Saturday, 15 February 2020 : 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 as we listened to the words of the Scripture we are all reminded that we have to learn to trust in God and in His providence, and not to give in to fear and uncertainty, or else we may end up taking the wrong actions and walking down the wrong path, ending up with sin against God. In our first reading today, this was exemplified by the story of the king of Israel, Jeroboam, while in our Gospel we heard of the account of the miraculous feeding of the four thousand.

In the first reading, king Jeroboam, who was chosen by God to lead the ten tribes of the Israelites in opposition to king Rehoboam of Judah, began to take things into his own hands and disobey God. He feared that the people of Israel, who at that time according to the Law still had to go to the Temple in Jerusalem to offer sacrifices to God, would then be touched and made to return their allegiance and love to the house of David instead of to Jeroboam.

As such, Jeroboam took drastic actions in making for his own kingdom two sites where golden idols were built and put as the focus of worship, and he appointed priests of his own, not in accordance to the Law which stipulated that the priests could only come from the descendants of Aaron and the Levites. And Jeroboam himself offered the sacrifice on the heathen altar he has built for the purpose of the worship of those golden idols.

Through this action, king Jeroboam led the people to sin against God, and the root of his folly was because of his fear and pride, that allowed him to be tempted by Satan to establish a rival worship centre, that did not even worship God but golden idols instead, a mockery of God and a reminder of how the Israelites first sinned at Mount Sinai when they worshipped the golden calf instead of God.

We see here what can happen when we allow ourselves to be swayed by fear and pride, as king Jeroboam was afraid that he would soon lose control over his kingdom and his people would betray him to the rightful kings in Judah, if he allowed them to continue the rightful and legitimate worship of God in Jerusalem. He was likely also too proud to admit that he had to depend or trust in God, and therefore, took matter to his own hands.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, it was this same fear and uncertainty that the disciples of the Lord also faced when they saw the multitudes of people gathered to hear their Lord and Master, as described in our Gospel reading today. The Lord wanted them to have food because many of them had been following Him for days and there were not much food in the area, and neither did those people bring sufficient food with them for sustenance.

The disciples were worried and concerned, fearing that they would not be able to get enough food for the people. In another occasion, the disciples estimated that it would have cost quite a lot of money to get sufficient food to feed all the whole multitudes of people. But the Lord Jesus then showed all of them that they really do not need to be afraid or be fearful, but rather, they must learn to trust in God.

That was when the Lord performed the amazing miracle, breaking merely seven loaves of bread, and yet, the whole multitude of four thousand men and many more women and children were fed until they were all full and satisfied, with plenty of leftovers to spare. He showed all of us that as long as we have faith in Him and trust in Him, He will provide what we truly need, and we have to learn to trust in Him and not in our own often flawed human instincts and judgements.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, through what we have heard in today’s readings from the Scripture, let us all reflect on our own lives and discern how we can be more faithful from now on. Let us all deepen our faith and build a stronger and better relationship with our God from now on. And may the Lord be with us always, and may He bless us in our many efforts and works, giving us the strength and courage to be ever faithful in all things in life. Amen.

Saturday, 15 February 2020 : 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 afterward, 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, and they picked up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. 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, 15 February 2020 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

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

Psalm 105 : 6-7a, 19-20, 21-22

We have sinned like our ancestors; we have done wrong and acted wickedly. When they were in Egypt, our ancestors had no regard for Your wondrous deeds.

They made a calf at Horeb and worshipped the molten image. They exchanged the glory of God for the image of a bull that eats grass.

They forgot their Saviour God, Who had done great things in Egypt, wonderful works in the land of Ham, and awesome deeds by the Sea of Reeds.

Saturday, 15 February 2020 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

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

1 Kings 12 : 26-32 and 1 Kings 13 : 33-34

Jeroboam thought, “The kingdom could return to the house of David. Should this people go up to offer sacrifices in YHVH’s House in Jerusalem, their heart would turn again to their master, Rehoboam king of Judah. They would kill me and go back to him.”

And so the king sought advice and made two golden calves. Then he said to the people, “You have been going up to Jerusalem long enough. Here are your gods, o Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.” He put one of these in Bethel, the other in Dan. This caused Israel to sin; the people went to Bethel and Dan to worship the calves.

Jeroboam also built temples on high places, appointing priests who were not from the Levites. Jeroboam also appointed a feast on the fifteenth day of the eighth month in imitation of the feast in Judah, and he himself offered sacrifices on the altar. This he did in Bethel; and sacrificed to the calves that he had made. There he placed priests for the high places he had made.

After this, however, Jeroboam did not abstain from doing evil. Instead he made priests for the high places from among the people. He consecrated anyone who wanted to be a priest for the high places. And this became the sin of the family of Jeroboam for which it was to be cut off and destroyed from the face of the earth.