Tuesday, 1 February 2022 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Sacred Scriptures, all of us are called to put our faith in the Lord and entrust ourselves in His providence and love. We must not allow the distractions of worldly glory and power to distract us from the path that Our Lord has shown to each and every one of us. The Lord has told us to believe that in Him alone and we should not follow the path as showed by Absalom, the son of David, King of Israel.

In our first reading today, we have heard from the Book of the prophet Samuel about the time when Absalom, one of the most prominent sons of David rebelled against his father in an attempted coup-d’etat. Absalom was a proud man who had always gained the favour of his father and the people, and was likely the favourite to be the one to succeed his father as King of Israel. He gathered the people to his side and brought his forces to seize Jerusalem and made David his father to flee with some trusted advisors.

Absalom tried to seize power, but God had not chosen him to be king over Israel. Absalom was ambitious and proud, and depended on his power and might to gain glory and kingship for himself, and that was why God had not chosen him to be the one to succeed David, and did not bless his actions and attempts to seize power. Instead, God remained with David and reassured him, and Absalom’s rebellion eventually failed, and the young rebel lost his life. David still grieved over his son despite Absalom having betrayed him and attempted to seize power from him.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard how the Lord Jesus cared for His people in need, reaching out to the sick and dying, in His efforts to reach out to us, sickened and afflicted sons and daughters of man. For we are suffering not only from the physical maladies and troubles, but even more importantly, many of us are suffering the consequences of our sinfulness, our disobedience against God and our refusal to put our trust and faith in Him.

We heard how the Lord Jesus went on a journey to the house of Jairus, a synagogue official upon hearing from him that his daughter was very sick and was on the verge of death. We heard then how a woman who had been suffering from haemorrhage or bleeding problem was healed by the Lord as He saw the great faith that she had in Him, as she believed that even if she just quietly came to touch the fringe of the Lord’s cloak, she would be healed.

That condition had affected her for many years, and she must have been trying to hide it as her symptoms would have made her to be considered unclean and even sinful. Yet, the Lord in His great love embraced her and made her whole again, affirming her and her faith before all the assembled people and everyone who were gathered around them. The Lord praised her faith and trust in the Lord, and blessed her for all that she had done, in gathering her courage to seek the Lord.

We also heard then how Jairus and his family had faith in the Lord even though his young daughter had passed away by the time the Lord reached his place. Although the other people assembled there laughed at the Lord and ridiculed Him when He said that she was only sleeping, it was implied that Jairus, who had such great faith in the Lord to go and seek the Lord in the first place, kept that faith he had in the Lord and he never stopped believing in Him.

Thus that was how the Lord came to raise the dead daughter of Jairus back into life, He Who is the Almighty God, the Master of life and death, and the Resurrection and the Life Himself. The Lord restored Jairus’ daughter to him, and showed His disciples and all of us at the same time, that death will not have the final say over us. He Himself shall overcome death for our sake, and by His suffering and death on the Cross, Christ has brought upon us the certainty and assurance of eternal life.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore seek the Lord our God with renewed faith and zeal, and with all of our hearts and might. Let us all renew our commitment to follow Him and serve Him at every opportunities given to us. May the Lord continue to guide us and strengthen us much as how He has strengthened His servants, King David and many other of our fellow brothers and sisters, who have dedicated themselves to God and had gone before us. May God be with us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

Tuesday, 1 February 2022 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 5 : 21-43

At that time, Jesus then crossed to the other side of the lake; and while He was still on the shore, a large crowd gathered around Him. Jairus, an official of the synagogue, came up and, seeing Jesus, threw himself at His feet; and begged Him earnestly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, so that she may get well and live.”

Jesus went with him, and many people followed, pressing around Him. Among the crowd was a woman who had suffered from bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a lot at the hands of many doctors and had spent everything she had, but instead of getting better, she was worse. Because she had heard about Jesus, this woman came up behind Him and touched His cloak, thinking, “If I just touch His clothing, I shall get well.”

Her flow of blood dried up at once, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her complaint. But Jesus was conscious that healing power had gone out from Him, so He turned around in the crowd, and asked, “Who touched My clothes?” His disciples answered, “You see how the people are crowding around You. Why do You ask who touched You?”

But He kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, aware of what had happened, came forward, trembling and afraid. She knelt before Him, and told Him the whole truth. Then Jesus said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be free of this illness.”

While Jesus was still speaking, some people arrived from the official’s house to inform him, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Master any further?” But Jesus ignored what they said, and told the official, “Do not fear, just believe.” And He allowed no one to follow Him except Peter, James and John, the brother of James.

When they arrived at the house, Jesus saw a great commotion, with people weeping and wailing loudly. Jesus entered, and said to them, “Why all this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead, but asleep.” They laughed at Him. So Jesus sent them outside, and went with the child’s father and mother and His companions into the room, where the child lay.

Taking her by the hand, He said to her, “Talitha kumi!” which means, “Little girl, get up!” The girl got up at once and began to walk around. (She was twelve years old.) The parents were amazed, greatly amazed. Jesus strictly ordered them not to let anyone know about it; and He told them to give her something to eat.

Tuesday, 1 February 2022 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 85 : 1-2, 3-4, 5-6

Listen, o YHVH, and answer me, for I am afflicted and needy. Preserve my life, for I am God-fearing; save Your servant who trusts in You.

Have mercy on me, o YHVH, for I cry to You all day. Bring joy to the soul of Your servant; for You, o YHVH, I lift up my soul.

You are good and forgiving, o YHVH, caring for those who call on You. Listen, o YHVH, to my prayer, hear the voice of my pleading.

Tuesday, 1 February 2022 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

2 Samuel 18 : 9-10, 14b, 24-25a, 31 – 2 Samuel 9 : 3

Absalom was riding a mule and happened to meet the guards of David. As the mule passed under the thick branches of a big oak tree, his head was caught in the oak tree and he was left hanging between heaven and earth, while the mule has was riding went its way. Someone reported to Joab, “I saw Absalom hanging from an oak tree.”

So Joab took three spears in his hand and thrust them into Absalom’s heart while he was still alive in the oak tree. David was sitting between the two gates. The watchman posted at the roof of the gate, on the wall, saw a man running alone. So he called out and reported to the king who said, “Move away and stand here.” He moved aside and stayed there.

The Cushite arrived and said, “Good news for my lord the king! YHVH has done you justice today and saved you from all those who rebelled against you.” The king asked the Cushite, “How is the young Absalom?” The Cushite answered, “May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rebel against you end up like that young man.”

The king was greatly disturbed and, going up to the room over the gate, he wept and said, “O, my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! Would that I had died instead of you, o Absalom, my son, my son!”

It was reported to Joab, “The king is weeping and mourning for Absalom.” So the victory that day turned into mourning for all the people, when they heard that the king was grieving over his son.

Monday, 31 January 2022 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John Bosco, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this day as we listened to the words of the Scripture we are all reminded of the Lord’s providence for His people, to His faithful ones, how He has always watched over those who are faithful to Him, provided for them and how He will not abandon them in their time of greatest need. The Lord will reach out to us and lead us to the ultimate victory through Him.

In our first reading today, taken from the Book of the prophet Samuel, we heard how Absalom, the son of David, rebelled against his own father and attempted to seize his kingdom for himself. Absalom was a cunning and proud man, as he likely saw himself as the one who was to succeed his father as King of Israel, and he began plotting his rise to power. He managed to gain significant support and eventually began his rebellion, forcing his father, David, the rightful king to flee Jerusalem with some of his trusted advisors and servants.

That time, we heard of the moment when David was at his lowest, beset by all the troubles caused by Absalom and his rebellion, and many of his advisors and servants abandoning him, and even as we heard, a man named Shimei from Saul’s clan used the opportunity to curse David and speak all sorts of ill things and misfortunes to him, thinking that the reign of David, the one who took over the throne of Israel from the family of Saul finally encountered his end. Nonetheless, as we heard, David remained faithful to God to the very end.

David trusted in the Lord and when one of his men, Abishai wanted to attack Shimei, he forbid Abishai from doing so, and he entrusted his fate completely to the Lord. David did not waver in his commitment and dedication to the Lord, and despite the challenges and hardships that he had to endure, in the end, he remained true and committed to God. King David believed that there is nothing impossible for God, and as long as he is faithful to the Lord, he has nothing to fear about. God shall be by his side just as He had done for all his life until that time.

In our Gospel passage today we heard of the account of the moment when the Lord Jesus cast our many evil spirits and demons from a possessed man in the wilderness in the region of the Gerasenes, which was the region beyond the Jordan River on the other side from Jerusalem and Judea. That man had suffered for a long time and had been ostracised from the community due to his affliction and condition, and he had wandered off in the wilderness until that time when the Lord Jesus were passing by with His disciples.

The evil spirits, aptly named Legion for their great numbers, who had tormented the man, recognised the Lord and asked Him what He wanted to do with them. Certainly the Lord would not have let those wicked spirits have their way and torment the man any longer. He ordered them all to go out from the man and freed him from their dominion and power. The man was healed and was completely restored, and while the local populace was terrified of what they had just witnessed and what happened, the man believed in God and wanted to follow Him. The Lord told the man to go back to his community and tell everyone all that he had experienced.

Today, as we listened to these words of the Scripture we are all reminded how God has always provided for us in our time and hour of need, and we have to believe in Him wholeheartedly, if we are to follow Him and remain faithful to Him. In Him alone is our true hope and happiness, and if we can trust Him this way, then we will be able to weather through any difficulties, trials and challenges that may come throughout our lives. We should not allow fear and doubt to come in between us and God, and we should believe in Him the way that King David had done, and knowing how He cared for each one of us as He had done with the possessed man.

Today, we all celebrate the feast of St. John Bosco, one of the famous saints of the Church known and remembered for his works and dedication to youths. Having experienced a difficult youth time himself, and how having inadequate education due to the poverty of his family, he was inspired to be a priest and from then on, to reach out to struggling juveniles and youths, establishing the Oratory in Turin, catering for the needs of those who need guidance and help, caring for the needs of orphans and those who were struggling with life.

He was committed to his work and made great impacts despite the challenges and opposition that he often had to face in his ministry, as there were members of both laity and the clergy opposed to his efforts due to various reasons. But St. John Bosco persevered nonetheless, gathering many others who shared his ideals and desire to serve the people of God, eventually leading to the foundation of the Order of the Salesians of Don Bosco, one of the great religious orders lasting till this very day.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all turn towards the Lord with faith and commit ourselves thoroughly to His cause from now on. Let us be inspired by the faith shown by our holy predecessors, King David, St. John Bosco and innumerable other holy men and women, all of our role models in faith. May the Lord continue to guide us and strengthen us in our journey through life, and may He empower us to live ever more faithfully in His embrace and love. Amen.