Friday, 28 May 2021 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 11 : 11-25

At that time, Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the Temple. And after He had looked all around, as it was already late, He went out to Bethany with the Twelve. The next day, when they were leaving Bethany, He felt hungry. In the distance, He noticed a fig tree covered with leaves; so He went to see if He could find anything on it.

When He reached it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. Then Jesus said to the fig tree, “May no one ever eat your fruit!” And His disciples heard these words. When they reached Jerusalem, Jesus went to the Temple, and began to drive away all the people He saw buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the stools of those who sold pigeons. And He would not let anyone carry anything through the Temple area.

Jesus then taught the people, “Does not God say in the Scriptures : My House will be called a House of Prayer for all the nations? But you have turned it into a den of thieves.”

The chief priests and the teachers of the Law heard of this, and they tried to find a way to destroy Him. They were afraid of Him, because all the people were astonished by His teaching. When evening came, Jesus left the city.

Early next morning, as they walked along the road, the disciples saw the fig tree withered to its roots. Peter then said to Him, “Master, look! The fig tree You cursed has withered.” And Jesus replied, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and have no doubt in your heart, but believe that what you say will happen, it will be done for you.”

“Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it shall be done for you. And when you stand to pray, if you have anything against anyone, forgive.”

Friday, 28 May 2021 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 149 : 1-2, 3-4, 5-6a and 9b

Alleluia! Sing to the Lord a new song, sing His praise in the assembly of His saints! Let Israel rejoice in his Maker, let the people of Zion glory in their King!

Let them dance to praise of His Name and make music for Him with harp and timbrel. For the Lord delights in His people; He crowns the lowly with victory.

The saints will exult in triumph; even at night on their couches. Let the praise of God be on their lips; this is the glory of all His saints. Alleluia!

Friday, 28 May 2021 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Sirach 44 : 1, 9-13

Let us now glorify illustrious men, the ancestors of our people. Others are not remembered and have disappeared as if they never existed. It is the same for their children. But now consider the godly men whose good deeds have not been forgotten.

Those who came after them benefitted from the rich legacy they left; their race remained faithful to the Covenant, their children followed their example. Their family will endure forever and never will its glory be tarnished.

Thursday, 27 May 2021 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Augustine of Canterbury, Bishop (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scripture, we are reminded of the most wonderful works of God in our midst, that exist all around us and which He has done for our sake, providing for us and blessing us with many wonderful things, which unfortunately often ignored by many of us. Many among us have not realised just how much God has done for us, and just how wonderfully beloved we have been. We have not opened our eyes and our hearts to recognise God’s love for us.

That is why then in the Gospel reading today we heard about the Lord healing the blind beggar, Bartimaeus, who begged Him to heal him and restore his sight. And despite the ridicule and the efforts of the crowd to silence him, Bartimaeus continued to ask for the Lord, shouting out for Him and calling on Him to show mercy towards Him because he truly believed that the Lord could heal him and make him whole again. And that was how Bartimaeus, the blind beggar was healed and restored his sight, by his great faith in the Lord.

Bartimaeus was blind, and he was unable to see any light, as his eyes had failed him. The Lord opened his eyes again and restored his ability to see the light and all things surrounding him. He sought the Lord for healing, and the Lord healed him. And through what we have heard about Bartimaeus and his healing by the Lord, we are actually reminded to seek God’s healing for our own predicament and illness, that we too may be healed and may be made whole again just as Bartimaeus had been made whole.

Why do we need healing, brothers and sisters in Christ? Some of us may wonder why we need healing or why we have the need to seek the Lord. That is in fact because we are all, even though we may be perfectly good in health and in our physical selves, but we are suffering from sin, afflicted by this disease that is affecting us and will end up destroying us unless we have them resolved by none other than the Lord. The Lord alone has the power to heal us from our sins, as unlike any other ailments of this world, no one can forgive sin but God alone.

Hence, we need to seek the Lord and ask Him for His healing and forgiveness for our sins, so that we may be freed from bondage to those sins and be brought to a new life filled with grace, in the presence of God. We should also realise that we are really fortunate that God Himself always wants us to be reconciled to Him and to be freed from our sins, just as He wanted to heal Bartimaeus and how He recognised the faith that the blind beggar had in Him. Hence, we too need to have that faith in the Lord as well.

Today we are all called as Christians to have genuine faith in the Lord and to devote ourselves, our efforts and attention, our time and our energy to serve the Lord, to walk on His path and to remain true to Him, even when we may encounter trials and challenges, ridicule and sufferings along the way. Just as Bartimaeus was insistent despite being ridiculed and opposed by all those who were around him, we also have to be insistent and committed in our faith, as best as we are able to.

Today, we celebrate the feast of St. Augustine of Canterbury, a great missionary and servant of God, the first Bishop of Canterbury in England, as he went to that land, reestablishing the Church hierarchy and presence in England after barbarian invasions in the preceding centuries destroyed much of the Church infrastructures and presence established earlier during the Roman times. Pope St. Gregory the Great sent St. Augustine of Canterbury to England with the mission for the conversion of souls, and St. Augustine of Canterbury dedicated himself to his mission.

Through his tireless works, St. Augustine of Canterbury did not just manage to establish a firm foundation of the Church in England, but he also managed to convince even some of the local rulers and kings to convert to the Christian faith. St. Augustine of Canterbury spent a lot of time in patiently reaching out to the pagans and the believers alike, and beginning many other missions that would end up in converting the entirety of England to the faith within a century or so. St. Augustine of Canterbury is therefore remembered for his great contributions and faith, which should become source of inspiration for all of us.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, are we willing and able to follow the Lord wholeheartedly from now on? Are we able to commit ourselves like St. Augustine of Canterbury and so many other saints and our holy predecessors had done? Let us all seek the Lord with all of our hearts from now on, and be like Bartimaeus in his faith and belief in the Lord’s love and providence. May the Lord be with us all and may He strengthen all of us with faith. Amen.

Thursday, 27 May 2021 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Augustine of Canterbury, Bishop (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Mark 10 : 46-52

At that time, Jesus and His disciples came to Jericho. As Jesus was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar, Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth passing by, he began to call out, “Son of David, Jesus, have mercy on me!”

Many people scolded him and told him to keep quiet, but he shouted all the louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called the blind man, saying, “Take heart! Get up, He is calling you!” He immediately threw aside his cloak, jumped up and went to Jesus.

Then Jesus asked him, “What do you want Me to do for you?” The blind man said, “Master, let me see again!” And Jesus said to him, “Go your way, your faith has made you well.” And, immediately, he could see, and he followed Jesus along the road.

Thursday, 27 May 2021 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Augustine of Canterbury, Bishop (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Psalm 32 : 2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

Give thanks to Him on the harp and lyre, making melody and chanting praises. Amid loud shouts of joy, sing to Him a new song and play the ten-stringed harp.

For upright is YHVH’s word and worthy of trust is His work. YHVH loves justice and righteousness; the earth is full of His kindness.

The heavens were created by His word, the breath of His mouth formed their starry host. He gathered the waters of the sea into a heap, and stored the deep in cellars.

Let the whole earth fear YHVH; let the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke and so it was, He commanded, and everything stood firm.