Thursday, 12 January 2023 : 1st Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 1 : 40-45

At that time, a leper came to Jesus and begged Him, “If You want to, You can make me clean.” Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I do want to; be clean.”

The leprosy left the man at once and he was made clean. As Jesus sent the man away, He sternly warned him, “Do not tell anyone about this, but go and show yourself to the priest, and for the cleansing bring the offering ordered by Moses; in this way you will give to them your testimony.”

However, as soon as the man went out, he began spreading the news everywhere, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter any town. But even though He stayed in the rural areas, people came to Him from everywhere.

Thursday, 12 January 2023 : 1st Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 94 : 6-7, 8-9, 10-11

Come and worship; let us bow down, kneel before the Lord, our Maker. He is our God, and we His people; the flock He leads and pastures. Would that today you heard His voice!

Do not be stubborn, as at Meribah, in the desert, on that day at Massah, when your ancestors challenged Me, and they put Me to the test.

For forty years they wearied Me and I said, “They are a people of inconsistent heart; they have not known My ways.” So I declared an oath in My anger, “Never shall they enter My rest.”

Thursday, 12 January 2023 : 1st Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Hebrews 3 : 7-14

Listen to what the Holy Spirit says : If only you would hear God’s voice today! Do not be stubborn, as they were in the place called Rebellion, when your ancestors challenged Me in the desert, although they had seen My deeds for forty years. That is why I was angry with those people and said : Their hearts are always going astray and they do not understand My ways. I was angry and made a solemn vow : They will never enter My rest.

So, brothers, be careful lest some of you come to have an evil and unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. Encourage one another, day by day, as long as it is called today. Let no one become hardened in the deceitful way of sin. We are associated with Christ provided we hold steadfastly to our initial hope until the end.

Wednesday, 11 January 2023 : 1st 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, each and every one of us as Christians are reminded yet again of the salvation and healing, redemption and reconciliation that all of us have received through Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour. All of us have received the assurance of eternal life and glory from the Lord, Who has sent us His Son to be our Saviour, delivering us from the precipice of destruction and annihilation. Because of Him, we now have hope once again, delivered from the path to eternal darkness, freed from the bondage to sin, evil and death. Christ’s light has triumphed and overcome the whole world, and overcome the dominion of the evil one, and all those who had kept us under the tyranny of sin and death.

In our first reading today, taken from the Epistle to the Hebrews, we heard the author of the Epistle regarding how all of us have shared in the same nature as Our Lord Jesus, all thanks to Him, Who is the Son of God, willingly taking up our human nature and existence, becoming Incarnate in the flesh as the Son of Man, coming down into our midst to gather us all into His loving embrace as our Good Shepherd, and reconcile us with His loving Father, our Master and Creator. Through Christ, all of us have received the assurance of eternal life by His suffering and death on the Cross, as well as by His glorious Resurrection, through which Christ has united us all to Himself and made us all to pass through into the new life and blessed existence, that is no longer of sin, but of the light of His grace.

How did Christ do this to us? He did so by sharing in our humanity, by becoming Man like us, so that He can be the New Adam, leading us all towards God through His obedience and love for God, and breaking us free from the bondage of sin because of the disobedience of the first Adam, and Eve, our first ancestors, through which we have entered into the state of sin and separated from God in the first place. He led us all as our High Priest and as the perfect role model for us to follow, so that by His offering of Himself, His own Most Precious Body and Blood on the Cross, by His suffering and death, all of us may receive the pardon and absolution from all of the unimaginable extent of our innumerable sins and faults, and be reconciled fully with the Lord, our most loving Father and Creator.

That is what the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews had mentioned to the faithful, reminding them all that the Messiah, Jesus Christ, Who has come into the world, has brought into our midst the love of God, the compassionate mercy of the Father manifested in the flesh, becoming tangible and approachable by all of us. The Lord has revealed His most gracious love and kindness, just as we have also heard in our Gospel passage today, where we heard of the Lord Jesus and His ministry among the people of God, healing those who were sick and dying, and also those who were possessed and were troubled by evil spirits, healing the mother-in-law of His disciple and Apostle, St. Peter, among many other deeds that He had done. He went out still, to reach out to more of the people of God, in fulfilling the missions entrusted to Him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we heard these readings from the Scriptures today, all of us are reminded that first of all, our lives as Christians ought to be focused and centred on our Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour and King, Who has come into our midst to deliver us from the sure destruction because of those sins and faults that we have committed. All of us have received the promise of salvation and eternal life from the Lord Himself, Who has reached out to us with His great and most gracious love, caring for us and gathering us all from being scattered all throughout the world, so that we may all be one people, of the one flock that He has assembled, His Church, the Body of Christ. By uniting all of us to Himself, He, as the Head of the Church, has made us all partakers and sharers of the eternal glory and joy that is promised for all those who are faithful to Him and all who belong to Him.

Through Him, all of us have received the healing and encouragement, strength and the power of God’s most gracious love and kindness, which we have now experienced and enjoyed. Now, all of us therefore are called as Christians to be ever more faithful to God and to obey His commandments and Law in the way that Christ, the Son of Man, the New Adam, our role model, has shown us. Each one of us have been called during this period and time to continue doing whatever we can in fulfilling our roles and obligations as those who follow the Lord, in doing what we can to proclaim God’s truth and love in the midst of our communities, among all the peoples, that more and more may also come to believe in God through us. This is our calling and responsibility as Christians, and one that we should embrace wholeheartedly.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we enter and progress through this first part of the Ordinary Time of the year, before we head into the season of Lent in over a month or so, let us all make good use of this time and opportunity that God has given us to do whatever we can in glorifying Him and in following Him wholeheartedly, so that this season and time will not be ‘ordinary’ in any sense. Instead, we have to make it truly ‘extraordinary’ by doing all that we can to glorify the Lord by our lives, our every actions, words and deeds. We should make sure that our examples may inspire others all around us to follow the Lord and to believe in Him as well, just in the manner that the Lord Himself and His saints have inspired us all to follow them in the path of righteousness and truth.

May the Lord be with us always, and may He strengthen each one of us in faith. May He empower all of us that we may always walk ever more confidently in the path that He has shown us and led us. May God bless our every works and deeds, all the endeavours and actions that we carry out in each and every moments of our lives. Wishing all of us a most blessed and fruitful Ordinary Time and season, each and every days of our lives, always. Amen.