Saturday, 13 February 2021 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard the downfall of man, who have disobeyed the Lord and chose to listen to the lies of the devil, and as a result, committed sin against God and was banished from the Gardens of Eden, where they should have remained and lived in great bliss and joy with the Lord. Yet, through what we have heard today we are also reminded that nonetheless, God still loved us even with our imperfections and with our disobedience, as His love endured throughout to even this very day.

In our first reading today we heard of the story of Adam and Eve, and their expulsion from Eden because of their disobedience in eating of the fruits of the forbidden Tree of knowledge of good and evil, in direct contradiction to the Lord’s instructions to keep away from the tree. Satan was also punished and cursed, but one important difference is that, while because of their sins, mankind must then suffer, but God did not abandon them or want them to be destroyed. On the contrary, from that very beginning He has proclaimed how He would save them all and liberate them from the clutches of the evil one.

The devil would be crushed by the woman, although he would have the chance to strike at the sons and daughters of man. And this salvation came through Mary, the woman who was prophesied and expected, to be the mother of the Messiah or Saviour. The Saviour Himself is Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Divine Word Incarnate, Son of God, born in the flesh to walk amongst us and to gather us all to Himself. Through Christ all of us have received a new hope of true happiness and eternal life, one that is everlasting and will never end.

The Lord could have destroyed us all outright for our disobedience and sins, and for all the stubbornness that we have shown Him all throughout time and history. We have committed so many wicked deeds and made so many others to suffer in order to satisfy our own selfish desires and ambitions that we should have deserved annihilation and destruction. Yet, the Lord was still willing to give us chance and to patiently guide us down the right path towards Him. We have wronged Him so much and yet, He still loved us equally if not even more.

In our Gospel reading today we heard how this love was manifested in some form as the Lord famously performed His miracle of the feeding of the four thousand men and many other thousands of women and children with just seven loaves of bread. At that time, the people had been following the Lord for many days without having proper sustenance as the place where they gathered were not really convenient for them to obtain food and other necessities.

But the Lord had pity on them, and looked on them with great compassion, in not just teaching them and helping them to find their way, as a Shepherd guiding the lost sheep, but He also provided them with the sustenance until they all had enough to eat and were fully satisfied with much leftovers to spare. Through this act of great love and rich in symbolism, God wants us all to know that we are truly beloved by Him and are precious to Him, without exception.

To this end, not only that the Lord fed His people with the loaves of bread, but through His ultimate and most loving sacrifice on the Cross, He gave them the best gift of all in His own Most Precious Body and Blood, the Bread of Life offered freely for us that all of us who partake in Him may receive new life through Him and be justified through Him. The Lord truly loved us so much that He was willing to go through all that just to lead us out of our predicament and be reconciled with us again.

Now, what are we then going to do with our lives, since we know just how much God has blessed us and just how fortunate we are? Are we going to continue to be stubborn and refuse His compassion and mercy? Or are we going to embrace Him like that of a prodigal son embracing his father, seeking for forgiveness and renewed relationship and love? The choice is indeed ours, brothers and sisters in Christ, whether we want to choose life over death, and eternal life over eternal damnation.

Let us all seek the Lord with a new zeal and spirit from now on, strengthened and encouraged by all that the love of God has done for us. Let us all walk with Him once again and strive to live worthily of Him, that in following Him and being faithful to Him, we will finally receive the glory and eternal joy that we have been promised and which we have been intended to live in, now and forevermore. May God bless us always, in all things. Amen.

Saturday, 13 February 2021 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Mark 8 : 1-10

At that time, soon afterwards Jesus was in the midst of another large crowd, that obviously had nothing to eat. So He called His disciples and said to them, “I feel sorry for these people, because they have been with Me for three days and now have nothing to eat. If I send them to their homes hungry, they will faint on the way; some of them have come a long way.”

His disciples replied, “Where, in a deserted place like this, could we get enough bread to feed these people?” He asked them, “How many loaves have you?” And they answered, “Seven.” Then He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground. Taking the seven loaves and giving thanks, He broke them, and handed them to His disciples to distribute. And they distributed them among the people. They also had some small fish, so Jesus said a blessing, and asked that these be shared as well.

The people ate and were satisfied. The broken pieces were collected, seven wicker baskets full of leftovers. Now those who had eaten were about four thousand in number. Jesus sent them away, and immediately got into the boat with His disciples, and went to the region of Dalmanutha.

Saturday, 13 February 2021 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Psalm 89 : 2, 3-4, 5-6, 12-13

Before the mountains were formed, before You made the earth and the world, from eternity to eternity – You are God.

You turn humans back to dust, saying, “Return, o mortals!” A thousand years in Your sight are like a day that has passed, or like a watch in the night.

You sow them in their time, at dawn they peep out. In the morning they blossom, but the flower fades and withers in the evening.

So make us know the shortness of our life, that we may gain wisdom of heart. How long will you be angry, o Lord? Have mercy on Your servant.

Saturday, 13 February 2021 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Genesis 3 : 9-24

YHVH God called the man saying to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard Your voice in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.” God said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree I ordered you not to eat?”

The man answered, “The woman You put with me gave me fruit from the tree and I ate it.” God said to the woman, “What have you done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me and I ate.”

YHVH God said to the serpent, “Since you have done that, be cursed among all the cattle and wild beasts! You will crawl on your belly and eat dust all the days of your life. I will make you enemies, you and the woman, your offspring and her offspring. He will crush your head and you will strike his heel.”

To the woman, God said, “I will increase your suffering in childbearing, and you will give birth to your children in pain. You will be dependent on your husband and he will lord it over you.” To the man, He said, “Because you have listened to your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I forbade you to eat, cursed be the soil because of you! In suffering you will provide food for yourself from it, all the days of your life.”

“It will produce thorn and thistle for you and you will eat the plants of the field. With sweat on your face you will eat your bread, until you return to clay, since it was from clay that you were taken, for you are dust and to dust you shall return.”

The man called his wife by the name of Eve, because she was the mother of all the living. YHVH God made garments of skin for the man and his wife, and with these He clothed them. Then YHVH God said, “Man has now become like one of Us making himself judge of good and evil. Let him not stretch out his hand to take and eat from the tree of life as well, and live forever.”

So God cast him from the garden of Eden to till the soil from which he had been made. And after having driven the man out, God posted Cherubim and a flaming sword that kept turning at the east of the garden of Eden to guard the way to the tree of Life.