Friday, 17 February 2023 : 6th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints)

Mark 8 : 34 – Mark 9 : 1

At that time, Jesus called the people and His disciples, and said, “If you want to follow Me, deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Me. For if you choose to save your life, you will lose it; and if you lose your life for My sake and for the sake of the Gospel, you will save it.”

“What good is it to gain the whole world, while destroying your soul? There is nothing more precious than your soul. I tell you : If anyone is ashamed of Me and of My words among this adulterous and sinful people, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the Glory of His Father with the holy Angels.”

And He went on to say, “Truly I tell you, there are some here who will not die before they see the kingdom of God coming with power.”

Friday, 17 February 2023 : 6th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints)

Psalm 32 : 10-11, 12-13, 14-15

The Lord frustrates the plans of the nations and brings to nothing the peoples’ designs. But His plan stands forever, and His heart’s design through all generations.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord – the people He has chosen for His inheritance. The Lord looks down from heaven and sees the whole race of mortals.

From where He sits He watches all those who dwell on the earth – He Who fashions every heart observes all their deeds.

Friday, 17 February 2023 : 6th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints)

Genesis 11 : 1-9

The whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved from east, they found a plain in the country of Shinar where they settled. They said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and bake them in fire.” They used brick for stone and bitumen for mortar. They said also, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top reaching heaven; so that we may become a great people and not be scattered over the face of the earth!”

YHVH came down to see the city and the tower that the sons of man were building, and YHVH said, “They are one people and they have one language. If they carry this through, nothing they decide to do from now on will be impossible. Come! Let Us go down and confuse their language so that they will no longer understand each other.”

So YHVH scattered them over all the earth and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel, because there YHVH confused the language of the whole earth and from there YHVH scattered them over the whole face of the earth.

Thursday, 16 February 2023 : 6th 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 Sacred Scriptures, each and every one of us are reminded yet again of God’s love, His kindness and compassion to each one of us which He has repeatedly shown again and again throughout time, and in how He gave us all the perfect gift of His love, in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, to be our Saviour and Hope. As we heard from our Scripture passages today, we are all truly blessed and beloved by God, Who made and renewed His Covenant with us all, His people, again and again, from time to time. We have been shown mercy and love, just as how God saved Noah and his family from the Great Flood, and also in how Christ, the Son of God, came into our midst to save us all from certain destruction.

In our first reading today, we continue to hear the account from the Book of Genesis, and this time, as mentioned, it is still about the time when the Great Flood occurred and wiped out almost all life on this world, except for all those who were brought into the great Ark that Noah built upon the instructions from God. All those who were inside the Ark were spared and kept alive because of the faith that Noah had in the Lord, in obeying His Law and commandments. All the other children of mankind were crushed and destroyed by the Great Flood because of their wickedness and sins, their refusal to follow God’s ways, and all of those wickedness which had accumulated and disgusted the Lord, to the point that He released the Great Flood to cleanse the whole world, as there was no more virtue and righteousness in the world back then save than what was found in Noah and his family.

God rescued Noah and brought him and his family safely through the Flood and we heard in today’s first reading passage of the moment when the Flood had finally receded from the world, and Noah and his family offered a great thanksgiving to God, to which God responded by reassuring him of His love and faithfulness, establishing a Covenant with him, and renewed His love for all of the people, all of the children of man. At the same time, however, He also highlighted that should Noah and his descendants commit sins against the Lord once again, doing what those who perished during the Great Flood had done, then they too would have to suffer for their sins and wickedness. Essentially, God reminds us all that He loves us all sinners, but He does not approve of the wickedness that we have committed.

The love which God has for each one of us is also reflected in His promise made to all of us, in how He promised not to destroy us anymore through the water or the same Flood, by placing His own bow on the clouds, which we see during and after rains, the rainbow, as a reminder to Him and to all of us of this love and the Covenant which God had made with Noah that day, and which He has constantly renewed and reestablish again and again with us. Then, God made His new and everlasting Covenant through His Son, Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour, by Whose coming into the world all of us have seen the light and hope that God wants to bring into our midst, showing us all the path out of the darkness and all the temptations of sin and evils all around us.

In our Gospel passage today, that is exactly what we have heard from the story of the Lord asking His disciples about Who He truly was, as the disciples spoke about Who they thought He was, with St. Peter proclaiming courageously that the Lord Jesus was indeed the Messiah, the Holy One and Saviour that was promised from God, and the One Whom all of them and all of us have to follow. This then led to the Lord revealing that the truth was such that in His role and part in bringing about our salvation and liberation from sin, He would have to be opposed and made to suffer, to endure painful and humiliating trials and persecution at the hands of all those who refused to believe in Him and oppose His works, and finally to die a most painful and humiliating death on the Cross on our behalf, and for the sake of our salvation.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we can clearly see just how much God has loved all of us, that He was willing to endure all of those things for us, to get us all out of the darkness and from the precipice of destruction. He put Himself at the crossfire, enduring the worst punishments for our sins, all on our behalf so that each and every one of us have the sure path out of the darkness and into the light. God has chosen to come into this world and willingly bore our many sins and burdens associated with them, so that we can be free from them, be reconciled and reunited with Him. That is all which God had done for us, all because of His ever amazing love and kindness, His attention and compassion towards us which He has never ceased to show us, despite our frequent stubborn attitude and refusal to obey Him.

That is why today all of us are reminded that we should not harden our hearts and minds, and resist Him and His love anymore. Like what St. Peter did in his moment of weakness in allowing Satan to tempt him and to speak through him, all of us must resist the temptations of worldly desires, ambitions, of our own pride and ego, and all other things that may cause us to become ever more distant from the Lord and His salvation. We have to be resolute in resisting the incessant efforts from the devil in trying to lead us to our downfall and damnation. We must remind ourselves of God’s ever enduring and present love for us, and strive to love Him therefore in the same way, rejecting the excesses of worldly pleasures and sins, and doing whatever we can to live our lives faithfully as Christians, as those who profess our faith in Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour.

May the Lord continue to guide us and strengthen us in our journey of faith through life so that we may ever walk faithfully and righteously amidst the many temptations to sin and may we all be good examples and role models, inspiration and strength to one another. May God bless us always and remain with us, guiding us throughout our every good endeavours and efforts, through every good and faithful deeds in life, now and always, forevermore. Amen.