Tuesday, 25 February 2020 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 9 : 30-37

At that time, after leaving the place where He cast out evil spirit from a deaf and dumb boy, Jesus and His disciples made their way through Galilee, but He did not want people to know where He was because He was teaching His disciples. And He told them, “The Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill Him, but three days after He has been killed, He will rise.”

The disciples, however, did not understand these words and they were afraid to ask Him what He meant. They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house, Jesus asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they did not answer, because they had been arguing about who was the greatest.

Then He sat down, called the Twelve and said to them, “If someone wants to be first, let him be last of all and servant of all.” Then He took a little child, placed him in their midst, and putting His arms around him, He said to them, “Whoever welcomes a child such as this in My Name, welcomes Me; and whoever welcomes Me, welcomes not Me but the One Who sent Me.”

Tuesday, 25 February 2020 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 54 : 7-8, 9-10a, 10b-11a, 23

I said, “If I had wings, like a dove, I would fly away and be at rest; I would seek a home in the desert.”

“I would hurry to find a cave, for shelter from the tempest.” O YHVH, shatter their plans.

In the city, I see strife and violence; day and night, they prowl about its walls.

Place your burden on YHVH, and He will sustain you; for He never allows the upright to fall.

Tuesday, 25 February 2020 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

James 4 : 1-10

What causes these fights and quarrels among you? Is it not your cravings, that make war within your own selves? When you long for something you cannot have, you kill for it, and when you do not get what you desire, you squabble and fight. The fact is, you do not have what you want, because you do not pray for it.

You pray for something, and you do not get it, because you pray with the wrong motive, of indulging your pleasures. You adulterers! Do you not know, that making friends with the world makes you enemies of God? Therefore, whoever chooses to be the world’s friend becomes God’s enemy.

Can you not see the point of the saying in the Scripture : “The longing of the Spirit, He sent to dwell in us, is a jealous longing?” But God has something better to give, and Scripture also says, “God opposes the proud but He gives His favour to the humble.” Give in, then, to God; resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Draw close to God and He will come close to you. Clean your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you doubters. Recognise your distress, be miserable and weep. Turn your laughter into tears and your joy into sadness. Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will raise you up.

Monday, 24 February 2020 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened the words of the Sacred Scriptures each one of us are reminded of the faith and trust that we need to have in God, and as Christians, we must indeed be filled with faith, with obedience and humility before God. Otherwise, we will be easy prey for the devil and all of his wicked allies, the demons and evil spirits ever roaming around seeking our downfall and destruction.

Unless our relationship with God is strong, we will fall easily to the temptations and coercions of these wicked spirits. This is what we have ourselves heard in our Gospel passage today, as the Lord cast down evil spirits from a possessed boy whom His disciples had not been able to handle. The disciples brought the man to Jesus and the Lord cast out the demon from the boy almost immediately. He rebuked His own disciples for their lack of faith, and said if they really just had a little bit of true faith, they would be able to heal the boy.

And the father of the boy himself was stuttering in his faith, as when the Lord asked him, he responded with some ambivalence, that while he had faith in Jesus, yet there was also doubt in his heart that Jesus would be able to do something to help his boy from his demonic possession trouble. Though in the end, he made a firmer profession of the faith, that he did believe in Jesus and asked Him to help him in whatever little faith he had.

Essentially, what this means is that we have to have that faith in us, believing that no matter what, first of all, we always have God by our side. If only that we put our complete trust in Him and allow Him to be in our hearts and in our whole being, and being attuned to Him, we have no need to fear of anything, especially against the forces of evil. For as we have heard in the Gospel today, even the powerful and fearsome evil spirits had to obey the Lord, Who is their Master and Creator after all.

The devil and all the forces of evil know this very well, and that is exactly why they are always busy at work trying to persuade us and to tempt us to follow the path of sin, and to be distracted from our attention towards God. They sow the seeds of doubt and unfaithfulness inside our hearts, by playing into our pride, ego, desires and fears, and in doing so, they hope to drive a wedge between God and us. And this is why, the Lord mentioned in the end of our Gospel passage today, after He cast out the demons, that only prayer can drive out this one, nothing else.

For through prayer and indeed having a healthy and good prayer life is a necessity for us to have a good relationship with God. And that is how we anchor ourselves firmly in God and put ourselves firmly in His powerful embrace and protection. If we have this kind of faith, not only that we will be protected and can stand strong against the devil and his wicked demonic forces, no matter how powerful they may seem to be, but we can even help others who are troubled by these spirits, through prayer and other means.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us as Christians, we are all called to reexamine our lives and our faith. Have we been living our lives thus far with real faith or have we been living our lives with just a superficial faith and seeking instead the glory of the world and its many satisfaction? We should think carefully about it, and ask ourselves if all these distractions have indeed prevented us from having a strong trust and faith in God.

Let us all heed what the Apostle St. James wrote in his Epistle in our first reading today, as he exhorted us the faithful to put our trust not in the ways and wisdom of the world but instead in the wisdom of God. He also warned us all against all sorts of jealousy, ambition, pride and desire, exactly what I have just mentioned earlier, as these are the tools and means by which the devil and his allies used frequently to drive a wedge separating us from God, and distracting us from His love and grace.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, are we able to live a more Christian way of living from this moment onwards if we have not done so? Are we able to commit ourselves to the Lord with ever greater reverence and commitment? Let us bring ourselves closer to God through prayer and through our lives, made ever more dedicated with each and every passing moments. Let us deepen our relationship with God, that He may truly become our strength and our shield that we have nothing to fear even from the evil one, for God is by our side, always.

May the Lord bless us all and may He strengthen us in our resolve to live courageously in accordance with His will, that we may resist the many temptations present in this world and live our lives as true Christians and good followers of Our God. Amen.

Monday, 24 February 2020 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 9 : 14-29

At that time, when Jesus and His disciples, Peter, James and John came to the place where they had left the disciples, they saw many people around them and some teachers of the Law arguing with them. When the people saw Jesus, they were astonished and ran to greet Him.

He asked, “What are you arguing about with them?” A man answered Him from the crowd, “Master, I brought my son to You, for he has a spirit, deaf and mute. Whenever the spirit seizes him, it throws him down and he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth and becomes stiff all over. I asked Your disciples to drive the spirit out, but they could not.”

Jesus replied, “You faithless people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring him to Me.” And the brought the boy to Him. As soon as the spirit saw Jesus, it shook and convulsed the boy, who fell on the ground, and began rolling about, foaming at the mouth.

Then Jesus asked the father, “How long has this been happening to him?” He replied, “From childhood. And it has often thrown him into the fire and into the water to destroy him. If You can do anything, have pity on us and help us.”

Jesus said to him, “Why do you say, ‘If You can?’ All things are possible for the one who believes.” Immediately the father of the boy cried out, “I do believe, but help the little faith I have.” Jesus saw that the crowd was increasing rapidly, so He ordered the evil spirit, “Dumb and deaf spirit, I command you : Leave the boy and never enter him again.”

The evil spirit shook and convulsed the boy and with a terrible shriek came out. The boy lay like a corpse and people said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him and the boy stood up. After Jesus had gone indoors, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not drive out the spirit?”

And He answered, “Only prayer can drive out this kind, nothing else.”

Monday, 24 February 2020 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 18 : 8, 9, 10, 15

The Law of YHVH is perfect : it gives life to the soul. The word of YHVH is trustworthy : it gives wisdom to the simple.

The precepts of YHVH are right : they give joy to the heart. The commandments of YHVH are clear : they enlighten the eyes.

The fear of YHVH is pure, it endures forever; the judgments of YHVH are true, all of them just and right.

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart find favour in Your sight, o YHVH – my Redeemer, my Rock!

Monday, 24 February 2020 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

James 3 : 13-18

If you consider yourself wise and learnt, show it by your good life, and let your actions, in all humility, be an example for others. But if your heart is full of bitter jealousy, and ambition, do not try to show off; that would be covering up the truth; this kind of wisdom does not come from above, but from the world, and it is earthly and devilish.

Wherever there is jealousy and ambition, you will also find discord, and all that is evil. Instead, the wisdom that comes from above is pure and peace-loving. Persons with this wisdom show understanding, and listen to advice; they are full of compassion and good works; they are impartial and sincere. Peacemakers, who sow peace, reap a harvest of justice?