Tuesday, 8 March 2022 : 1st Week of Lent, Memorial of St. John of God, Religious (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Matthew 6 : 7-15

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “When you pray, do not use a lot of words, as the pagans do; for they believe that, the more they say, the more chance they have of being heard. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need, even before you ask Him.”

“This, then, is how you should pray : Our Father in heaven, holy be Your Name, Your kingdom, come, Your will, be done on earth, as in heaven. Give us today, our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we forgive those who are in debt to us.”

“Do not bring us to the test, but deliver us from the evil one. If you forgive others their wrongdoings, your Father in heaven will also forgive yours. If you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive you.”

Tuesday, 8 March 2022 : 1st Week of Lent, Memorial of St. John of God, Religious (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 33 : 4-5, 6-7, 16-17, 18-19

Oh, let us magnify YHVH; together, let us glorify His Name! I sought YHVH, and He answered me; from all my fears He delivered me.

They who look to Him are radiant with joy, their faces never clouded with shame. When the poor cry out, YHVH hears and saves them from distress.

The eyes of YHVH are fixed on the righteous; His ears are inclined to their cries. But His face is set against the wicked, to destroy their memory from the earth.

YHVH hears the cry of the righteous and rescues them from all their troubles. YHVH is close to the brokenhearted and saves the distraught.

Tuesday, 8 March 2022 : 1st Week of Lent, Memorial of St. John of God, Religious (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Isaiah 55 : 10-11

As the rain and snow come down from the heavens and do not return till they have watered the earth, making it yield seed for the sower and food for others to eat, so is My Word that goes forth out of My mouth : It will not return to Me idle, but It shall accomplish My will, the purpose for which It has been sent.

Monday, 7 March 2022 : 1st Week of Lent, Memorial of St. Perpetua and St. Felicity, Martyrs (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are called to remember that as Christians, we are all bound by God’s Law and Covenant, through which we are all expected to live in accordance with the path that He has shown to us all, through His Church, His Law and commandments. And everything that we have done, or fail to do, will be judged upon us at the moment of the Last Judgment as we have been reminded of today.

In our first reading today, taken from the Book of Leviticus, we heard of the words that God spoke to His people through Moses, as He instructed them all to be faithful and obedient to Him, to follow His Law and commandments, to be truly devoted to His path and be genuinely faithful in all things and not merely paying lip service to Him. They are all called to be righteous and full of virtues in life, not to be selfish and instead be loving and selfless in all of their ways, caring for others who are in need and be committed to be good brothers and sisters in the same Lord.

The Lord reminded His people not to be oppressive, manipulative and exploitative to others, to enrich and make oneself feel good on the sufferings of others. That was what we mankind have often done, and many of us have acted in ways that strive to preserve our own selfish needs and wants, ignoring the needs of others, and actually abusing the freedom given to us to cause others to suffer for our own benefits. God was saying that if we are all to be His people and His followers, then this cannot be the path that we are walking on, as His disciples, followers and people are those who are just and loving, lacking in hatred, anger and vengeance.

In our Gospel passage today, this sentiment is echoed and emphasised again to us as we heard of the Lord speaking to His disciples and the people gathered to listen to Him, regarding the time of the final or the Last Judgment, when the Lord Himself, as the great Judge of all the living and the dead, from all time and existence, will judge all of them, all by their deeds and merits, by their actions and virtues, as well as by their wickedness and evils, and by their failures to do what is good and virtuous whenever they could have done so.

That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us are called to do what our Lord Himself had taught us to do, to be good Christians in all things, and to do whatever we can to help our fellow brothers and sisters, to be kind and loving to them, showing them compassion and care, attention and the genuine affection that we should show our fellow brethren. The Lord has called on all of us to reach out to others and to show them our love and concern. For it is not only by our wickedness and evil acts that we will be judged against, but also by our failures to do what is right and just, good and worthy for us as Christians.

We are reminded today that just as there are sins of action, there are also sins of omission. These sins are caused by our deliberate and conscious refusal to do what is right, in showing love, compassion and care, or help to others when one is perfectly able to do so. And all these shall be judged against us on the Day of Judgment. To be Christians means that we have to be active in living our lives with faith, and to be dedicated in loving God and in loving our fellow men and women, our brethren, and to do what we can to help one another whenever we can. We cannot be idle in living our lives and faith.

Today, we should also be inspired by St. Perpetua and St. Felicity, whose feasts we are celebrating. Both St. Perpetua and St. Felicity were great and faithful servants of God who according to the Church traditions were catechumens who held onto their faith in God despite the threats and the sufferings that they had to endure for being faithful to God. St. Perpetua was a noblewoman while St. Felicity was a pregnant slave at that time, and both were imprisoned at the order of the Roman Emperor, who endured great physical sufferings before they were eventually martyred for their faith. Through their actions, both saints had shown their great faith in God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, through what we have heard today from the Scriptures and from inspiring lives of St. Perpetua and St. Felicity, all of us are called to be more faithful to God and to dedicate ourselves to Him and to our fellow men. This season of Lent is the perfect time and opportunity for us to do so, as this is the time and moment for us to deepen our relationship with God, to rid ourselves off the excesses of worldly corruptions and the sins that have weighed us down all these while. We are all called to remember the Lord and our faith in Him, to turn back to Him with contrite hearts and sincere desire to be reconciled with Him.

Let us all therefore, through our Lenten observances, continue to draw ever closer to God and His presence. Let us all through our Lenten practices, through our fast and abstinence, resist the temptations of sin and evil, and through our charity and almsgiving, be ever more generous in giving and sharing not only material goods and help to others in need, but even our love, care, time and attention to those who lack them. Let us walk ever more faithfully in the Lord’s presence, now and always, forevermore. Amen.

Monday, 7 March 2022 : 1st Week of Lent, Memorial of St. Perpetua and St. Felicity, Martyrs (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Matthew 25 : 31-46

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory with all His Angels, He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be brought before Him; and, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, so will He do with them, placing the sheep on His right hand and the goats on His left.”

“The King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, blessed of My Father! Take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed Me. I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink. I was a stranger, and you welcomed Me into your home. I was naked, and you clothed Me. I was sick, and you visited Me. I was in prison, and you came to see Me.’”

“Then the righteous will ask Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and give You food; thirsty, and give You something to drink; or a stranger, and welcome You; or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and go to see You?’ The King will answer, ‘Truly I say to you : just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of Mine, you did it to Me.’”

“Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Go, cursed people, out of My sight, into the eternal fire, which has been prepared for the devil and his angels! For I was hungry, and you did not give Me anything to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not welcome Me into your house; I was naked, and you did not clothe Me; I was sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’”

“They, too, will ask, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, thirsty, naked or a stranger, sick or in prison, and did not help You?’ The King will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you : just as you did not do it for one of the least of these, you did not do it for Me.’ And these will go into eternal punishments; but the just, to eternal life.”