Sunday, 31 January 2021 : Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday as we listened to the readings of the Sacred Scripture, we are all presented with the assurance from God that if we focus our attention on Him, put our faith in Him and entrust ourselves to Him, in the end we have nothing to worry about, and we should not allow worldly concerns and temptations to distract us, or worse still, drag us away from the path towards redemption.

In order to understand properly the readings of the Scripture today, which may not be so easily evident and understandable, we have to understand first the context of how they were written and recorded. First of all, regarding the first reading from the Book of Deuteronomy in which Moses addressed the people of Israel and promised them the coming of the great Prophet that would come from their midst, he was in fact speaking about the future coming of Christ.

Why is that so? That is because, Christ, our Lord and Saviour was born among the Israelites, as the Heir of king David no less, and He was the One promised by the Lord and prophesied by the many prophets, and that included even Moses and his proclamation, that even all those years ago, before the Israelites even reached the Promised Land and established themselves, God had begun to reveal His plan of salvation to them.

And most importantly, as we heard in our Psalm today as well, the mention of Massah and Meribah was significant as these two places were especially infamous in the history of the Exodus, as it was at Massah and Meribah that the people of God explicitly rebelled against the Lord and refused to obey Him, complaining that they did not have enough to eat and how their lives as slaves back in Egypt were better than when they were then at, in the desert.

All of these happened even though the Lord had generously taken very good care of them, providing them with food to eat, with the manna from heaven and the flocks of large birds daily along the entire journey, as well as water to drink in the middle of the mostly dry, barren and lifeless desert. The Lord had loved His people very much, and yet they had rejected Him and rose up against Him, again and again.

We also heard Moses mentioning about Mount Horeb, the place where the Israelites had come to gather and make a Covenant between them and God. That was also the place where God established His Law and gave them the Ten Commandments through Moses. However, I am sure we also remember how at that very moment, the Israelites had also distrusted the Lord yet another time, when they turned to a golden calf idol as they thought that the Lord had abandoned them when Moses went up the mountain for forty days to receive God’s Law.

We have seen how faithless the people of God had been, many times throughout their history, even through the relatively short period of the Exodus. Many of those were caused by their failure to resist the temptations and pressure to crave the desires of the world, the temptations of pleasures and money, the desires of the flesh among many other things. That was why they turned away from God.

Finally, in our Gospel passage today we heard the Lord Jesus, His works and preaching, as the fulfilment of God’s promises and the One Whom Moses and the other prophets had mentioned. And when men possessed by the evil spirits came to Him, the evil spirits even recognised the Lord and proclaimed Him as the Holy One of God, the Son of God and Saviour of the world. And the irony is how those evil spirits recognised and proclaimed the Lord when many among the people to whom the Lord had taught and performed miracles still refused to believe in Him and doubted Him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore today, as we listened through the Scripture passages, we are all called to reflect on the nature and importance of our faith in our daily lives. Have we been truly faithful to God and have we trusted Him wholly all these time? These are some things that we really should spend time pondering on, and we need to consider how we can grow ever more in our faith and commitment.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we continue to progress in life, let us all be exemplary in our actions and in how we reach out to one another, to share our faith with our fellow brothers and sisters. If we ourselves have not been truly faithful then how can we expect others to be faithful as well? The Lord is calling on all of us to turn towards Him with faith, and to be true and genuine witnesses of our Christian faith, our belief in Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour of all.

Let us all be filled with God’s grace and love; and let us do our best in our every moments in life to lead one another towards the salvation in God. May the Lord give us the strength and the courage to continue walking ever more faithfully in His path from now on. May He bless all of our works and our interactions, that we may call ever more souls from the darkness of this world and into the eternal light and glory in God. Amen.

Sunday, 31 January 2021 : Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 1 : 21b-28

At that time, Jesus taught in the synagogue on the Sabbath day. The people were astonished at the way He taught, for He spoke as One having authority, and not like the teachers of the Law.

It happened that, a man with an evil spirit was in their synagogue, and he shouted, “What do You want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know Who You are : You are the Holy One of God.”

Then Jesus faced him and said with authority, “Be silent, and come out of this man!” The evil spirit shook the man violently and, with a loud shriek, came out of him. All the people were astonished, and they wondered, “What is this? With what authority He preaches! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey Him!”

And Jesus’ fame spread throughout all the country of Galilee.

Sunday, 31 January 2021 : Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Corinthians 7 : 32-35

I would like you to be free from anxieties. He who is not married is concerned about the things of the Lord and how to please the Lord. While he who is married is taken up with the things of the world and how to please his wife, and he is divided in his interests.

Likewise, the unmarried woman and the virgin are concerned with the service of the Lord, to be holy in body and spirit. The married woman, instead, worries about the things of the world and how to please her husband.

I say this for your own good. I do not wish to lay traps for you, but to lead you to a beautiful life, entirely united with the Lord.

Sunday, 31 January 2021 : Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 94 : 1-2, 6-7, 8-9

Come, let us sing to YHVH, let us make a joyful sound to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before Him giving thanks, with music and songs of praise.

Come and worship; let us bow down, kneel before YHVH, our Maker. He is our God, and we, His people; the flock He leads and pastures. Would, that today, you heard His voice!

Do not be stubborn, as at Meribah, in the desert, on that day at Massah, when your ancestors challenged Me, and they put Me to the test.

Sunday, 31 January 2021 : Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Deuteronomy 18 : 15-20

Moses said to the people of Israel, “He will raise up for you a prophet like myself from among the people, from your brothers, to whom you shall listen. Remember that in Horeb, on the day of the Assembly, you said : ‘I am afraid to die and I do not want to hear the voice of YHVH again or see again the great fire.’”

“So YHVH said to me : ‘They have spoken well. I shall raise up a prophet from their midst, one of their brothers, who will be like you. I will put My words into his mouth and he will tell them all that I command. If someone does not listen to My words when the prophet speaks on My behalf, I Myself will call him to account for it. But any prophet who says in My Name anything that I did not command, or speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’”

(Usus Antiquior) Septuagesima Sunday (II Classis) – Sunday, 31 January 2021 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Communion and Post-Communion Prayer

Liturgical Colour : Violet

Offertory

Psalm 91 : 2

Bonum est confiteri Domino, et psallere Nomini Tuo, Altissime.

English translation

It is good to give praise to the Lord, and to sing to Your Name, o Most High.

Secret Prayer of the Priest

Muneribus nostris, quaesumus, Domine, precibusque susceptis : et caelestibus nos munda mysteriis, et clementer exaudi. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

With our gifts and prayers accepted, we beseech You, o Lord, both cleanse us by these heavenly mysteries and graciously hear us. 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.

Communion

Psalm 30 : 17-18

Illumina faciem Tuam super servum Tuum, et salvum me fac in Tua misericordia : Domine, non confundar, quoniam invocavi Te.

English translation

Make Your face to shine upon Your servant, and save me in Your mercy. Let me not be confounded, o Lord, for I have called upon You.

Post-Communion Prayer

Fideles Tui, Deus, per Tua dona firmentur : ut eadem et percipiendo requirant, et quaerendo sine fine percipiant. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

May Your faithful, o God, be strengthened by Your gifts, that receiving them they may still desire them and desiring them may constantly receive them. 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.

(Usus Antiquior) Septuagesima Sunday (II Classis) – Sunday, 31 January 2021 : Holy Gospel

Liturgical Colour : Violet

Sequentia Sancti Evangelii secundum Matthaeum – Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew

Matthew 20 : 1-16

In illo tempore : Dixit Jesus discipulis Suis parabolam hanc : Simile est regnum caelorum homini patrifamilias, qui exiit primo mane conducere operarios in vineam suam. Conventione autem facta cum operariis ex denario diurno, misit eos in vineam suam.

Et egressus circa horam tertiam, vidit alios stantes in foro otiosos, et dixit illis : Ite et vos in vineam meam, et quod justum fuerit, dabo vobis. Illi autem abierunt. Iterum autem exiit circa sextam et nonam horam : et fecit similiter. Circa undecimam vero exiit, et invenit alios stantes, et dicit illis : Quid hic statis tota die otiosi?

Dicunt ei : Quia nemo nos conduxit. Dicit illis : Ite et vos in vineam meam. Cum sero autem factum esset, dicit dominus vineae procuratori suo : Voca operarios, et redde illis mercedem, incipiens a novissimis usque ad primos. Cum venissent ergo qui circa undecimam horam venerant, acceperunt singulos denarios.

Venientes autem et primi, arbitrati sunt, quod plus essent accepturi : acceperunt autem et ipsi singulos denarios. Et accipientes murmurabant adversus patremfamilias, dicentes : Hi novissimi una hora fecerunt et pares illos nobis fecisti, qui portavimus pondus diei et aestus.

At ille respondens uni eorum, dixit : Amice, non facio tibi injuriam : nonne ex denario convenisti mecum? Tolle quod tuum est, et vade : volo autem et huic novissimo dare sicut et tibi. Aut non licet mihi, quod volo, facere? an oculus tuus nequam est, quia ego bonus sum? Sic erunt novissimi primi, et primi novissimi. Multi enim sunt vocati, pauci vero electi.

English translation

At that time, Jesus spoke to His disciples this parable, “The kingdom of heaven is likened to a householder, who went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And having agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.

And going out at about the third hour, he saw others standing in the marketplace idle, and he said to them, “You also go into my vineyard, and I will give you what shall be just,” and they went their way. And again he went out at about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did so in the similar manner. But at about the eleventh hour, he went out, and found others standing, and he said to them, “Why did you stand here all the day idle?”

They said to him, “Because no man had hired us.” He said to them, “You also go into my vineyard.” And when evening came, the lord of the vineyard said to his steward, “Call the labourers, and pay them their hire, beginning from the last even to the first.” When therefore those who came at about the eleventh hour, they received a penny for every man.

But when the first also came, they thought that they should receive more, and they also received a penny for every man. And receiving it, they murmured against the master of the house, saying, “These last have barely worked but one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the heat.”

But he answering, said to one of them, “Friend, I did you no wrong, did you not agree with me for a penny? Take what is yours, and go your way. I will also give to the last even as to you. Or, is it not lawful for me to do what I will? Is your eye evil, because I am good? So shall the last be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few are chosen.”

(Usus Antiquior) Septuagesima Sunday (II Classis) – Sunday, 31 January 2021 : Gradual and Tract

Liturgical Colour : Violet

Gradual

Psalm 9 : 10-11, 19-20

Adjutor in opportunitatibus, in tribulatione : sperent in Te, qui noverunt Te : quoniam non derelinquis quaerentes Te, Domine.

Response : Quoniam non in finem oblivio erit pauperis : patientia pauperum non peribit in aeternum : exsurge, Domine, non praevaleat homo.

English translation

The helper in due time, in tribulation. Let them trust in You, who know You for You have not forsaken those who seek You, o Lord.

Response : For the poor man shall not be forgotten to the end, the patience of the poor shall not perish forever. Arise, o Lord, let not man be strengthened.

Tract

Psalm 129 : 1-4

De profundis clamavi ad Te, Domine : Domine, exaudi vocem meam.

Response : Fiant aures Tuae intendentes in orationem servi Tui.

Response : Si iniquitates observaveris, Domine : Domine, quis sustinebit?

Response : Quia apud Te propitiatio est, et propter legem Tuam sustinui Te, Domine.

English translation
From the depths I have cried to You, o Lord. Lord, hear my voice.

Response : Let Your ears be attentive to the prayer of Your servant.

Response : If You shall observe iniquities, o Lord, Lord, who shall endure it?

Response : For with You is propitiation, and by reason of Your Law I have waited for You, o Lord.

(Usus Antiquior) Septuagesima Sunday (II Classis) – Sunday, 31 January 2021 : Epistle

Liturgical Colour : Violet

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

1 Corinthians 9 : 24-27 and 1 Corinthians 10 : 1-5

Fratres : Nescitis, quod ii, qui in stadio currunt, omnes quidem currunt, sed unus accipit bravium? Sic currite, ut comprehendatis. Omnis autem, qui in agone contendit, ab omnibus se abstinet : et illi quidem, ut corruptibilem coronam accipiant; nos autem incorruptam.

Ego igitur sic curro, non quasi in incertum : sic pugno, non quasi aerem verberans : sed castigo corpus meum, et in servitutem redigo : ne forte, cum aliis praedicaverim, ipse reprobus efficiar.

Nolo enim vos ignorare, fratres, quoniam patres nostri omnes sub nube fuerunt, et omnes mare transierunt, et omnes in Moyse baptizati sunt in nube et in mari : et omnes eamdem escam spiritalem manducaverunt, et omnes eumdem potum spiritalem biberunt (bibebant autem de spiritali, consequente eos, petra : petra autem erat Christus) : sed non in pluribus eorum beneplacitum est Deo.

English translation

Brethren, do you not know that those who run in the race, all run indeed, but one receives the prize? So run, that you may obtain. And every one who strives for the mastery, refrains himself from all things, and they indeed that they may receive a corruptible crown, but for us, an incorruptible one.

I therefore so run, not as at an uncertainty. I so fight, not as one beating the air, but I chastise my body, and bring it into subjection, lest perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway.

For I would not have you as ignorants, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all in Moses were baptised, in the cloud and in the sea, and all did eat the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink (and they drank of the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ). But with the most of them God was not well pleased.

(Usus Antiquior) Septuagesima Sunday (II Classis) – Sunday, 31 January 2021 : Introit and Collect

Liturgical Colour : Violet

Introit

Psalm 17 : 5, 6, 7 and 2-3

Circumdederunt me gemitus mortis, dolores inferni circumdederunt me : et in tribulatione mea invocavi Dominum, et exaudivit de templo sancto suo vocem meam.

Diligam Te, Domine, fortitudo mea : Dominus firmamentum meum, et refugium meum, et liberator meus.

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

English translation
The groans of death surround me, the sorrows of hell encompassed me : and in my affliction I called upon the Lord, and He heard my voice, from His holy Temple.

I will love You, o Lord, my strength. The Lord is my firmament, and my refuge and my deliverer.

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

Preces populi Tui, quaesumus, Domine, clementer exaudi : ut, qui juste pro peccatis nostris affligimur, pro Tui Nominis gloria misericorditer liberemur. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

May You, we beseech You, o Lord, graciously hear the prayers of Your people, that we, who are justly afflicted for our sins, may be mercifully delivered for the glory of Your Name. 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.