Friday, 3 February 2023 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Blaise, Bishop and Martyr, and St. Ansgar, Bishop (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs) or White (Bishops)

Psalm 26 : 1, 3, 5, 8b-9abc

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.

Though an army encamp against me, my heart will not fail; though war break out against me, I will still be confident.

For He will keep me safe in His shelter in times of misfortune; He will hide me beneath His roof, and set me high upon a rock.

I seek Your face, o Lord. Do not hide Your face from me nor turn away Your servant in anger. You are my Protector, do not reject me.

Friday, 3 February 2023 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Blaise, Bishop and Martyr, and St. Ansgar, Bishop (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs) or White (Bishops)

Hebrews 13 : 1-8

Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to offer hospitality; you know that some people have entertained Angels without knowing it. Remember prisoners as if you were with them in chains, and the same for those who are suffering. Remember that you also have a body.

Marriage must be respected by all and husband and wife faithful to each other. God will punish the immoral and the adulterous. Do not depend on money. Be content with having enough for today for God has said : I will never forsake you or abandon you, and we shall confidently answer : The Lord is my Helper, I will not fear; what can man do to me?

Remember your leaders who taught you the word of God. Consider their end and imitate their faith. Christ Jesus is the same today as yesterday and forever.

Thursday, 2 February 2023 : Feast of the Presentation of the Lord (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today the Church celebrates the occasion of the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, also known as Candlemas, the fortieth day of Christmas. This is the day which in accordance to longstanding Christian tradition, is the last day of the great 40 days long celebration of the Christmas season. On this day, the fortieth day since we celebrate the Nativity of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, we commemorate His Presentation at the Temple of Jerusalem, the House of God. Traditionally, this date also marks the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in which Mary, after having spent forty days in confinement after childbirth, according to the Jewish laws and customs, was purified at the House of God and was welcomed back into the community of God’s people.

In our first reading today, we heard of the words of the Lord to His people through the prophet Malachi, we heard of the Lord speaking of the Covenant which He has established with His people and the Envoy of this Covenant which was coming into the world. This prophecy was often referred to the promise of the coming of the Messiah, the Holy One of God and also His herald, St. John the Baptist. In the context of today’s celebration, we are reminded of the expectation of the coming of the Saviour from the Lord, which the prophets had been proclaiming and reassuring the people of God for ages. The prophet Malachi was one of the last prophets of the Old Testament era, who continued the traditions of the prophets in delivering the words of God to His people. Through his words and ministry, the people kept on waiting patiently for the coming of the Lord’s salvation.

If Christmas marks the moment when the Lord entered into this world and appeared at last, bringing forth God’s salvation and hope, and if Epiphany marks the moment when He was revealed to the nations, to the pagan peoples and all mankind through the Three Magi or Wise Men, then this Feast of the Presentation of the Lord marks the moment when the Lord appeared and was presented not only before the Lord but also before the people of God, those who belonged to the nation of Israel. Indeed, some would have said that the Angels had appeared to the shepherds in the wilderness of Bethlehem when the Lord was born, but it was at the moment of the Lord’s Presentation at the Temple of Jerusalem, the House of God, that He was revealed to the Jewish people, to the people to whom God had promised His salvation.

The coming of the Lord and His Presentation as we heard in our Gospel passage today marked the fulfilment of the Lord’s many promises and the renewal of His Covenant which He has reassured His people again and again every time. The elderly Simeon and the prophetess Anna both witnessed the coming of the Lord in the form of the little Child, presented there that day at the Temple and House of God, and they must have been so joyful to have glimpsed the coming of God’s salvation in the flesh, before their very own eyes. And they spoke of the many great things which the Lord would do through His Son, to His parents, Mary and St. Joseph and to all those who were assembled and present there at the Temple on that day. Truly today we celebrate the Lord’s revelation to His people, the coming and appearance of His Light in this world.

That is why today’s celebration is also known as the Candlemas, the celebration of the Light of Christ revealed to all of the people of God and to all the nations. On this day we recall how the Lord has shown us His most amazing love and revealed to us His Light through His Son, so that there is Light that illuminates our path in this darkened and sinful world. All of us have received the assurances from the Lord of His love and salvation, and this day we are reminded that everything that He has ever promised and spoken to us, all have come true in Christ, our Lord and Saviour. It is thanks to the coming of the Lord that all of us can have hope again, and His Light has come into our midst to dwell among us, that we have seen the path out of the darkness and despair that surround us, the Light that is our guide and strength amidst the hardships and challenges facing us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, now as we rejoice today on this Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, let us all also then take note that the Light of Christ has been passed on to us, just as we have the blessing of candles this day, to remind us of the Light of Christ that we all have received at our baptism. All of us have received the Light of the Lord and His Light having been present in us, should be the source of light for this world, for one another. What does this mean? It means that we should be beacons of God’s Light, His truth, love and all the hope which He has brought into our midst, taught and revealed to us. As Christians, all of us have received this truth and share this same knowledge and love of God, and we should therefore be the bearers of His Light in our world today.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, can we be truly worthy disciples of the Lord and the bearers of His Light in our world today? In order to do that, then all of us have to be filled with the Light of Christ, filled with God’s righteousness, virtues and justice. All of us have to live our lives to the best of our abilities so that we may become source of inspiration and hope for others, and that we may help others to find their way in obeying the Law and the commandments of God. Each and every one of us are parts of the Church’s effort to evangelise and to proclaim the truth of God to more and more of the people all around us, both within and outside the Church. Each one of us are the bearers of His Good News and truth, and through us many people may come to find our way to salvation and eternal life.

May the Lord continue to lead and guide us down this path of righteousness. May all of us continue to strive to live our lives as best as we can in showing our faith truly through our every day actions, even in the smallest and the seemingly most insignificant things we do in life. May all of us continue to be encouraged to live our lives to the fullest, and may He empower all of us to walk in His presence, and to glorify Him, as the beacons of His Light, righteousness, virtues and justice, now and always, forevermore. Amen.