Thursday, 28 January 2021 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Mark 4 : 21-25

At that time, Jesus also said to His disciples, “When the light comes, is it put under a basket or a bed? Surely it is put on a lamp stand. Whatever is hidden will be disclosed, and whatever is kept secret will be brought to light. Listen then, if you have ears!”

And He also said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear. In the measure you give, so shall you receive, and still more will be given to you. For to the one who produces something, more will be given; and from him who does not produce anything, even what he has will be taken away from him.”

Thursday, 28 January 2021 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 23 : 1-2, 3-4ab, 5-6

The earth and its fullness belong to the Lord, the world and all that dwell in it. He has founded it upon the ocean and set it firmly upon the waters.

Who will ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who will stand in His holy place? Those with clean hands and pure heart, who desire not what is vain.

They will receive blessings from the Lord, a reward from God, their Saviour. Such are the people who seek Him, who seek the face of Jacob’s God.

Thursday, 28 January 2021 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Hebrews 10 : 19-25

So, my friends, we are assured of entering the Sanctuary, by the Blood of Jesus Who opened, for us, this new and living way, passing through the curtain, that is, His Body. Because we have a High Priest in charge of the House of God, let us approach, with a sincere heart, with full faith, interiorly cleansed from a bad conscience, and our bodies washed, with pure water.

Let us hold fast to our hope, without wavering, because He, Who promised, is faithful. Let us consider, how we may spur one another to love and good works. Do not abandon the assemblies, as some of you do, but encourage one another, and all the more, since the Day is drawing near.

Wednesday, 27 January 2021 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Angela Merici, Virgin (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Holy Virgins)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard again about the salvation of God passed down to us through Christ, the High Priest as we continue the discourse from the Epistle to the Hebrews, reminding us yet again how the Lord had offered Himself as the perfect and worthy sacrifice for our sins. The Lord has blessed us with this wonderful grace, forgiving us our sins and leading us into assurance of eternal life through Him.

And now, all of us are called to remember that the Lord has revealed to us all these and therefore we are expected to make good use of all that He has given to us along with this revelation. To each and every one of us God has given us the gift of faith, the wonders of our various talents and abilities, the gift of hope and love as well. These are the seeds that God had sowed in us, and which is aptly summarised and shown through the parable in our Gospel today.

In that parable of the sower, we heard how the sower spread the seeds and those seeds fell on different places. Those different places in fact represent the different attitudes by which we receive and embrace the gifts of God, and how we respond to His call and His truth. Those seeds that fell by the roadside, those that fell on rocky grounds and those that grew amidst thorns and bushes were those who have not fully embraced God’s truth and love.

First of all, those seeds that fell by the wayside were seized and eaten up by the birds, which symbolised the failure of those who reject the Lord and their refusal to even listen to Him or to accept His words and teachings. As a result, those seeds of faith had no place in them, and the devil and all of his fellow forces of evil came and snatched these from them, leaving them barren and without grace.

Then, those seeds that fell on rocky grounds represent those that did receive the word of God, His truth and love, but they hardened their hearts and did not allow these to take root deep within them. Their faith were superficial and merely for appearances rather than genuinely believing in the Lord and in His truth. Thus, similarly those seeds could not grow properly and perished. They did not have the right attitude to welcome the words of the Lord into their hearts.

Those seeds that fell on among the thistles, bushes and brambles represent those who have been more willing to embrace the word of God, His truth and love, and yet they still loved the world more and sought pleasure and enjoyment from the world rather than to fully trust in the Lord. As such, they also failed to grow properly in faith and God’s grace, and they too fell just like the others. The temptations to sin are powerful, and they can bring us down if we are not careful.

Only those seeds that landed on the rich and fertile soil grew well and multiplied in produce so much that they produced thirty, sixty and hundred-fold as many in produce as compared to the original. This represents those who embraced the Lord, His truth and love, and committed themselves wholeheartedly to Him, and allowed the Lord to perform His wonders through them. And this is what we are all called to be, brothers and sisters, to be fruitful in faith and to be filled with God’s love.

Are we willing to do so brothers and sisters? Can we commit ourselves to Him and do our best to follow Him and do His will? We can follow the good examples set by St. Angela Merici, whose feast we are celebrating today. St. Angela Merici was a renowned religious and educator, who was essential in the founding of the now famous Ursulines Order. She dedicated much of her life and work to the advancement of education especially that among the girls, often neglected at the time.

St. Angela Merici spent a lot of time educating young girls and young women, and inspired many women to follow in her own footsteps, encouraging them all to follow the Lord wholeheartedly while remaining in the world, ministering to the needs of those who lacked basic education and proper guidance. As a result of her dedication and efforts, many people came to follow in her footsteps and their combined effort brought so many changes and impact to the society, a definition of what thirty, sixty and hundred-fold produce is all about.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we too can do the same with our own lives. We do not have to do great and wonderful things, but even with our small actions, we may impact the lives of others and touch them with the love and truth of God. This will in time cause a great ripple effect as those whom we touch will then continue to touch the lives of others on their own accord, spreading the impact far beyond what we ourselves can do alone.

Let us all therefore commit ourselves anew to God, and spend time to do what the Lord has called us to do. May God be with us always in this journey and may He strengthen us that we may always strive our best to bear fruits in our faith, at all times. May God bless us all and our many good endeavours. Amen.

Wednesday, 27 January 2021 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Angela Merici, Virgin (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Holy Virgins)

Mark 4 : 1-20

At that time, Jesus began to teach by the lake; but such a large crowd gathered about Him, that He got into a boat and sat in it on the lake, while the crowd stood on the shore. He taught them many things through parables. In His teaching, He said, “Listen! The sower went out to sow. As he sowed, some of the seed fell along a path; and the birds came and ate it up.”

“Some of the seed fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil; it sprang up immediately, because it had no depth; but when the sun rose and burnt it, it withered, because it had no roots. Other seed fell among thorn bushes; and the thorns grew and choked it; so it did not produce any grain.”

“But some seed fell on good soil, grew and increased and yielded grain; some seed produced thirty times as much, some sixty, and some one hundred times as much.” And Jesus added, “Listen then, if you have ears.”

When the crowd went away, some who were around Him with the Twelve asked about the parables. He answered them, “The mystery of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But for those outside, everything comes in parables, so, that, the more they see, they do not perceive; the more they hear, they do not understand; otherwise they would be converted and pardoned.”

Jesus said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How, then, will you understand any of the parables? What the sower is sowing is the word. Those along the path, where the seed fell, are people who hear the word, but as soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.”

“Other people receive the word like rocky ground. As soon as they hear the word, they accept it with joy. But they have no roots, so it lasts only a little while. No sooner does trouble or persecution come because of the word, than they fall. Others receive the seed, as seed among thorns. After they hear the word, they are caught up in the worries of this life, false hope of riches and other desires. All these come in and choke the word, so that finally it produces nothing.”

“And there are others who receive the word as good soil. They hear the word, take it to heart and produce : some thirty, some sixty, and some one hundred times as much.”

Wednesday, 27 January 2021 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Angela Merici, Virgin (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Holy Virgins)

Psalm 109 : 1, 2, 3, 4

The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand till I make Your foes Your footstool.”

From Zion the Lord will extend Your mighty sceptre and You will rule in the midst of Your enemies.

Yours is royal dignity from the day You were born in holy majesty. Like dew from the womb of the dawn, I have begotten You.

The Lord has sworn, and He will not take back His word : “You are a Priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.”

Wednesday, 27 January 2021 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Angela Merici, Virgin (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Holy Virgins)

Hebrews 10 : 11-18

So, whereas every priest stands, daily, by the Altar, offering, repeatedly, the same sacrifices, that can never take away sins, Christ has offered, for all times, a single sacrifice for sins, and has taken His seat at the right hand of God, waiting, until God puts His enemies as a footstool under His feet. By a single sacrifice He has brought those who are sanctified to what is perfect forever.

This also was testified by the Holy Spirit. For after having declared : This is the Covenant that I will make with them in the days to come – says the Lord – I will put My Laws in their hearts and write them on their minds. He says : Their sins and evil deeds I will remember no more. So, if sins are forgiven, there is no longer need of any sacrifice for sin.