Thursday, 10 January 2019 : Thursday after the Epiphany (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard about the love of God, which we need to show in our own lives, just as St. John wrote in his Epistle, that each and every one of us who wants to love God, must also love one another just as He has loved us first. He has shown us His perfect love, by the generous giving of His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has become Our Saviour. He has given us His commandments and laws, which are then revealed in its perfection by Himself.

That was when the Lord Jesus came into this world, bearing the truth which we mankind have longed to see. He has revealed to us just how great God’s love is for us, that in essence, all the Law and the commandments He has given His people, is founded upon the love which He has for us, from the very beginning, love that is not selfish and filled with ego, but instead love that is pure, selfless and genuine.

In the Gospel passage, we heard the Lord Himself proclaiming the fulfilment of the prophecies which God has given His people through His prophet Isaiah. The prophet Isaiah had written in his book that the Lord would anoint His Messiah to bear the salvation and new joy into this world, the healing of the sick, the opening of the eyes of the blind, and how those who were paralysed would be able to walk again, and prisoners would be set free. And Jesus came to fulfil all of these.

How did God fulfil His promises of love? It is by liberating us from the source of all of our misery and sufferings, that is sin. Sin is caused by our refusal to obey God’s will, and by our own selfish desires in trying to satisfy our own greed and wants. Sin has corrupted us and made us to suffer, because it made us to be separated from God, and away from God we have no certainty in life. Our conflicting desires and actions cause us to act unjustly towards one another, causing us to suffer.

We suffer because others oppress us, manipulate us and trying to gain more by taking what should have been ours. And we suffer because, even when we have gained what we wanted in life, in terms of all sorts of worldly glory and achievement, money and material possessions, fame and influence, we often do not feel happy, as we end up craving for even more than what we have already had. Life is never fully and truly happy, as we desire for these worldly things, that we can never be fully satisfied from.

We love ourselves more than anything else, but this is what have led us down the path of sin, as well as the path of suffering and unhappiness. That is why, God showed us the way out of this predicament, by showing us what a true love is all about. Through Jesus, we have seen the perfect example of obedience to the Law, which He summarised into two key points, namely, first of all, the love for God, and then the love for our fellow brothers and sisters.

He loved His Father so perfectly, that everything He did, He did because of the love He has for His Father in heaven, obeying Him and doing His will on earth. And this is translated into the love which He showed to all those Whom the Father has loved, His brothers and sisters, each and every one of us, the sons and daughters of man. And this love is made perfect, by the total surrender and obedience to the will of the Father, at the Passion when He willingly suffered for us, because of His love, that by His suffering and by bearing all of our sins, we may receive liberation from those sins, and find our way to eternal life.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, Our Lord has shown us what it means to love, and He Himself has shown it by what He has done for every single one of us. He loves us all so tenderly, that He did not mind to suffer the pain of the cross, so that by enduring the suffering due for our sins, we may be saved and not perish in hell. This is just how great God’s love is for us, and we should imitate the same love in our own lives. Therefore, first of all, let us love God and put Him at the very centre of our lives, and then, love others just in the same way as we have love God and ourselves.

Let us no longer be selfish and greedy in life, and let us realise that all of our worldly glory and possessions cannot satisfy us, and that they only bring about more sufferings and pains if we continue to desire and crave for them. Instead, let us overcome those selfish desires in us, and learn instead to love more tenderly and generously, and let us all be loving and be willing to share the blessings that we have received from God with one another. Let us be loving just as Christ Our Lord has loved us. Amen.

Thursday, 10 January 2019 : Thursday after the Epiphany (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 4 : 14-22a

At that time, Jesus acted with the power of the Spirit; and on His return to Galilee, the news about Him spread throughout all that territory. He began teaching in the synagogue of the Jews and everyone praised Him.

When Jesus came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, as He usually did. He stood up to read, and they handed Him the book of the prophet Isaiah.

Jesus then unrolled the scroll and found the place where it is written : “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me. He has anointed Me, to bring good news to the poor; to proclaim liberty to captives; and new sight to the blind; to free the oppressed; and to announce the Lord’s year of mercy.”

Jesus then rolled up the scroll, gave it to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. Then He said to them, “Today, these prophetic words come true, even as you listen.” All agreed with Him, and were lost in wonder, while He spoke of the grace of God.

Thursday, 10 January 2019 : Thursday after the Epiphany (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 71 : 1-2, 14 and 15c, 17

God, endow the King with Your justice, the Royal Son with Your righteousness. May He rule Your people justly and defend the rights of the lowly.

He rescues them from oppression and strife, for their life is precious to Him. May people always pray for Him, and blessings be invoked for Him all day.

May His Name endure forever; may His Name be as lasting as the sun. All the races will boast about Him; and He will be praised by all nations.

Thursday, 10 January 2019 : Thursday after the Epiphany (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 John 4 : 19 – 1 John 5 : 4

So let us love one another, since God loved us first. If you say, “I love God,” while you hate your brother or sister, you are a liar. How can you love God, Whom you do not see, if you do not love your brother, whom you see? We received from Him, this commandment : let those who love God also love their brothers.

All those, who believe that Jesus is the Anointed, are born of God; whoever loves the Father, loves the Son. How may we know, that we love the children of God? If we love God and fulfil His commands, for God’s love requires us to keep His commands. In fact, His commandments are not a burden because all those born of God overcome the world. And the victory, which overcomes the world, is our faith.