Tuesday, 21 February 2023 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Peter Damian, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Psalm 36 : 3-4, 18-19, 27-28, 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.

The Lord watches over the lives of the upright; forever will their inheritance abide. They are not crushed in times of calamity; when famine strikes, they still are satisfied.

Do good and shun evil, so that you will live secure forever. For the Lord loves justice and right, and never forsakes His faithful ones. The wicked instead will perish and their breed will be cut off.

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.

Tuesday, 21 February 2023 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Peter Damian, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Sirach 2 : 1-13 (Greek Septuagint version – Sirach 2 : 1-11)

My son, if you have decided to serve the Lord, prepare yourselves for trials. Keep your heart upright and remain resolute; do not be upset in the time of adversity. Hold fast to the Lord, do not separate yourself from Him so that you may be successful to the end of your days.

Accept all that happens to you, be patient when you are humbled, for as gold is tested in the fire, so those acceptable to God are tested in the crucible of humiliation. Have confidence in Him and He will take care of you; follow the right path and hope in Him.

You who fear the Lord, wait for His mercy and do not turn away lest you fall. You who fear the Lord, trust Him and you will not lose your reward. You who fear the Lord, hope for all good things; hope for eternal joy and mercy. Remember what happened to your ancestors. Who has ever trusted in the Lord and been confounded? Who has persevered in fear of the Lord and been abandoned? Who has called upon Him and not been heard?

For the Lord is compassion and loving kindness; He forgives our sins and saves us in time of distress.

Monday, 20 February 2023 : 7th 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 Lord contained within the Scriptures, each one of us are reminded to have faith in the Lord and to entrust ourselves to the Wisdom and the providence that God has provided us with, as He has always ever been faithful to the Covenant which He had made with us and our ancestors. All of us should keep in mind to do what the Lord has told us to do, living our lives wholeheartedly to walk in His presence at all times. Each one of us are called to be good and faithful disciples of the Lord, giving our time, effort and attention to Him, and to do His will at all times, and to follow Him with faith, making sure that we remain well connected and attuned to Him in our lives so that we may truly be close to Him, and committed to Him in each and every moments of our lives, being good examples and role models to each other.

In our first reading today from the Book of the prophet Sirach, we heard the words of the prophet Sirach speaking about the Wisdom of God, which He has imparted on all those who trust and believe in Him, as He is the source of all Wisdom, knowledge and truth. The prophet Sirach also highlighted how there are many things in this world, in this universe and existence that are not known to us, and even the best of our human intellect and understanding cannot comprehend the full truth and knowledge of the universe, as we can only behold parts and pieces of the knowledge and the truth. But through the Lord and the Wisdom He has imparted to us, all of us have received greater understanding and appreciation of the truth from God, and we have better understanding of how God has loved us so much and did so much wonders all around us, all these while.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard of how there were argument between the disciples of the Lord and the teachers of the Law who disagreed with the Lord and His disciples, as the disciples of the Lord there then also failed to heal the possessed son of a person who brought him to them, hoping that the disciples could heal him and cast out the evil spirits and demons from him. It was there then that the Lord admonished the people and His disciples, all those who still did not have genuine faith in Him and His power, and instead depending on their own flawed and imperfect knowledge, power and intellect rather than to trust in the Lord and to believe in His Wisdom and power. That was why those disciples failed to cast out the demons from the possessed son, as they did not have enough faith in God to do so.

Rather, they most likely must have trusted more in their own power and abilities, or might likely even think that it was by their own power and greatness, their own abilities and intellect that they had cast out the demons and evil spirits, performed other miracles and great deeds that they had done in the past. However, they forgot that they all did everything by the grace of God, guiding them and providing for them. It was the Lord Who gave them the authority, power and ability to forgive sins, to heal the sick and to cast out demons, and to make whole those who have been afflicted with various sickness and troubles. Yet, those disciples had grown proud and ambitious, and thought of themselves as greater than they were supposed to be, as if it was by their own power and abilities that they had performed all those miracles. That was why they could not heal the possessed son.

At the same time, those teachers of the Law and the Pharisees who doubted the Lord, His power and authority, were also those who were blinded in the similar manner by their own achievements, position and ambition, as they thought that they were the sole possessor of wisdom and power over the people of God. They were always highly regarded and respected by the rest of the community, and this made them to be very careful and particular in guarding their privileges and powers, not allowing those like the Lord and His disciples to threaten them in any way. That was why, despite their supposedly superior knowledge, intellect, capacity and expectation, and despite their knowledge and understanding of the Law and the Prophets, they failed to recognise the Lord’s coming, His truth and His Wisdom which He had often made truly evident and real before them.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, having discussed and discerned the words of the Lord contained within the passages of the Scriptures today, let us remind ourselves how the season of Lent is coming very soon, as it begins just this Wednesday with the Ash Wednesday celebration. All of us should make good use of the opportunities provided to us to get ever closer to Him, to renew our relationship and bond with God so that we may come to understand better His truth and love for us, and everything that He had done for our sake. We must not allow ourselves to be swayed by the temptations of pride, ego and ambition, and all the worldly desires and wickedness present all around us which may end up causing us to fall into the path of rebellion and sin, and to fail in our faith just as the disciples of the Lord and those Pharisees and teachers of the Law had done in the past.

Let us all hence continue to live our lives and moving forward with faith, renewed and rejuvenated, strengthened and encouraged by all that we have heard today. God has always been generous with His love, kindness and wisdom, and He has given us everything we need to progress forward in His path, showing us His guidance and help through various means. Now what is left is for us to have the humility in our hearts and minds, to allow Him to lead and guide us down the right path. We also ought to have faith and trust in the Lord, and do whatever we can to let His Wisdom and strength to encourage us to continue to struggle and to persevere even amidst the toughest challenges and hardships, and continue to do what we can as good and faithful disciples and followers of our Lord.

May the Lord continue to guide us in our faith journey especially as we are about to enter into the season of Lent this week. May He guide us in all of our actions, words and deeds, empowering us with the Wisdom and providence, allowing us to do great and wonderful things for His greater glory, now and always, at all times. May God bless us all in our every good efforts and endeavours, and may He bless us always and more, and inspire us all to be ever good role models and examples, for the help of others around us. Amen.

Monday, 20 February 2023 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 9 : 14-29

At that time, when Jesus and His disciples, Peter, James and John came to the place where they had left the disciples, they saw many people around them and some teachers of the Law arguing with them. When the people saw Jesus, they were astonished and ran to greet Him.

He asked, “What are you arguing about with them?” A man answered Him from the crowd, “Master, I brought my son to You, for he has a spirit, deaf and mute. Whenever the spirit seizes him, it throws him down and he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth and becomes stiff all over. I asked Your disciples to drive the spirit out, but they could not.”

Jesus replied, “You faithless people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring him to Me.” And the brought the boy to Him. As soon as the spirit saw Jesus, it shook and convulsed the boy, who fell on the ground, and began rolling about, foaming at the mouth.

Then Jesus asked the father, “How long has this been happening to him?” He replied, “From childhood. And it has often thrown him into the fire and into the water to destroy him. If You can do anything, have pity on us and help us.”

Jesus said to him, “Why do you say, ‘If You can?’ All things are possible for the one who believes.” Immediately the father of the boy cried out, “I do believe, but help the little faith I have.” Jesus saw that the crowd was increasing rapidly, so He ordered the evil spirit, “Dumb and deaf spirit, I command you : Leave the boy and never enter him again.”

The evil spirit shook and convulsed the boy and with a terrible shriek came out. The boy lay like a corpse and people said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him and the boy stood up. After Jesus had gone indoors, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not drive out the spirit?”

And He answered, “Only prayer can drive out this kind, nothing else.”

Monday, 20 February 2023 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 92 : 1ab, 1c-2, 5

The Lord reigns, robed in majesty; the Lord is girded with strength.

The world now is firm, it cannot be moved. Your throne stands from long ago, o Lord, from all eternity You are.

Your decrees can be trusted; holiness dwells in Your house day after day without end, o Lord.

Monday, 20 February 2023 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Sirach 1 : 1-10

All wisdom comes from the Lord and endures with Him forever. The grains of sand, the drops of rain and the days of eternity, who can count them? The height of heaven, the extent of the earth and the depths of the abyss, who can measure them?

Wisdom was created before all things and the prudent intellect before the beginning of time. To whom was the source of Wisdom revealed? Who has known her secret designs? One alone is wise and greatly to be feared. The One Who is seated upon His throne.

The Lord Himself created Wisdom. He looked on her and knew her value. He poured her out over all His works; upon all mortal beings, in accordance with His goodness. He lavished her on those who love Him.