Saturday, 5 February 2022 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Agatha, Virgin and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Mark 6 : 30-34

At that time, the Apostles returned and reported to Jesus all they had done and taught. Then He said to them, “Let us go off by ourselves into a remote place and have some rest.” For there were so many people coming and going that the Apostles had no time even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a secluded area by themselves.

But people saw them leaving, and many could guess where they were going. So, from all the towns, they hurried there on foot, arriving ahead of them. As Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and He had compassion on them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd. And He began to teach them many things.

Saturday, 5 February 2022 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Agatha, Virgin and Martyr (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 118 : 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

How can young people remain pure? By living according to Your word.

I seek You with my whole heart; let me not stray from Your commands.

In my heart I have kept Your word, that I may not sin against my YHVH.

Praise to You, o YHVH; instruct me in Your statutes.

That, with my lips, I may declare all Your spoken decrees.

I delight in following Your laws, more so than in all riches.

Saturday, 5 February 2022 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Agatha, Virgin and Martyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

1 Kings 3 : 4-13

The king used to sacrifice at Gibeon, the great high place; on the altar there he had offered a thousand burnt offerings. It was in Gibeon, during the night, that YHVH appeared to Solomon in a dream and said, “Ask what you want Me to give you.”

Solomon answered, “You have shown Your servant David my father a great and steadfast love because he served You faithfully and was righteous and sincere towards You. You have given him proof of Your steadfast love in making a son of his sit on his throne this day.”

“And now, o YHVH my God, You have made Your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a young boy who does not know how to undertake anything. Meantime, Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen – a people so great that they can neither be numbered nor counted.”

“Give me, therefore, an understanding mind in governing Your people that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to govern this multitude of people of Yours?”

YHVH was pleased that Solomon had made this request. And He told him, “Because you have requested this rather than long life or wealth or even vengeance on your enemies; indeed, because you have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, I shall grant you your request. I now give you a wise and discerning mind such as no one has had before you nor anyone after you shall ever have.”

“I will also give you what you have not asked for, both wealth and fame; and no king shall be your equal during your lifetime.”

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

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we heard the words of the Sacred Scriptures all of us are reminded yet again on what each and every one of us ought to be doing as those who believe in God and walk in His path. Today we are all called to remember the great examples set by two of our holy and dedicated predecessors, namely King David of Israel, the great King of all Israel who ruled the people of God justly and defeated Goliath the great enemy in his youth, as well as St. John the Baptist, the Herald of the Messiah, the one who proclaimed the coming of Christ into this world.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of the prophet Sirach regarding the story of David, the faithful servant of God, how he followed the Lord in all that He had called him to do, all the way from the early years of his youth. David had loved God and was a kind and righteous man from the very beginning, and he allowed God to lead him in whatever he did. He followed the Lord and when he was chosen to be the new King over all the people of God, he entrusted himself to God wholeheartedly.

He was the one whom God blessed and protected, and when he courageously answered the mocking calls of the Philistine champion, Goliath, David stood before the people of Israel and the Philistines who mocked and ridiculed God. He stood against the mighty giant, clad in just his shepherd’s cloak against Goliath’s fully armoured might. David completely trusted in the Lord, and through Him, he brought Goliath down, defeated the Philistines and restored the glory of God’s Name and the glory of Israel.

David was not a perfect person and neither was he blameless. He was a sinner just like us, who made mistakes and committed sins such as when he coveted the wife of Uriah, his own loyal commander, whom he led to his death in order to hide his affair from becoming known to the public. He also sinned against God when in his moment of pride desired to know the power and the glory he possessed and ordered the census over the entire land of Israel on his own accord, not in accordance with the will of God.

Yet, what was remarkable about David was that although he had sinned against God at times, but he genuinely loved God and His people, and he atoned for his sins many times over, admitting his sinfulness, humbling himself and stripping himself from the trappings of glory to be a penitent on more than one occasion just as recorded in the Book of the prophet Sirach and in the Book of Kings and the Chronicles. He desired to be reconciled with God and remained faithful and true to his dedication to Him to the end of his days.

Meanwhile, we have also heard the good examples of St. John the Baptist, the one whom God had sent into this world to be the one to proclaim the coming of His salvation. St. John the Baptist was the Herald of the Messiah, the one to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord. In today’s reading, we heard how this faithful servant of God was martyred because of his commitment, so much so that he was not afraid to speak out against the king, Herod as well as his unlawfully wedded wife, Herodias, who was still in the eyes of the Law, the lawful wife of Herod’s living brother Philip.

St. John the Baptist spoke out against the king’s immoral action, and this led to Herodias in particular holding a grudge against him, which eventually led to the plot in which Herodias used her own daughter, historically named Salome, to seduce her own stepfather, king Herod, in the middle of the party and then in the end, forced him to order the execution of St. John the Baptist in prison just as we heard in our Gospel passage today. Thus was how the life of this great servant of God ended, he who had gone and stood up against the vices of the Pharisees and the king, all for the truth and the greater glory of God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore now discern carefully the path that we are going to take in life from now on. Are we going to live our lives from now on following the good examples of King David and St. John the Baptist? Or are we still going to continue to disobey the Lord and remain in the state of sin? The choice is ours, and we should make a firm decision to walk down the path of righteousness and faith, rejecting the temptations and the allures of sin, and doing our best to dedicate our lives to God. We may not be perfect, as no one is perfect, but following the examples of our holy predecessors, we can draw ever closer to God.

May the Lord be with us in our journey of faith through life. May He strengthen each and every one of us, and empower us to walk ever more faithfully in His presence, now and always, forevermore. May God bless us all in our every deeds and works, in our every moments. Amen.