the poor of this world to receive the riches of faith, and to inherit the kingdom, which He has promised to those who love Him? Yet, you despise them! Is it not the rich who are against you, and drag you to court? Do they not insult the Holy Name of Christ by which you are called?

If you keep the Law of the kingdom, according to Scripture : Love your neighbour as yourself, you do well; but if you make distinctions between persons, you break the Law, and are condemned by the same Law.

Wednesday, 19 February 2020 : 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 God in the Scriptures through which we are reminded that all of us need to be righteous in God’s eyes and have genuine faith in Him. We must not give in to the temptations of our pride, ego, ambition and desire which are great obstacles in our journey of faith towards God. St. James reminded us of this in his Epistle in our first reading passage today.

In that passage, St. James reminded all of us as Christians to keep ourselves pure and blameless from all the corrupting power of sin and evil. And as he described it to us, he was actually making a reference of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law of that time, who were the religious elites of the community that were deeply engrossed in maintaining their way of observing the laws of Moses, and enforced it to great detail.

They prided themselves in their pious observance of those laws, their supposed righteousness and uprightness, praying openly in public places and seeking praise and honour from the people of God. They were also quick to judge all those whom they deemed to be unworthy, or those whom they saw to be less pious than they were. They opposed the Lord Jesus and His disciples for the same reason, persecuting Christians in the early Church for their faith.

Yet, as St. James mentioned in his Epistle, they failed to look upon themselves in the mirror. They were so caught up in their vanity and pride, greed and ego that they failed to see how they were sinners too, and in fact, their desires and pride made them to be sinners even greater than those whom they had persecuted and judged against. They were busy pointing out the flaws and faults in others, that they failed to see how their own pride and ego brought them to love themselves much more than they loved God, and their treatment of their brethren was not what the Lord had commanded us all to do.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, that is why we need to learn from this experience and from what St. James had shared with us. The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law were blinded by their pride, their attachments to worldly pleasures and pursuits, their fears and jealousy, their insecurities and their desires that caused them to act in the manner that led them further and further into the slippery path of sin.

In our Gospel passage today, we then heard of the miracle which Our Lord performed as He healed a blind man from his trouble, restoring his sight completely to him. The man could see again and was overjoyed, but the Lord told him not to tell of that to anyone. The Lord did not want unwanted attention because of what He has done, which may cause difficulty for Him and His disciples, especially because the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law were always after Him and seeking for the opportunity to attack and accuse Him.

In addition, He also does not want the publicity to make Him to be distracted from His works, as He humbly obeyed the will of His heavenly Father, in ministering to the people, healing and making them whole once again. We can see how this is in contrast to the attitude of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law who succumbed to their pride and desire. And the Lord showed us all that as long as we are blinded by those things, it will be difficult for us to progress in our faith journey.

We should seek the Lord, just like the blind man, who was healed from his blindness. But instead of being healed from physical blindness, we seek to be healed from our spiritual blindness instead. We should seek the healing of our souls and minds, our hearts and our beings that have been blinded by pride, ego, ambition, desire and human greed that led us into sin against God. Let us all be touched by God’s healing and compassionate love, that in His wonderful and generous mercy, we may be forgiven our sins and be made whole again.

May the Lord bless each and every one of us, and may He strengthen us in faith, that we may live courageously and faithfully from now on, as God’s faithful disciples and as true witnesses of our faith in Him in everything we say and do in our lives. Amen.