Sunday, 22 January 2023 : Third Sunday of Ordinary Time, Sunday of the Word of God, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 4 : 12-23

When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, He withdrew into Galilee. He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum, a town by the lake of Galilee, at the border of Zebulun and Naphtali.

In this way the word of the prophet Isaiah was fulfilled : Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, crossed by the Road of the Sea, and you who live beyond the Jordan, Galilee, land of pagans : The people who lived in darkness have seen a great Light; on those who live in the land of the shadow of death, a Light has shone.

From that time on, Jesus began to proclaim His message, “Change your ways : the kingdom of heaven is near.” As Jesus walked by the lake of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. He said to them, “Come, follow Me, and I will make you fish for people.”

At once they left their nets and followed Him. He went on from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John in a boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. Jesus called them. At once they left the boat and their father and followed Him.

Jesus went around all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom, and curing all kinds of sickness and disease among the people.

Alternative reading (shorter version)

Matthew 4 : 12-17

When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, He withdrew into Galilee. He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum, a town by the lake of Galilee, at the border of Zebulun and Naphtali.

In this way the word of the prophet Isaiah was fulfilled : Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, crossed by the Road of the Sea, and you who live beyond the Jordan, Galilee, land of pagans : The people who lived in darkness have seen a great Light; on those who live in the land of the shadow of death, a Light has shone.

From that time on, Jesus began to proclaim His message, “Change your ways : the kingdom of heaven is near.”

Sunday, 22 January 2023 : Third Sunday of Ordinary Time, Sunday of the Word of God, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Corinthians 1 : 10-13, 17

I beg of you, brothers, in the Name of Christ Jesus, our Lord, to agree among yourselves and do away with divisions; please be perfectly united, with one mind and one judgment.

For I heard from people of Cloe’s house about your rivalries. What I mean is this : “I am for Paul,” and others, “I am for Apollo,” or “I am for Peter,” or “I am for Christ.” Is Christ divided or have I, Paul, been crucified for you? Have you been baptised in the name of Paul?

For Christ did not send me to baptise, but to proclaim His Gospel. And not with beautiful words! That would be like getting rid of the cross of Christ.

Sunday, 22 January 2023 : Third Sunday of Ordinary Time, Sunday of the Word of God, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 26 : 1, 4, 13-14

The Lord is my Light and my Salvation – Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the Rampart of my life; I will not be afraid.

One thing I ask of the Lord, one thing I seek – that I may dwell in His house all the days of my life, to gaze at His jewel and to visit His sanctuary.

I hope, I am sure, that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Trust in the Lord, be strong and courageous. Yes, put your hope in the Lord!

Sunday, 22 January 2023 : Third Sunday of Ordinary Time, Sunday of the Word of God, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Isaiah 8 : 23b – Isaiah 9 : 3

YHVH has just afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali; but in the future He will confer glory on the way of the sea, on the land beyond the Jordan – the pagan’s Galilee.

The people who walk in darkness have seen a great light. A light has dawned on those who live in the land of the shadow of death. You have enlarged the nation; You have increased their joy. They rejoice before You, as people rejoice at harvest time as they rejoice in dividing the spoil.

For the yoke of their burden, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressors, You have broken it as on the day of Midian.

(Usus Antiquior) Third Sunday after Epiphany (II Classis) – Sunday, 22 January 2023 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Communion and Post-Communion Prayer

Liturgical Colour : Green

Offertory

Dextera Domini fecit virtutem, dextera Domini exaltavit me : non moriar, sed vivam, et narrabo opera Domini.

English translation

The right hand of the Lord had wrought strength, the right hand of the Lord had exalted me. I shall not die, but live, and shall declare the works of the Lord.

Secret Prayer of the Priest

Haec hostia, Domine, quaesumus, emundet nostra delicta : et, ad sacrificium celebrandum, subditorum Tibi corpora mentesque sanctificet. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

May this offering, we beseech You, o Lord, wipe out our sins, and sanctify the bodies and minds of Your servants for the celebration of the sacrifice. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

Communion

Luke 4 : 22

Mirabantur omnes de his, quae procedebant de ore Dei.

English translation

They all wondered at these things, which proceeded from the mouth of God.

Post-Communion Prayer

Quos tantis, Domine, largiris uti mysteriis : quaesumus; ut effectibus nos eorum veraciter aptare digneris. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

O Lord, Who had given freely the enjoyment of so great mysteries, we beseech You that You would vouchsafe to render us truly worthy to receive their effects. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

(Usus Antiquior) Third Sunday after Epiphany (II Classis) – Sunday, 22 January 2023 : Holy Gospel

Liturgical Colour : Green

Sequentia Sancti Evangelii secundum Matthaeum – Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew

Matthew 8 : 1-13

In illo tempore : Cum descendisset Jesus de monte, secutae sunt eum turbae multae : et ecce, leprosus veniens adorabat eum, dicens : Domine, si vis, potes me mundare. Et extendens Jesus manum, tetigit eum, dicens : Volo. Mundare.

Et confestim mundata est lepra ejus. Et ait illi Jesus : Vide, nemini dixeris : sed vade, ostende te sacerdoti, et offer munus, quod praecepit Moyses, in testimonium illis.

Cum autem introisset Capharnaum, accessit ad eum centurio, rogans eum et dicens : Domine, puer meus jacet in domo paralyticus, et male torquetur. Et ait illi Jesus : Ego veniam, et curabo eum.

Et respondens centurio, ait : Domine, non sum dignus, ut intres sub tectum Meum : sed tantum dic verbo, et sanabitur puer Meus. Nam et ego homo sum sub potestate constituitus, habens sub me milites, et dico huic : Vade, et vadit; et alii : Veni, et venit; et servo meo : Fac hoc, et facit.

Audiens autem Jesus, miratus est, et sequentibus se dixit : Amen, dico vobis, non inveni tantam fidem in Israel. Dico autem vobis, quod multi ab Oriente et Occidente venient, et recumbent cum Abraham et Isaac et Jacob in regno caelorum : filii autem regni ejicientur in tenebras exteriores : ibi erit fletus et stridor dentium.

Et dixit Jesus centurioni : Vade et, sicut credidisti, fiat tibi. Et sanatus est puer in illa hora.

English translation

At that time, when Jesus has come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him; and behold a leper came and adored Him, saying, “Lord, if You will, You can make me clean.” And Jesus stretching forth His hand, touched him, saying, “I will, may you be clean.”

And forthwith his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus said to him, “See that you do not tell this to any man, but go and show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift which Moses commanded for a testimony unto them.”

And when He had entered into Capernaum, there came to Him a centurion beseeching Him, and saying, “Lord, my servant lie at home sick of the palsy, and is grievously tormented.” And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.”

And the centurion making answer, said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant shall be healed. For I also am a man subject to authority, having under me soldiers, and I say to this man, ‘Go’, and he goes, and to another, ‘Come’, and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this’ and he does it.”

And Jesus hearing this, marvelled, and said to those who followed Him, “Amen I say to you, I have not found so great a faith in Israel. And I say to you, that many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, but the children of the kingdom shall be cast into the exterior darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

And Jesus said to the centurion, “Go, and as you have believed, so be it done to you.” And the servant was healed at the same hour.

(Usus Antiquior) Third Sunday after Epiphany (II Classis) – Sunday, 22 January 2023 : Gradual and Alleluia

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 101 : 16-17 and Psalm 96 : 1

Timebunt gentes Nomen Tuum, Domine, et omnes reges terrae gloriam Tuam.

Response : Quoniam aedificavit Dominus Sion, et videbitur in majestate Sua.

Alleluja, Alleluja.

Response : Dominus regnavit, exsultet terra : laetentur insulae multae. Alleluja.

English translation

The Gentiles shall fear Your Name, o Lord, and all the kings of the earth Your glory.

Response : For the Lord had built up Zion, and He shall be seen in His majesty.

Alleluia, Alleluia.

Response : The Lord had reigned, let the earth rejoice. Let many islands be glad. Alleluia.

(Usus Antiquior) Third Sunday after Epiphany (II Classis) – Sunday, 22 January 2023 : Epistle

Liturgical Colour : Green

Lectio Epistolae Beati Pauli Apostoli ad Romanos – Lesson from the Epistle of Blessed Paul the Apostle to the Romans

Romans 12 : 16-21

Fratres : Nolite esse prudentes apud vosmetipsos : nulli malum pro malo reddentes : providentes bona non tantum coram Deo, sed etiam coram omnibus hominibus.

Si fieri potest, quod ex vobis est, cum omnibus hominibus pacem habentes : Non vosmetipsos defendentes, carissimi, sed date locum irae. Scriptum est enim : Mihi vindicta : Ego retribuam, dicit Dominus.

Sed si esurierit inimicus Tuus, ciba illum : si sitit, potum da illi : hoc enim faciens, carbones ignis congeres super caput Ejus. Noli vinci a malo, sed vince in bono malum.

English translation

Brethren, do not be wise in your own conceits. To no man rendering evil for evil, providing good things not only in the sight of God, but also in the sight of men.

If it be possible, as much as it is in you, having peace with all men. Revenge not yourselves, my dearly beloved, but give place unto wrath, for it is written, ‘Revenge is mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.

But if your enemy is hungry, give him something to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him something to drink, for in doing this, you shall heap coals of fire upon his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil by good.

(Usus Antiquior) Third Sunday after Epiphany (II Classis) – Sunday, 22 January 2023 : Introit and Collect

Liturgical Colour : Green

Introit

Psalm 96 : 7-8 and 1

Adorate Deum, omnes Angeli Ejus : audivit, et laetata est Sion : et exsultaverunt filiae Judae.

Dominus regnavit, exsultet terra : laetentur insulae multae.

Response : Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto, sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper : et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

Adore God, all you His Angels. Zion heard, and was glad, and the daughters of Judah rejoiced.

The Lord had reigned, let the earth rejoice, let many islands be glad.

Response : Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Collect

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, infirmitatem nostram propitius respice : atque, ad protegendum nos, dexteram Tuae majestatis extende. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

Almighty, Eternal God, look with mercy upon our infirmities, and stretch forth the right hand of Your majesty to protect us. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

Saturday, 21 January 2023 : 2nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Agnes, Virgin and Martyr, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are all called to continue to persevere in faith and to follow the Lord despite the challenges and trials that we may face in life. We must not be swayed easily by the temptations and pressures to do otherwise, and we should never let our trust and faith in God to go away. For the Lord Himself is our only Hope, the Light of our salvation, and the one and true Eternal High Priest Who has given Himself so wholly and completely for the sake of each and every one of us, without exception. We must also be inspired by the examples of the saints and martyrs who have dedicated themselves to the Lord and resisting all sorts of pressures and coercions to betray and abandon their Lord and God.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Epistle to the Hebrews in which the author of this Epistle highlighted as he had done in our past few days’ worth of readings, about the role that Jesus Christ had taken in being our High Priest, offering on our behalf a most worthy offering before the Lord, for the atonement of our innumerable sins. The author highlighted how the priests and high priests in the past would come to the presence of God, also touching on the layout of the Temple of Jerusalem, the House of God, where the Holy Presence of God resides, behind the Holy Place and separated by a veil, which was also known as the Holy of Holies. That place indicated the holiest place in the world, where God Himself dwelled in, in the midst of His people, being present among them and being with them.

The place was so holy and sacred that no one except the High Priest could enter, and even for his case, he could only enter it at a particular very solemn occasion each year, representing the people of God, seeking God’s mercy and forgiveness for their many sins. The High Priest was therefore the link between God and His people, and Christ is the One and true Eternal High Priest that far surpasses all the mortal High Priests appointed to lead the people of God in the past. For Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour, and Our High Priest has offered not the limited and imperfect offering of the blood of lambs and bulls, animals and other worldly sacrifices as the High Priests and other priests of the past had done. He has offered nothing less than His own life, His own Most Precious Body and Blood.

Yes, brothers and sisters, Christ our Lord has offered Himself to be the perfect and most worthy sacrifice, baring Himself on the Altar of the Cross, at Calvary, that as He was lifted up for everyone to see and witness, between the Heaven and the Earth, He was raised up on the Altar like a lamb being slaughtered and placed above the Altar of sacrifice, an offering for the sins of mankind. He broke His Body and poured out His Blood on the Altar of His Cross, much like the blood of the sacrificial lamb being poured down the Altar and sprinkled on the people of God as a sign of their atonement and reconciliation with God. However, what is truly different is that, unlike the offering of animals and their blood, which could only provide a temporary respite from our sins, the Lord’s sacrifice on the Cross is a complete, permanent and eternal in nature, giving us absolution from our sins forever.

It means that once and for all, by His most loving sacrifice on His Cross, Jesus Christ our Lord has saved us all through that supreme act of selflessness and love. He has given us all the sure path out of the darkness that had surrounded and reigned over us because of our sins. Hence, by all of these and most importantly because God loved us all, we have received grace and salvation, and as His people, we have to realise this love and understand, appreciate and be thankful for everything that God had done from us. As we heard in our Gospel passage today, for doing everything that He had done for us out of love, He had to face a lot of challenges, trials and difficulties, rejections and even, His own family and relatives were fed up with Him, and thought that He was out of His mind. He made Himself like an outcast, despised and hated for our sake.

All of us as Christians should devote our time and effort to serve the Lord wholeheartedly, and commit ourselves thoroughly to His cause. We should dedicate ourselves to work for the glory of God and for the proclamation of His truth in our world, just as what the saints and martyrs had done. And today we can refer to the good examples set by St. Agnes, a great and renowned martyr of the Church, whose dedication to God and commitment to purity and righteousness can inspire us that we may live a better and more Christian lives in our existence in this world. St. Agnes, also known as St. Agnes of Rome was a young Roman noblewoman who lived and suffered, died during the terrible years of the Diocletianic Persecution, also known as the Great Persecution for its particularly intense episode of persecutions against Christians.

St. Agnes was a faithful young woman who had dedicated herself thoroughly to God, committing herself to a holy virginity and dedication to God. However, her great beauty attracted many suitors, who were enraged by her refusal to engage them. Hence, St. Agnes was arrested upon the reports from those men who sought after her, accusing her because of her Christian faith. The Roman prefect, named Sempronius, attempted to get her to be defiled in a brothel, but miraculously St. Agnes was protected by God, and everyone who attempted to defile and rape her were struck blind or were prevented from doing so. And when she was put on the stake to be burnt to death, again even the fires and the heat refused to harm her, and they parted from her. In the end, she was martyred by being stabbed and beheaded. Yet, her inspiration and faith in God lived on, and many were touched by her faith, courage and examples.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore follow in the footsteps of St. Agnes, in her dedication to God and in her love for Him, which we should apply in our own lives. Let us all be thankful and appreciative of all that the Lord had done for us, in offering Himself as the perfect and worthy sacrifice for our salvation. May the Lord continue to guide and strengthen each one of us so that we may draw ever closer to Him and His Presence, and may we all be found worthy to receive the fullness of His grace and love, in time to come. Amen.