Monday, 6 February 2023 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Paul Miki and Companions, Martyrs (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Mark 6 : 53-56

At that time, having crossed the lake, Jesus and His disciples came ashore at Gennesaret, where they tied up the boat. As soon as they landed, people recognised Jesus, and ran to spread the news throughout the countryside.

Wherever He was, they brought to Him the sick lying on their mats; and wherever He went, to villages, towns or farms, they laid the sick in the marketplace, and begged Him to let them touch just the fringe of His cloak. And all who touched Him were cured.

Monday, 6 February 2023 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Paul Miki and Companions, Martyrs (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 103 : 1-2a, 5-6, 10 and 12, 24 and 35c

Bless the Lord my soul! Clothed in majesty and splendour; o Lord, my God, how great You are! You are wrapped in light as with a garment.

You set the earth on its foundations, and never will it be shaken. You covered it with the ocean like a garment, and waters spread over the mountains.

You make springs gush forth in valleys winding among mountains and hills. Birds build their nests close by and sing among the branches of trees.

How varied o Lord, are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all – the earth full of Your creatures. Bless the Lord, my soul!

Monday, 6 February 2023 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Paul Miki and Companions, Martyrs (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Genesis 1 : 1-19

In the beginning, when God began to create the heavens and the earth, the earth had no form and was void; darkness was over the deep and the Spirit of God hovered over the waters.

God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good and He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light ‘Day’ and the darkness ‘Night’. There was evening and there was morning : the first day.

God said, “Let there be a firm ceiling between the waters and let it separate waters from waters.” So God made the ceiling and separated the waters below it from the waters above it. And so it was. God called the firm ceiling ‘Sky’. There was evening and there was morning : the second day.

God said, “Let the waters below the sky be gathered in one place and let dry land appear. And so it was. God called the dry land ‘Earth’, and the waters gathered together he called ‘Seas’. God saw that it was good.

God said, “Let the earth produce vegetation, seed-bearing plants, fruit trees bearing fruit with seed, each according to its kind, upon the earth.” And so it was. The earth produced vegetation : plants bearing seed according to their kind and trees producing fruit which has seed, according to their kind. God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning : the third day.

God said, “Let there be lights in the ceiling of the sky to separate day from night and to serve as signs for the seasons, days and years; and let these lights in the sky shine above the earth.” And so it was. God therefore made two great lights, the greater light to govern the day and the smaller light to govern the night; and God made the stars as well. God placed them in the ceiling of the sky to give light on the earth and to separate the light from the darkness. God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning : the fourth day.

Sunday, 5 February 2023 : Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday all of us are reminded of the responsibilities and the calling which all of us as Christians are called to do in our lives. Each and every one of us as the disciples and followers of the Lord are expected to be good, committed, faithful and active servants and followers of God, in that each one of us are always active in living our lives with faith, practicing whatever we believe in with sincerity and devotion at all times. We cannot be true Christians unless our actions and dealings, works and interactions, words and all that we do are in alignment with the path and the way that the Lord has shown us. Otherwise, if we do not do or say or act as how we profess to believe in God, we are no better than hypocrites, and we may even cause scandal for our faith and besmirch the Holy Name of God.

In our first reading today, taken from the Book of the prophet Isaiah, we heard of the Lord speaking to His people and calling upon them all through Isaiah to do what is right and just, as He has taught and shown them through His many messengers and prophets. The Lord wanted all of them to live worthily of Him, by showing love to one another and to show compassion on the poor and the weak, to be merciful and just in their way of life and actions, as examples to one another so that more and more hopefully may come to believe in the Lord as well, through our exemplary lives and role models. This can only be achieved if we learn to resist the temptations of our desires for selfish pleasures and wants in life, and if we can learn to put God at the forefront and centre of our whole lives and existence, and if we can truly dedicate ourselves to the service of God and to do what He has told us to do, then surely we will have lived our lives worthily of the Lord.

In our second reading today, we heard from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Church and the faithful people of God in the city of Corinth, in which St. Paul told the people about his perseverance in proclaiming the message of God’s truth and Good News in their midst, resisting the temptations of worldly power and glory, and instead, proclaiming fearlessly about the Crucified Messiah, Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Saviour of the world, to an audience that were sometimes lukewarm and at times even hostile against his efforts. Nonetheless, the Apostle continued to labour hard and spent a lot of effort and time to glorify God and to proclaim Him, which eventually bore much fruits as more and more people came to believe in the Lord through the efforts that St. Paul had put into place in proclaiming the Gospels of Christ.

He was doing what the Lord Jesus Himself had spoken about in our Gospel passage today, as we recall in that passage the words of the parable of the salt of the earth and the light of the world. The Lord Jesus spoke of this parable to His disciples comparing them all to the all-important salt and light, two commodities that are still important and crucial today, but which were even more indispensable and important back then. For without salt and light, the world at the time of the Lord Jesus cannot operate much, as salt and light both played very important roles in the communities of the people, in everyone’s homes and in many activities involving daily living and actions, in work and more things, more than what we may need of those two things today, that is salt and light in our lives.

First of all, salt is used as an important flavouring agent, which is necessary to impart taste and flavour to food which could usually be rather bland tasteless. Salt is also important for the body in order to replenish certain ions and substances that our bodies require in order to function properly. While salt may be easily available these days and many even have problems of excessive consumption of salt, back then, many people did not even have steady supply of salt, as salt production was rather difficult, labour intensive and tightly controlled by the state back then, and without modern technologies that allowed mass production of salt, salt became a rather expensive commodity that was widely sought and desired, and was truly a precious item back then. Salt was also used in the preservation of food, which was important in the era before the advent of effective refrigeration as is present in our world today.

Meanwhile, light was also something very important as although light is abundant from the Sun during the daytime, but at night time, light was often lacking, as even the full brightness of the Full Moon and the stars of the sky paled in comparison with the brightness of the Sun. Night time was therefore often dark, particularly during the time when the Moon was not visible. The roads and the areas outside towns and villages were often very dark and treacherous, filled with all sorts of wild animals and predators, and nobody dared to travel alone or in the dark without the guidance of any light, in the form of lanterns and torches, which could provide assurance and protection for anyone who wished to travel in the dark times. Otherwise, people would rather wait until the morning before they continued to travel. And this was the reality of a world before the advent of electricity and easily available lighting from electricity, a world that we may not be truly familiar with.

Hence, imagine just how useless it is for salt to lose its taste and flavour, its saltiness and hence the ability to give flavour and to prevent food from spoiling and becoming bad. How useless and pointless it is also therefore for light to be hidden without been used to dispel the darkness wherever they are needed, for this light to be hidden and not used as a source of inspiration, hope and assurance, in the times of darkness. What the Lord wanted to say to us in providing this parable to us all through His disciples is that, our lives have to be meaningful, virtuous, righteous, good and just, filled with the virtues and righteousness of God, with Christian values and goodness, with all the things that the Lord Himself has shown and taught us to do. However, many of us as Christians are still ignorant of this calling and this mission which each and every one of us have in this life.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday we are therefore called and reminded yet again by the Lord to be active in living our Christian lives, full of commitment and devotion to God, and full of the sincerity and the desire to serve the Lord, and to do what He Himself has taught us to do, and to make it such that our every words and actions in our respective lives truly become great sources of inspiration and good examples for others to follow, just like the salt of the earth and light of the world. God has provided each and every one of us with so many distinct and unique sets of gifts, talents, abilities, blessings and opportunities, giving us many chances to make good use of them for everyone’s benefits and for the greater glory of God. Now the question is, are we willing to embrace God’s call and are we willing to follow Him and walk in His path, faithfully and with conviction?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all hence help one another to remain firm in faith and to be ever more active in reaching out to our fellow men and women, in our respective communities and in whatever areas that we are able to contribute in. Let us no longer be ignorant of the many opportunities and chances that God had provided us in being able to live up to our Christian mission and calling. Like the Apostles, St. Paul and many other holy men and women of God, let us all truly be the flavourful salt of the earth and the ever wonderful light of the world, proclaiming the love and truth of God, in our daily living, in our every words, actions and deeds, at all times. May God be with us all and may He bless us all in our every good works and endeavours, as salt of the earth and light of the world. Amen.

Sunday, 5 February 2023 : Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 5 : 13-16

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples and to the people, “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt has lost its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It has become useless. It can only be thrown away and people will trample on it.”

“You are the light of the world. A city built on a mountain cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and covers it; instead it is put on a lampstand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine before others, so that they may see the good you do and praise your Father in heaven.”

Sunday, 5 February 2023 : Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Corinthians 2 : 1-5

When I came to reveal to you the mystery of God’s plan I did not count on eloquence or on a show of learning. I was determined not to know anything among you but Jesus, the Messiah, and a crucified Messiah. I myself came weak, fearful and trembling; my words and preaching were not brilliant or clever to win listeners.

It was, rather, a demonstration of spirit and power, so that your faith might be a matter not of human wisdom, but of God’s power.

Sunday, 5 February 2023 : Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 111 : 4-5, 6-7, 8a and 9

The Lord is for the righteous a Light in the darkness, He is kind, merciful and upright. It will be well with him who lends freely, who leads a life of justice and honesty.

For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered and loved forever. He has no fear of evil news, for his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.

His heart is confident, he needs not fear. He gives generously to the poor, his merits will last forever and his head will be raised in honour.

Sunday, 5 February 2023 : Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Isaiah 58 : 7-10

Fast by sharing your food with the hungry, bring to your house the homeless, clothe the one you see naked and do not turn away from your own kin. Then will your light break forth as the dawn and your healing come in a flash. Your righteousness will be your vanguard, the Glory of YHVH your rearguard.

Then you will call and YHVH will answer, you will cry and He will say, I am here. If you remove from your midst the yoke, the clenched fist and the wicked word, if you share your food with the hungry and give relief to the oppressed, then your light will rise in the dark, your night will be like noon.

(Usus Antiquior) Septuagesima Sunday (II Classis) – Sunday, 5 February 2023 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Communion and Post-Communion Prayer

Liturgical Colour : Violet

Offertory

Psalm 91 : 2

Bonum est confiteri Domino, et psallere Nomini Tuo, Altissime.

English translation

It is good to give praise to the Lord, and to sing to Your Name, o Most High.

Secret Prayer of the Priest

Muneribus nostris, quaesumus, Domine, precibusque susceptis : et caelestibus nos munda mysteriis, et clementer exaudi. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

With our gifts and prayers accepted, we beseech You, o Lord, both cleanse us by these heavenly mysteries and graciously hear 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.

Communion

Psalm 30 : 17-18

Illumina faciem Tuam super servum Tuum, et salvum me fac in Tua misericordia : Domine, non confundar, quoniam invocavi Te.

English translation

Make Your face to shine upon Your servant, and save me in Your mercy. Let me not be confounded, o Lord, for I have called upon You.

Post-Communion Prayer

Fideles Tui, Deus, per Tua dona firmentur : ut eadem et percipiendo requirant, et quaerendo sine fine percipiant. 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 Your faithful, o God, be strengthened by Your gifts, that receiving them they may still desire them and desiring them may constantly receive them. 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) Septuagesima Sunday (II Classis) – Sunday, 5 February 2023 : Holy Gospel

Liturgical Colour : Violet

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

Matthew 20 : 1-16

In illo tempore : Dixit Jesus discipulis Suis parabolam hanc : Simile est regnum caelorum homini patrifamilias, qui exiit primo mane conducere operarios in vineam suam. Conventione autem facta cum operariis ex denario diurno, misit eos in vineam suam.

Et egressus circa horam tertiam, vidit alios stantes in foro otiosos, et dixit illis : Ite et vos in vineam meam, et quod justum fuerit, dabo vobis. Illi autem abierunt. Iterum autem exiit circa sextam et nonam horam : et fecit similiter. Circa undecimam vero exiit, et invenit alios stantes, et dicit illis : Quid hic statis tota die otiosi?

Dicunt ei : Quia nemo nos conduxit. Dicit illis : Ite et vos in vineam meam. Cum sero autem factum esset, dicit dominus vineae procuratori suo : Voca operarios, et redde illis mercedem, incipiens a novissimis usque ad primos. Cum venissent ergo qui circa undecimam horam venerant, acceperunt singulos denarios.

Venientes autem et primi, arbitrati sunt, quod plus essent accepturi : acceperunt autem et ipsi singulos denarios. Et accipientes murmurabant adversus patremfamilias, dicentes : Hi novissimi una hora fecerunt et pares illos nobis fecisti, qui portavimus pondus diei et aestus.

At ille respondens uni eorum, dixit : Amice, non facio tibi injuriam : nonne ex denario convenisti mecum? Tolle quod tuum est, et vade : volo autem et huic novissimo dare sicut et tibi. Aut non licet mihi, quod volo, facere? an oculus tuus nequam est, quia ego bonus sum? Sic erunt novissimi primi, et primi novissimi. Multi enim sunt vocati, pauci vero electi.

English translation

At that time, Jesus spoke to His disciples this parable, “The kingdom of heaven is likened to a householder, who went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And having agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.

And going out at about the third hour, he saw others standing in the marketplace idle, and he said to them, “You also go into my vineyard, and I will give you what shall be just,” and they went their way. And again he went out at about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did so in the similar manner. But at about the eleventh hour, he went out, and found others standing, and he said to them, “Why did you stand here all the day idle?”

They said to him, “Because no man had hired us.” He said to them, “You also go into my vineyard.” And when evening came, the lord of the vineyard said to his steward, “Call the labourers, and pay them their hire, beginning from the last even to the first.” When therefore those who came at about the eleventh hour, they received a penny for every man.

But when the first also came, they thought that they should receive more, and they also received a penny for every man. And receiving it, they murmured against the master of the house, saying, “These last have barely worked but one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the heat.”

But he answering, said to one of them, “Friend, I did you no wrong, did you not agree with me for a penny? Take what is yours, and go your way. I will also give to the last even as to you. Or, is it not lawful for me to do what I will? Is your eye evil, because I am good? So shall the last be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few are chosen.”