Friday, 1 March 2019 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listened to the words of the Scripture speaking to us about the matter of believing in God and having a true and genuine love for Him. Unless we have that love and devotion in us, it is unlikely that we will be able to live our lives with faith. And for us, we also have to discern well how we should make our relationships with one another, imitating the love which we have for God.

In the first reading today, taken from the book of the prophet Sirach, we heard how different types of friends are present, and we may not realise this reality even from among those whom we call as friends. Some of those who become our friends, they did so because they are seeking for some benefits and gains for themselves, and when things go sour and our fortunes dwindle, they will be quick to draw a line between them and us, and distance themselves from us.

The friendship of this type cannot be called true friendship, as it means that the friendship is only valid and is maintained only conditionally, when things are good and favourable. The moment that things turn upside down and become unfavourable, the friendship also end up becoming lost. Then this kind of relationship cannot be called as true friendship, as true friendship and in fact relationship requires one to be committed and faithful in times both good and bad.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in today’s Gospel passage, we go to an even higher level of relationship, and that is the relationship between a man and a woman joined together in the holy and blessed union of matrimony, or marriage. This is a relationship in which a man is joined to a woman, and are united together in a new life blessed by God, and this union is blessed and sanctified by God such that, as the Lord Himself put it, no man should ever divide.

And yet, the Pharisees and some of the teachers of the Law tried to test the Lord by arguing that since Moses had allowed for the practice of divorce, provided that the person desiring the divorce must prepare a documentation and certification for the divorce, then a husband can divorce his wife and vice versa. But in doing so, they disregarded and misunderstood the sanctity of marriage and what the Lord had intended for His people, and instead, succumbing to the pressures of worldly desires and greed.

Again, the main reason for divorces to happen, both then as it is now, is the lack of true love and genuine commitment between the parties involved in the holy matrimony, where each of the individuals were involved in the marriage for their own ulterior motives and for their individual selfish desired and wishes. As a result, when the marriage is happy and filled with good things for both parties, there may be no issue, but the moment the marriage begins to encounter problems, more problems and troubles are quick to accumulate.

And this is where the devil is very quick to make use of the perfect opportunity to strike at us, to cause divisions and bitterness among us, hatred and lack of love and commitment to one another, causing the breaking of our families and matrimonial relationships, and even our other forms of friendships. The devil has many tools within his disposal, to strike at us relentlessly, by making use of the pride, ego, desire and the wickedness within our hearts and minds against us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are reminded of the need for us to have love within us and in our relationships, for us to be filled with genuine love instead of lust, dedication instead of selfishness and pride, compassion and true passion instead of greed and worldly desires. Today, we are called to love with tenderness, to do our very best to follow His examples, in how He has loved us all so greatly despite all of our sins and wickedness.

God remains in love with us despite our unfaithfulness, because He is ultimately faithful, dedicated and genuine in His love for each and every one of us. Are we able to show the same kind of love in our own lives? And are we able to show the same love in our relationship with God as well as with our fellow men? May the Lord strengthen us, and may He guide us all to love Him and serve Him with greater commitment, now and always. Amen.

Friday, 1 March 2019 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 10 : 1-12

At that time, Jesus then left that place and went to the province of Judea, beyond the Jordan River. Once more crowds gathered around Him and once more He taught them as He always did. Some (Pharisees came and) put Him to the test with this question, “Is it right for a husband to divorce his wife?”

He replied, “What law did Moses give you?” They answered, “Moses allowed us to write a certificate of dismissal in order to divorce.” Then Jesus said to them, “Moses wrote this law for you, because you are stubborn. But in the beginning of creation God made them male and female, and because of this, man has to leave father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one body. So they are no longer two but one body. Therefore let no one separate what God has joined.”

When they were indoors at home, the disciples again asked Him about this, and He told them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against his wife, and the woman who divorces her husband and marries another also commits adultery.”

Friday, 1 March 2019 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 118 : 12, 16, 18, 27, 34, 35

Praise to You, o Lord; instruct me in Your statutes, that with my lips I may declare all Your spoken decrees.

In Your laws I will rejoice and will not neglect Your words.

Open my eyes that I may see the marvellous truths in Your law.

Explain to me all Your ordinances, and I will meditate on Your wondrous deeds.

Give me understanding, that I may observe Your law with all my heart.

Guide me in obeying Your instructions, for my pleasure lies in them.

Friday, 1 March 2019 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Sirach 6 : 5-17

A gentle word makes many friends, an agreeable tongue calls forth gracious replies. Let your friends be many; but your counsellors, one in a thousand! If you would gain a friend, begin by testing him and do not put your confidence in him too quickly. For there is the friend who is such when it suits him but he does not remain faithful in the time of your adversity.

There is the friend who becomes an enemy and, to your confusion, makes known why you quarrelled. There is the friend who shares your table but does not remain faithful when things go against you. In times of prosperity he will be like your shadow and he will speak freely to those of your household. But if you are humiliated, he will turn against you and will avoid meeting you.

Distance yourself from your enemies and be careful about your friends. The faithful friend is a secure refuge; whoever has found one has found a treasure. A faithful friend is beyond all price; hold him as priceless. A faithful friend is a life-saving remedy, and those who fear the Lord will find one.

Whoever fears the Lord will make true friends for, as a man is, such will his friend be.