(Usus Antiquior) Second Sunday after Epiphany (II Classis) – Sunday, 17 January 2021 : Epistle

Liturgical Colour : White

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

Romans 12 : 6-16

Fratres : Habentes donationes secundum gratiam, quae data est nobis, differentes : sive prophetiam secundum rationem fidei, sive ministerium in ministrando, sive qui docet in doctrina, qui exhortatur in exhortando, qui tribuit in simplicitate, qui praeest in sollicitudine, qui miseretur in hilaritate.

Dilectio sine simulatione. Odientes malum, adhaerentes bono : Caritate fraternitatis invicem diligentes : Honore invicem praevenientes : Sollicitudine non pigri : Spiritu ferventes : Domino servientes : Spe gaudentes : In tribulatione patientes : Oratione instantes : Necessitatibus sanctorum communicantes : Hospitalitatem sectantes.

Benedicite persequentibus vos : benedicite, et nolite maledicere. Gaudere cum gaudentibus, flere cum flentibus : Idipsum invicem sentientes : Non alta sapientes, sed humilibus consentientes.

English translation

Brethren, having different gifts, according to the grace that is given to us, either prophecy, to be used according to the rule of faith, or ministry, in ministering, or he who teaches in doctrine, he who exhorts in exhorting, he who gives with simplicity, he who rules with carefulness, he who shows mercy with cheerfulness.

Let love be without dissimulation. Hating that which is evil, cleaving to that which is good. Loving one another with the charity of brotherhood, in honour preventing one another. In carefulness, not slothful, in spirit fervent, serving the Lord, rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, instant in prayer, communicating to the necessities of the saints, pursuing hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you, bless, and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Being of one mind one towards another, not minding high things, but consenting to the humble.

(Usus Antiquior) Second Sunday after Epiphany (II Classis) – Sunday, 17 January 2021 : Introit and Collect

Liturgical Colour : White

Introit

Psalm 65 : 4 and 1-2

Omnis terra adoret Te, Deus, et psallat Tibi : psalmum dicat Nomini Tuo, Altissime.

Jubilate Deo, omnis terra, psalmum dicite Nomini Ejus : date gloriam laudi Ejus.

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

English translation

Let all the earth adore You, o God, and sing to You. Let it sing a psalm to Your Name, o You Most High.

Shout with joy to God all the earth, sing all of you a psalm to His Name, give glory to His praise.

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

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui caelestia simul et terrena moderaris : supplicationes populi Tui clementer exaudi; et pacem Tuam nostris concede temporibus. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

Almighty, Eternal God, Who had governed all things in heaven and on earth, of Your mercy hear the supplications of Your people, and grant Your peace in our times. 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, 16 January 2021 : 1st Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

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

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us are presented through the readings of the Sacred Scripture, the truth of God’s love and compassionate nature, and His desire to seek us and to love us all once again, as He has shown us through Jesus Christ, His one and only beloved Son, Who came into this world to be our Saviour, and not just any one’s Saviour, but for everyone, without exception, even to the worst of sinners.

That is why today we are presented with the story of the calling and conversion of Levi, the tax collector in our Gospel passage today. Levi was the name of St. Matthew the Apostle before he was called by the Lord and embraced the calling to be an Apostle. Levi was a tax collector, which as a group of people were greatly hated and reviled within the community by the rest of the Jewish people.

The tax collectors were seen as traitors to the nation for their work in collaborating with the Romans in collecting the much hated taxes, the symbol of the Roman dominance over the region. And they were also seen as greedy and haughty, seeking to enrich themselves over the others, many of whom were living in poverty and destitution. However, in truth many of them were really no different from all others, those who seek a living in difficult and turbulent times.

What the people thought of the tax collectors were biases and prejudices that were sustained by the elders as a means to seek scapegoats to place the people’s hatred and all the blame for the misfortunes and challenges that they faced. When the Lord came to Levi and called him to be His follower, it was with this mentality that many others had seen the tax collectors like Levi all that time.

Yet, Levi showed us and all the people that tax collectors were not necessarily evil as they had often been painted as, and they were in fact good and just people too, in their own way. And Levi willingly abandoned everything, his job and profession, all that he had in order to follow the Lord. Not only that, he also gathered the other tax collectors, many of whom were evidently also willing to listen to the Lord and seek Him.

The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law were quick to criticise, pointing out to the disciples of the Lord and questioning them why their Lord and Master would sit and have dinner together with sinners, and activity that was often disliked by the elders and the Pharisees as they deemed entering into the house of sinners and being with them to cause them to be defiled by the sins of those sinners.

Yet, ironically, as they pointed out the sins of others, in truth they themselves had failed to realise that they themselves were sinners. And because they were sinners, they should have been like the tax collectors in desiring to seek God for His mercy and forgiveness. Instead, they hardened their hearts and closed them to the Lord, preferring to remain aloof and looking down on others from their high position and maintaining an attitude of self-righteousness.

But this is exactly where they faltered and fell, brothers and sisters in Christ. For while the tax collectors might have committed sins and lived wickedly, yet by listening to God and answering to His call, and as exemplified by Levi, who abandoned everything to follow the Lord and became one of His disciples, even the greatest of sinners could become great saints themselves had they chosen to embrace God’s ways and abandon their sins.

This is a lesson and reminder for all of us never to allow pride and ambition, greed and ego to bring us to our downfall. We should not allow all these to lead us down the wrong path, but instead, following in the examples of Levi, we should seek the Lord and follow Him with all of our heart, He Who is our High Priest and Redeemer as according to the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, that we have been hearing for the past few days.

May the Lord bless us all and may He strengthen us all our faith, and may He guide us down the right path that each and every one of us may follow Him ever more faithfully. May God be the Light of our lives and be our strength, forgiving us from our sins and faults when we come seeking Him in humility and sincere desire for forgiveness, at all times. Amen.