Saturday, 26 February 2022 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

James 5 : 13-20

Are any among you, discouraged? They should pray. Are any of you happy? They should sing songs to God. If anyone is sick, let him call on the elders of the Church. They shall pray for him, anointing him with oil in the Name of the Lord. The prayer said in faith will save the sick person; the Lord will raise him up and if he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven.

There will be healing, if you confess your sins to one another, and pray for each other. The prayer of the upright man has great power, provided he perseveres. Elijah was a human being, like ourselves, and when he prayed, earnestly, for it not to rain, no rain fell for three and a half years. Then he prayed again : the sky yielded rain and the earth produced its fruit.

Brothers, if any one of you strays far away from the truth, and another person brings him back to it, be sure of this : he who brings back a sinner from the wrong way, will save his soul from death and win forgiveness for many sins.

Friday, 25 February 2022 : 7th 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 all reminded yet again as we have been for the past few days by the Apostle St. James to be righteous and good in our way of life, so that by the path that God has shown us we may always remain true in our path and do not end up falling deeper and deeper into sin. This is important because it is very easy to us to succumb to the temptations of worldly desires and the many other temptations and pressures that can lead us down the wrong path in life.

In our first reading today, we heard from St. James the Apostle again reminding all of us the faithful to be patient and faithful, to be dedicated and to be true to the Lord in our faith and devotion to Him, as how St. James mentioned the patriarch Job, one of the well-known figures of the Old Testament. Job was faithful and obedient to God, and even when later on he was tested by Satan who wanted to see if Job would remain faithful after he took away everything that he loved and held precious, Job remained faithful to the end, and did not forsake the Lord or abandoned Him for the pursuit of worldly satisfaction and pleasures.

Job humbled himself before the Lord and he accepted all of his sufferings and afflictions as his own, not blaming God or others for them. He humbly submitted to the Lord and although he did anguish and agonise over the sufferings, but he remained faithful, and grew to love the Lord all the more, and coming to know what God had truly intended, Job eventually was blessed so much more than what he had lost earlier on, and the Lord blessed him for the remainders of his days, and he became a great inspiration and example of faith for the later generations.

In our Gospel passage today, the Lord spoke to us all through His disciples regarding the question that the Pharisees posted to Him regarding the matter of marriage and divorce. In the Law of Moses, according to the interpretation of the Mosaic Law and the Jewish traditions upheld by the Pharisees and the elders, divorcing someone’s spouse was allowed under the Law. This was allowed as long as a certain procedure was followed and a letter of dismissal was made, which in practice made it relatively easy for one to get a divorce and then later on remarry again as they wished.

However, the Lord reminded His people and therefore all of us that this is not what the Lord intended for us. In the matter of marriage, the Lord had decreed from the very beginning that such a union is a union blessed by God and made firm by Him, and hence, they must not be separated. The Church has upheld this sanctity of marriage as it became one of the seven Sacraments, the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. Marriage is not just merely a process or a transaction, but rather a Covenant between a man and a woman, united and blessed by God.

This is again a reminder from the Lord and His Apostles for us that each and every one of us ought to be truly faithful to the Lord. We should not allow our desires and all the temptations of the world to distract us and mislead us down the wrong path. For among the many of the reasons why a person would end up divorcing his or her spouse were the desires they had for worldly pleasures and satisfaction, and the inability of the couple to obtain this within their respective marriages, and hence, adultery and adulterous behaviours became commonplace.

All these were due to the lack of genuine and strong faith in the Lord. This lack of faith, the lukewarmness of many Christians ended up leading many down the path of temptation and eventually destruction. If only many more of them followed the examples of Job, his perseverance and faith in the Lord, there would have been so much lesser wicked deeds by mankind, and many more people would not have committed sins against God. The Lord wants us to be reconciled with Him, and has always patiently sought us out, only for many of us to reject Him or ignore Him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore spend our time today and henceforth to reflect on our relationship with God and our actions in life thus far. Are we able and willing to dedicate ourselves more and more to the Lord? Are we willing to lead a more blessed and holy life, one that is deeply attuned to the Lord, obeying His will, His Law and commandments? Are we able to be good role models and inspirations to one another in life? Let us discern all these and think in what way we can be ever better disciples of the Lord from now on. May God bless us always, now and forevermore. Amen.