Friday, 13 January 2023 : 1st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Hilary, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Mark 2 : 1-12

At that time, after some days, Jesus returned to Capernaum. As the news spread that He was in the house, so many people gathered, that there was no longer room even outside the door. While Jesus was preaching the Word to them, some people brought a paralysed man to Him.

The four men who carried him could not get near Jesus because of the crowd, so they opened the roof above the room where Jesus was and, through the hole, lowered the man on his mat. When Jesus saw the faith of these people, He said to the paralytic, “My son, your sins are forgiven.”

Now some teachers of the Law, who were sitting there, wondered within themselves, “How can He speak like this, insulting God? Who can forgive sins except God?”

At once Jesus knew in His Spirit what they were thinking, and asked, “Why do you wonder? Is it easier to say to this paralysed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Rise, take up your mat and walk?’ But now you shall know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.”

And He said to the paralytic, “Stand up, take up your mat and go home.” The man rose and, in the sight of all those people, he took up his mat and went out. All of them were astonished and praised God, saying, “Never have we seen anything like this!”

Friday, 13 January 2023 : 1st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Hilary, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Psalm 77 : 3 and 4bc, 6c-7, 8

Mysteries which we have heard and known, which our ancestors have told us. We will announce them to the coming generation : the glorious deeds of the Lord, His might and the wonders He has done.

They would teach their own children. They would then put their trust in God, and not forget His deeds and His commands.

And not be like their ancestors, stubborn and rebellious people, a people of inconstant heart whose spirit was fickle.

Friday, 13 January 2023 : 1st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Hilary, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Hebrews 4 : 1-5, 11

Therefore let us fear while we are invited to enter the rest of God, lest any of you be left behind. We received the Gospel exactly as they did, but hearing the message did them no good, because they did not share the faith of those who did listen. We are now to enter this rest because we believed, as it was said : I was angry and made a solemn vow : they will never enter My rest – that is the rest of God after He created the world.

In another part it was said about the seventh day : And God rested on the seventh day from all His works. But now it is said : They will not enter My rest. Let us strive, then, to enter the rest and not to share the misfortune of those who disobeyed.

Thursday, 12 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, we are all reminded that we should obey the Lord and His commandments and Law, and not harden our hearts and minds against Him as many of us and our ancestors and predecessors had done. Many of us and our predecessors had been stubborn in living our lives the way we wanted it, even against the Law and commandments of God, living in the state of sin. And this is where we are reminded and called again to turn towards the Lord full of faith and love for Him, and obedience to His words and will so that each and every one of us may always be firmly attached to His path, and will always grow ever closer to Him as we continue to proceed through life.

In our first reading today, we heard of the words from the Epistle to the Hebrews, in which the author of the Epistle spoke of the actions of the people in the past who were stubborn in their refusal to listen to God, and in challenging and disobeying Him, referring especially to the actions of the Israelites during their journey from the slavery in Egypt at the time of the Exodus. The rebellion and the wickedness that the people had committed against God brought His anger against them, and as a result of those stubborn actions, the people of Israel had to wander off in the desert for a whole period of forty years, as the just and righteous consequence of their many sins and their refusal to listen and obey the Lord despite many reminders and help from the Lord, and despite everything that God had done in delivering them out of their predicament and enslavement in Egypt.

Through all of that, the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews who wrote his Epistle directed to the Jewish people, the descendants of the Israelites and the people to which the Lord Jesus and many of His early disciples belonged to, wanted them all to take heed of the actions of their ancestors and predecessors who have constantly refused to believe in God. And this can be compared to the then contemporary actions of the Pharisees, the teachers of the Law, the elders and those who belonged to the group of the Sadducees, many of the chief priests and members of the Sanhedrin, or the Jewish High Council, many of whom were opposed to the Lord and His teachings and works. The hard-hearted and stubborn attitudes of those people could indeed be compared to the stubbornness of the Israelites of the time of the Exodus.

Hence, that is why all of us are also reminded by the same author of the Epistle to the Hebrews that we must not harden our hearts and minds against the Lord, and not to indulge ourselves in the path of sin and rebellion against Him. All of us should learn to listen to the Lord and not to do things the way we wanted it, just as our Gospel passage today also highlighted to us. In that passage, we heard of the Lord healing a leper who came to Him begging Him to heal him from his leprosy, from his shame and predicament. The Lord healed the leper and made him healthy again, while telling him that he should not speak of anything regarding his healing and all that happened to anyone, but just showing himself to the priests in accordance to the Law of God.

The man did not listen to the Lord and spoke to everyone regarding what had happened to him, and this caused a very great problem for the Lord, Who then had to hide away and stay out of the towns. And why is that the case, brothers and sisters? That is because likely the Lord healed the leper by touching him, and this was something that the Law of God forbade, as lepers were considered as unclean and should not be approached, less still touched and contacted. The Lord has willingly reached out to the man and acceded to his requests to be healed and made whole again, and had his stain of leprosy removed from him. Yet, the man could not do what the Lord had asked of him, and chose to do what he wanted to do instead of what the Lord had asked and told him to do, with a negative consequence as we have heard.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all hence reflect on these words of the Scriptures and all that we have heard and discussed. Let us all reflect upon our own lives and actions, and think of how each and every one of us can be better disciples and followers of the Lord. Unfortunately, many of us have often chosen to obey the words of the devil, the tempting words and lies of the devil instead of listening to the truth, the will and the Law of God, and we often succumb to the temptations of our flesh, of the world, and chose to turn away from the Lord, shutting ourselves from His words and reminders just as those people in the past had done. We all have heard and were reminded of the consequences of their disobedience, and such consequences will be ours as well if we continue down this path of disobedience.

Hence, let us all change our way of life, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we continue carrying on living our lives each day. Let us all return wholeheartedly to the path that the Lord has shown us, and strive to love Him to the best of our abilities. Let us all do whatever we can to glorify the Lord through our every actions and deeds, in our every words and interactions. Let us all turn once again towards God with love and obedience, as well as with the desire to follow Him and to obey His Law and commandments once again. Each and every one of us as Christians are called and expected to do whatever we can to proclaim the Lord and His truth, His love and will in our world today, and the best way to do so is by living our lives in the most Christian and obedient ways, as much as possible.

May the Lord continue to guide us and strengthen us, and may He empower each and every one of us to live ever more worthily each day, following His Law and commandments. May He strengthen and encourage us in our faith, and help us to grow ever stronger in our love and devotion for Him, and may God bless all of us in our every efforts and endeavours, in our every good works and deeds, now and always. Amen.