Friday, 28 January 2022 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Mark 4 : 26-34

At that time, Jesus also said, “In the kingdom of God it is like this : a man scatters seed upon the soil. Whether he is asleep or awake, be it day or night, the seed sprouts and grows, he knows not how. The soil produces of itself : first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when it is ripe for harvesting, they take the sickle for the cutting : the time for the harvest has come.”

Jesus also said, “What is the kingdom of God like? To what shall we compare it? It is like a mustard seed which, when sown, is the smallest of all the seeds scattered upon the soil. But once sown, it grows up and becomes the largest of the plants in the garden, and even grows branches so big, that the birds of the air can take shelter in its shade.”

Jesus used many such stories, in order to proclaim the word to them in a way that they would be able to understand. He would not teach them without parables; but privately to His disciples He explained everything.

Friday, 28 January 2022 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 50 : 3-4, 5-6a, 6bc-7, 10-11

Have mercy on me, o God, in Your love. In Your great compassion blot out my sin. Wash me thoroughly of my guilt; cleanse me of evil.

For I acknowledge my wrongdoings and have my sins ever in mind. Against You alone, have I sinned.

What is evil in Your sight, I have done. You are right when You pass sentence; and blameless in Your judgement. For I have been guilt-ridden from birth; a sinner from my mother’s womb.

Fill me with joy and gladness; let the bones You have crushed rejoice. Turn Your face away from my sins and blot out all my offences.

Friday, 28 January 2022 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

2 Samuel 11 : 1-4a, 5-10a, 13-17

In the spring of that year, when kings usually set out to fight, David sent out Joab, his officers and all the Israelite troops. They slaughtered the Ammonites and attacked Rabbah, while David remained in Jerusalem.

One afternoon, David got up from his siesta and took a walk on the roof of the royal house. From the rooftop, he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. David sent to inquire about the woman, and was told, “She is Bathsheba, daughter of Eliam and wife of Uriah, the Hittite.”

So David sent messengers to have her brought to him. As the woman saw she was with child, she sent word to David, “I am with child.” David then sent a message to Joab, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” So Joab sent Uriah to David. When Uriah came, David asked him about Joab, how the people were and how the war was proceeding. Then he told Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.”

Uriah left the palace while the king had a portion from his table sent to him. Uriah, however, did not go down to his house but slept by the door of the king’s palace with all the servants of his lord. David was told that Uriah did not go down to his house.

David invited him to table and he ate and drank until he was drunk. When evening fell, however, he went to lie down on his couch with the guards of his lord instead of going down to his house. The next morning, David wrote Joab a letter to be taken by hand by Uriah, in which he said, “Place Uriah in the front row where the fighting is very fierce and then withdraw from him so that he may be struck down and die.”

When Joab was attacking the city, he assigned Uriah to a place where he knew was being defended by strong warriors. And the defenders attacked the men of Joab. Some of David’s soldiers and officers were killed; Uriah the Hittite also died.

Thursday, 27 January 2022 : 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 as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are all reminded of the obligation each and every one of us have in living our lives with faith, in proclaiming the truth of God and becoming the beacons of His light in our world today. These are the responsibilities that we have been entrusted with, to be the examples of faith and inspiration for many others whom we encounter in our own lives.

In our first reading today, we heard from the second Book of the prophet Samuel regarding the prayer that King David of Israel made to the Lord after the Lord had made him secure in his rule and place as the leader over all the people of Israel. David thanked God for all that He had done for His people Israel and also what He had done to David himself and to his family, in honouring him and all his relatives for having chosen him as the King of Israel and through all the promises that God had made in assuring him of the kingship which will remain in his house forever.

David humbled himself and asked the Lord to bless him and his family, and hoping that his family and descendants will remain faithful to the Lord forever. He prayed to the Lord asking for His strength and guidance, and went on to become a great King over all Israel, whose reign was always remembered by the later generations as the golden age and time, and as a paragon and ideal for all the future rulers and kings. He ruled justly and devoted himself to the Lord wholeheartedly, and except for a few occasions when he faltered and made mistakes, he kept true to the faith.

In our Gospel reading today, we heard the Lord Jesus speaking to His disciples using the parable of the lamp and the lampstand in order to deliver His intentions clearly, to remind all of those who listened to His words including all of us that all of us who have been called to follow Him, have to be those beacons of God’s light that our lives brilliantly reflect the light of God. Through all of us, God’s truth and love may be revealed to all men, and all shall come to know God because they have seen us and witnessed all that we have done.

Unfortunately, many of us have not done what we ought to be doing as faithful Christians, called and chosen from the world to be the witnesses of His truth and salvation. We have preferred to remain hidden in the darkness, to hide behind the veil of sin and evil. We have preferred to lay idle and not do what we have been called to do as Christ’s disciples. We have received the light of truth, and yet the light of Christ does not shine brightly in us, hidden by our ignorance, lukewarmness in faith and refusal to commit ourselves wholeheartedly.

Today, as we listened to the words of the Lord, each and every one of us are reminded of this duty and calling for us to be the bearers of Christ’s light, His truth and love in our respective communities and at every possible opportunities given to us. Through the examples set by King David of Israel and the many other virtuous paragons of faith, our holy predecessors, we have been called to be holy ourselves, to be worthy of God and His love. We are all called to be true and genuine disciples not just in name, but also in all actions, words and deeds.

We can follow the good examples of St. Angela Merici, one of the great saints of God, whose feast we are celebrating today. St. Angela Merici was the famous founder of the religious order of the Ursulines, also known as the Company of St. Ursula that led to the later foundation of the Order of the Ursulines. St. Angela Merici was inspired since her early youth to commit herself with some others to work for the cause of the training and education of young Christian girls, which is still the inspiration for the educational institutes established by the Ursulines.

St. Angela Merici dedicated herself and inspired many others together in the ministry that she had committed herself as part of the Company of St. Ursula, establishing schools and orphanages, caring especially for the needs of young Christians, especially that of young, underprivileged Christian girls, who were often exploited and in disadvantageous positions. St. Angela Merici dedicated her life to this ministry, and many more people would come to follow her examples in working for the greater glory of God and for the salvation of His people.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all discern our path in life through what we have heard from the lives of our holy and dedicated predecessors, King David, St. Angela Merici and many others. They have lived their lives with virtue, becoming truly shining beacons of truth and love, of God’s light and compassion, and from them, many came to believe in God and be saved as well. Are we able to do the same as well in our lives? Are we able to inspire others to follow the Lord, or have we instead kept the people away from God by our lack of genuine faith?

Let us all therefore seek the Lord our God with a renewed spirit and conviction, and let us commit ourselves to follow the Lord ever more faithfully and do whatever we can with our actions, words and deeds, even the smallest and seemingly least significant of them all, that we may indeed glorify the Lord through our lives and may become His ever worthy disciples, now and always. Amen.