Friday, 27 January 2023 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Angela Merici, Virgin (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Holy Virgins)

Mark 4 : 26-34

At that time, Jesus also said, “In the kingdom of God it is like this : a man scatters seed upon the soil. Whether he is asleep or awake, be it day or night, the seed sprouts and grows, he knows not how. The soil produces of itself : first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when it is ripe for harvesting, they take the sickle for the cutting : the time for the harvest has come.”

Jesus also said, “What is the kingdom of God like? To what shall we compare it? It is like a mustard seed which, when sown, is the smallest of all the seeds scattered upon the soil. But once sown, it grows up and becomes the largest of the plants in the garden, and even grows branches so big, that the birds of the air can take shelter in its shade.”

Jesus used many such stories, in order to proclaim the word to them in a way that they would be able to understand. He would not teach them without parables; but privately to His disciples He explained everything.

Friday, 27 January 2023 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Angela Merici, Virgin (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Holy Virgins)

Psalm 36 : 3-4, 5-6, 23-24, 39-40

Trust in the Lord and do good, dwell in the land and live on it. Make the Lord your delight, and He will grant your heart’s desire.

Commit your way to the Lord; put your trust in Him and let Him act. Then will Your revenge come, beautiful as the dawn, and the justification of your cause, bright as the noonday sun.

The Lord is the One Who makes people stand, He gives firmness to those He likes. They may stumble, but they will not fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.

The Lord is the Salvation of the righteous; in time of distress, He is their refuge. The Lord helps them, and rescues them from the oppressor; He saves them for they sought shelter in Him.

Friday, 27 January 2023 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Angela Merici, Virgin (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Holy Virgins)

Hebrews 10 : 32-39

Remember the first days when you were enlightened. You had to undergo a hard struggle in the face of suffering. Publicly you were exposed to humiliations and trials, and had to share the sufferings of others who were similarly treated.

You showed solidarity with those in prison; you were dispossessed of your goods and accepted it gladly for you knew you were acquiring a much better and more durable possession. Do not now throw away your confidence that will be handsomely rewarded.

Be patient in doing the will of God, and the promise will be yours : A little, a little longer – says Scripture – and He Who is coming will come; He will not delay. My righteous one will live if he believes: but if he distrusts, I will no longer look kindly on him. We are not among those who withdraw and perish, but among those who believe and win personal salvation.

Thursday, 26 January 2023 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Timothy and St. Titus, Bishops (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today the Church celebrates the Feast of two of the earliest bishops and leaders of the Church, as the successors of the Apostles and in this case, as the protege of St. Paul the Apostle. St. Timothy and St. Titus were two of the Lord’s disciples who collaborated closely with St. Paul during his missionary works and journeys, and they were addressed by St. Paul each with an Epistle, as he wrote to both of them exhorting them to remain faithful to God and to do the will and the works of God to the best of their ability. St. Paul reminded them all of the role of the oversees or elders, also later known as bishops in the community of the people of God, as the exemplary role model that become the foundation and pillars of the Church and the Christian community.

According to tradition, St. Timothy was born in Lycaonia in Asia Minor, to a mixed parentage of a Greek father and a Jewish Christian convert mother. He likely had become a Christian believer as well and met St. Paul during his second missionary journey throughout the Mediterranean region. He was a respected member of the local Christian community, and his maternal family was also noted for their faith, with his maternal grandmother and mother were also noted for their piety and faith. St. Timothy dedicated his life henceforth as a great shepherd for the flock entrusted to him, as St. Paul placed him in Ephesus to care for the faithful there, and for many years, he accompanied St. Paul and then, afterwards, served the Church faithfully for many decades. In the end, it was told that when he was already eighty years old, he tried to stop a procession of pagan idols all around the city. He was arrested, harassed and finally stoned to death, dying as a martyr.

Meanwhile, St. Titus was a Greek who became a follower of St. Paul and was likely converted by the latter, as he accompanied St. Paul during his missions as a companion and interpreter. St. Titus went with St. Paul to many places including Jerusalem, Ephesus, Corinth, Macedonia and more places, gaining more experiences and wisdom along the journey. St. Titus was then left at Crete and entrusted by St. Paul to be the bishop and overseer of all the faithful in that island, because St. Paul held St. Titus in high esteem, entrusting him with the important mission of caring for the needs of the faithful in Crete, who back then had no shepherd to look after them. St. Titus henceforth became that leader and guide of many among the faithful people of God, and while the latter details about him are more scant than that of St. Timothy, it was likely that St. Titus also died in martyrdom as well.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we all heard from the Scriptures and the lives of these two glorious saints of God, St. Timothy and St. Titus, each one of us are reminded to be more like them in our own faith and way of life. We should do our best in order to live our lives in a more Christian way, following the examples of the Apostles and the saints, as the dedication showed by St. Timothy and St. Titus in their respective lives should have shown us. Their commitment to God, their zeal in serving the faithful entrusted to them as their bishops, the time and effort that they must have given to glorify the Lord and to help His people are truly what we should be doing in our own lives as well. St. Timothy and St. Titus showed us all as Christians that we cannot be idle in our lives and that our actions and way of life should be exemplary and worthy as far as possible so that we will not end up causing scandal and distancing people away from the salvation through the Church of God.

That was what St. Paul himself exhorted his two protege, St. Timothy and St. Titus, that the role of bishops were truly very important one for the Church. St. Paul highlighted how the bishops must be selected and elected from among those whose lives were truly good and worthy of God, filled with holiness and righteousness, devotion and commitment to God. Those who were to be chosen as bishops ought not to have been living immorally or against the teachings of the Christian faith, but they must be good role models through their lives and actions, and they have to be filled with the love both for God and for their fellow men and women, fulfilling what the Lord has told His disciples to do, to be faithful to His Law and commandments of Love.

How about us? The same parameters and expectations can be expected of us as well. All of us should live our lives worthily of the Lord and dedicate ourselves at every opportunities provided to us in order to obey the Lord and His commandments faithfully. We should not cause our lives to be a source of embarrassment and scandal for the Lord and His Church, and we have also been constantly called and reminded to adhere ever more closely to the path that God has shown us. All of us should spend more time to deepen our relationship with the Lord and also make the conscious effort to be ever more attuned to Him and His path. Each and every one of us should draw ever closer to God and become ever more filled with Christian grace and commitment, with each and every passing moments in our lives each day.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us are called and reminded to be more like St. Timothy and St. Titus in serving the Lord, in loving Him and our fellow brothers and sisters more and more. Let us ask ourselves if we have been faithful and true to our faith in God, or whether we have allowed ourselves to be swayed by the many temptations of worldly desires and pleasures that we end up falling deeper and deeper into the path of sin and evil. We are called to be better examples and role models of our Christian faith, and the best way for this to happen, is for each one of us to strive to be righteous, just and committed at all times, and not be lukewarm and ignorant in our faith. How can we convince others to believe in God if our own actions do not reflect this strong and profound love that we should have in the Lord?

May the Lord continue to guide and strengthen us in each and every moments throughout our lives. May He empower each one of us that we will always be ever more courageous and committed to live our lives with ever greater faith and love for God and for our fellow men. May God bless our every actions, good efforts, works and endeavours, and may St. Timothy and St. Titus, holy servants of God, intercede for us all sinners. Amen.

Thursday, 26 January 2023 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Timothy and St. Titus, Bishops (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 10 : 1-9

At that time, the Lord appointed seventy-two other disciples, and sent them, two by two, ahead of Him, to every town and place, where He Himself was to go. And He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. So you must ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers to His harvest.”

“Courage! I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Set off without purse or bag or sandals; and do not stop at the homes of those you know. Whatever house you enter, first bless them, saying, ‘Peace to this house!’ If a friend of peace lives there, the peace shall rest upon that person. But if not, the blessing will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking at their table, for the worker deserves to be paid. Do not move from house to house.”

“When they welcome you to any town, eat what they offer you. Heal the sick who are there, and say to them : ‘The kingdom of God has drawn near to you.’”