Monday, 15 February 2021 : 6th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we listened to the words of the Scripture all of us are reminded of the need for us to be vigilant and to be careful not to allow ourselves to be swayed by the temptations of pride and desire, lest we may end up falling into sin as what our predecessors had experienced, in them falling deep into sinful ways and in failing to acknowledge the Lord’s truth.

In our first reading today we heard of the story of Cain and Abel, the two sons of Adam and Eve, who was known because Cain killed Abel out of jealousy and anger, when he saw that his offerings were not accepted by God while the offerings of Abel was accepted by the Lord. As a result, man fell deeper into sin, as they allowed the temptations to sin, their desire and anger to control them and their actions.

Cain was overcome with jealousy and anger, as he despised the fact that his younger brother got the better of him, and despite their close relationship by blood as brothers, this led to Cain murdering Abel, a grievous and mortal sin, done consciously and by Cain’s own free will. And initially, he did not even show remorse as shown when God confronted Cain, he refused to admit his vile deed.

Cain was overcome by those temptations, the temptations of pride and ego, not willing to lose to his brother and that led him down the path of no return, falling deep into sin. But yet, as we heard, the Lord was still patient and loving even towards Cain, that when he pleaded with the Lord for the punishment that he had to bore, God protected him from anyone who would harm him or wanted to kill him.

Then, we heard how in the Gospel passage today, the Lord Jesus was confronted by the Pharisees who stubbornly refused to believe in Him and did all they could to sow doubts and disagreements before Him, in trying to prevent others from following the Lord. They challenged the Lord in many occasions and as we heard, they also demanded signs and wonders from the Lord, to perform great miracles before them, often saying that they would not believe unless they had seen the wonders of the Lord.

In truth, the Lord Himself had performed many miracles beforehand, and the Pharisees themselves often witnessed the signs and wonders that He had done. Yet, they still could not believe or refused to believe in the Lord because they could not resist the temptations and the pressure of their own pride and ego, all the things that kept them resisting the Lord’s call and love. We can see in all these how dangerous and wicked sin can be, in leading us down the wrong path in life.

At the same time, we are also reassured that the Lord has always been patient with us, in loving us and in wanting to be reconciled with us. Yet, all those temptations and our predispositions to sin, our weakness and willingness to embrace the actions that lead us to sin make us truly vulnerable. Unless we are vigilant and do our best to resist those temptations, we may find it difficult to avoid falling deeper and deeper to sin.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all learn from the experiences of our predecessors, their shortcomings and all that we have learnt and the truth about the Lord’s love and providence to strengthen our desire and resolve in following the Lord and to be righteous in all of our actions and deeds. Let us all not fall again into the same trap that Cain, the Pharisees and many others had fallen into, and entrust ourselves to the Lord with a new faith and a renewed love for Him.

May God be with us always, and may He strengthen us all in faith, that we may draw ever closer to Him and His ways. May He empower us all to be good and dedicated Christians at all times. May God bless us all, and may He be our Guide at all times. Amen.

Monday, 15 February 2021 : 6th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 8 : 11-13

At that time, the Pharisees came and started to argue with Jesus. Hoping to embarrass Him, they asked for some heavenly sign. Then His Spirit was moved. He gave a deep sigh and said, “Why do the people of this present time ask for a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this people.”

Then He left them, got into the boat again and went to the other side of the lake.

Monday, 15 February 2021 : 6th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 49 : 1 and 8, 16bc-17, 20-21

The God of gods, the Lord has spoken, He summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting. Not for your sacrifices do I reprove you, for your burnt offerings are ever before Me.

What right have you to mouth My laws, or to talk about My covenant? You hate My commands and cast My words behind you.

You speak ill of your brother, and slander your own mother’s son. Because I was silent while you did these things, you thought I was like you. But now I rebuke you and make this charge against you.

Monday, 15 February 2021 : 6th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Genesis 4 : 1-15, 25

Adam had intercourse with Eve his wife; she became pregnant and gave birth to a child. She named him Cain, for she said, “I have got a man with help from YHVH.” She later gave birth to Abel, his brother. Abel was a shepherd and kept flocks, and Cain tilled the soil.

It happened after a time that Cain brought fruits of the soil as an offering to YHVH. Abel for his part brought the firstborn of his flock, and some fat as well. Now YHVH was well pleased with Abel and his offering, but towards Cain and his offering He showed no pleasure. This made Cain very angry and downcast.

Then YHVH said to Cain, “Why are you angry and downcast? If you do right, why do you not look up? But if you are not doing what is right, sin is lurking at the door. It is striving to get you, but you must control it.”

Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let us go to the fields.” Once there, Cain turned on his brother Abel and killed him. YHVH said to Cain, “Where is your brother, Abel?” He answered, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?”

YHVH asked, “What have you done? Your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground. Now be cursed and driven from the ground that has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood that your hand had shed. When you till the soil, it will no longer yield you its produce. You will be a fugitive wandering on the earth.”

Cain said to YHVH, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. See! Today You drive me from this land. I must hide from You and be a wanderer and a fugitive on the earth, and it will so happen that whoever meets me will kill me.” YHVH said to him, “Well then, whoever kills Cain, will suffer vengeance seven times.” And YHVH put a mark on Cain to prevent anyone who met him from killing him.

Adam again had intercourse with his wife and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth; for she said, “YHVH has given me another child in place of Abel since Cain killed him.”