Thursday, 17 February 2022 : 6th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints)

James 2 : 1-9

My brothers and sisters, if you truly believe in our glorified Lord, Jesus Christ, you will not discriminate between persons. Suppose a person enters the synagogue where you are assembled, dressed magnificently and wearing a gold ring; at the same time, a poor person enters dressed in rags. If you focus your attention on the well-dressed and say, “Come and sit in the best seat,” while, to the poor one you say, “Stay standing, or else sit down at my feet,” have you not, in fact, made a distinction between the two? Have you not judged, using a double standard?

Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters, did God not choose the poor of this world to receive the riches of faith, and to inherit the kingdom, which He has promised to those who love Him? Yet, you despise them! Is it not the rich who are against you, and drag you to court? Do they not insult the Holy Name of Christ by which you are called?

If you keep the Law of the kingdom, according to Scripture : Love your neighbour as yourself, you do well; but if you make distinctions between persons, you break the Law, and are condemned by the same Law.

Wednesday, 16 February 2022 : 6th 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 Scriptures, we are reminded as Christians to be righteous and to follow the Lord in the path that He has set before us, in the way that He has shown us through His Church and through His many servants and messengers in our midst. The Lord has taught us how to live our lives faithfully as Christians and as His followers we are all expected to be genuine in our faith and not be lukewarm or only following our faith with formality.

In our first reading today we heard from the Epistle of St. James, the continuation of the Apostle’s discourse on the need for the faithful people of God to do as God has told us all to do. They had to be active in their faith and devote themselves to the Lord in all of their actions and deeds, or otherwise their faith would have been an empty and meaningless one, no better than that of hypocrites and unbelievers. St. James was well known for his advocacy of faith that is substantiated with actions, as in his own words in the other part of this same Epistle, he himself said that ‘faith without good works is dead’.

That is why St. James urged the faithful to reject the path of sin, to be vigilant and careful lest they might be tempted to sin. He reminded all of us, God’s faithful ones that we must resist the temptations of anger, of jealousy, of pride and other negative things and emotions we may often encounter in life so that we do not end up falling deeper and deeper into the path of sin and evil. All of us are reminded to keep ourselves free from the corruptions of this world, in whatever forms that these may come to us, so that we may always be great role models and inspirations for one another in faith.

In our Gospel reading today, we then heard of the Lord healing a blind man, who was not able to see at all. The blind man was touched by the Lord and he believed in Him, and soon his vision returned to him, and he could see once again. He was healed from his blindness and the Lord told him to return to his place while at the same telling him not to inform anyone about what had happened to him, likely to avoid undue attention and further efforts by the Pharisees to undermine His works, as they had often been agitated and angry over the Lord and His miracles.

Then, what is truly important for us? It is that we must realise how God has always attempted to reach out to us, and how in Him lies our hope and our salvation. And we are all like the blind man who was in need of healing, to be made whole once again. We may be physically healthy and all, but in truth, all of us are suffering from this sickness that is sin, without exception. Sinners as we are, regardless whether our sins be great or small, serious or trivial, we are suffering this malady which is corrupting us and our souls, and which God alone can heal.

The Lord has made Himself freely available to us, and what we all need is for us to be humble and accept His forgiveness and mercy, allowing ourselves to be healed and made whole again. Yet, it was often our stubbornness, pride and ego which prevented this from happening, just as how many among the Pharisees, the teachers of the Law and the chief priests often refused to listen to the Lord and also refused to believe in Him, doubting Him and making His works and efforts difficult because they all saw Him as threats to their power and influence, despite all the signs they themselves had seen pointing towards the Lord as the One Whom God had promised and sent to us to be our Saviour.

That was why many of them remained in darkness, and as the Lord Himself said in another occasion in the Gospels, that although their visions might be physically fine, but sin has blinded them to the truth, and their refusal to admit this leads to them continuing to live in the darkness of ignorance and sin. Their self-righteous attitude and their pride, their greed for power and worldly fame became their undoing. And this ought to be a reminder for each one of us not to easily allow those things to distract us from the Lord, His truth and His love.

That is why at each and every moments of our lives, we have to strive to do our best in all things to obey the will of God, following His Law and commandments. We have to be role models and examples for each other in how we live our lives so that all who see us and witness our works will come to believe in the Lord through us. May the Lord continue to provide for us and help us find our path in life that we may draw ever closer to Him in each and every moments from now on while being good role models for one another. Amen.