Wednesday, 17 February 2021 : Ash Wednesday (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 8 : 14-21

At that time, the disciples had forgotten to bring more bread, and had only one loaf with the in the boat. Then Jesus warned them, “Keep your eyes open, and beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod.” And they said of one another, “He saw that we have no bread.”

Aware of this, Jesus asked them, “Why are you talking about the loaves you are short of? Do you not see or understand? Are your minds closed? Have your eyes that do not see and ears that do not hear? And do you not remember when I broke the five loaves among five thousand? How many baskets full of letfovers did you collect?”

They answered, “Twelve.” “And having distributed seven loaves to the four thousand, how many wicker baskets of leftovers did you collect?” They answered, “Seven.” Then Jesus said to them, “Do you still not understand?”

Tuesday, 16 February 2021 : 6th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard from the Word of God, the story of the Great Flood that happened during the early history of mankind, which came about due to the sins and wickedness committed by man, so much so that out of all humanity, only Noah and his immediate family alone were considered righteous and just. Then in the Gospel passage today, the Lord reminded His disciples of everything He had done in the past two miracles He performed in feeding five thousand men and four thousand men respectively.

Through these Scripture readings, the Lord wanted to remind us that while we may be so stubborn and hard-hearted in refusing to accept Him and His truth, in our constant disobedience and rebellion against His will, He still remembers us and wants us to be reconciled to Him. He loved us all even when we disobeyed Him and ignored Him from time to time, again and again. Of course there is a limit to God’s patience, and if we continued on to reject Him, eventually it will be too late for us. But meanwhile, God keeps on trying to reach out to us.

To that extent, He has rescued Noah and his family, and entrusted to him the future of man, when He wiped the world clean of all the wickedness of the other sons and daughters of mankind, all who have consistently and persistently rejected God and His patient offer of mercy and love. He wanted to show us that He does not condemn us because we are human beings, but rather it was because of our sins that we have been condemned for.

He rescued Noah and instructed him to build the Ark because in the end of the day, it was not His desire to see us mankind being destroyed. However, at the same time, our sins and wickedness are great obstacles and barriers that prevent us from finding our way towards the Lord. As long as we persist in our sinful and rebellious ways, we will be constantly resisting Him, rejecting Him and abandoning Him for all sorts of worldly pursuits, ambitions and desires.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard the Lord Jesus speaking to His disciples with regards to the miracles He performed in feeding the five thousand men and four thousand men respectively, in which He fed the people until fully satisfied with just five loaves of bread and two fishes in the former, and seven loaves of bread in the latter, revealing that truly He loved His people that He wanted to take care of them and provide for them, and that was why He asked His disciples if they truly had believed in Him in whatever He had done before them.

Many of the people, including even the disciples were still lacking in faith, and they had not fully put their trust in the Lord either. As a result, they failed to appreciate the full meaning of the miraculous things that had happened before them. The Lord wanted them all to know that the love He has for them endures, and He patiently waited for all of us to return to Him and to be reconciled to Him. But we must allow Him to reach out to us and to touch us in our lives. He has given us plenty of opportunities and chances to do this, and it is unfortunately we who procrastinate, unwilling to commit and unwilling to follow Him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, tomorrow we mark the beginning of the season of Lent, a time of reflection and recollection of our lives. During this period of holy reconciliation, we have been given yet another opportunity to be thankful for the Lord and all that He had done for us. Had He not intervened for our sake and devoted Himself to rescue us from our predicament, we would have perished and be consigned to eternal damnation.

Instead, God emptied and humbled Himself by becoming a Man, and reached out to us through His loving Cross, not just in feeding the multitudes of men and women with bread, but with the Bread of His own Precious Body and Blood, that Bread of Life broken for us and given to us freely, and the Lamb of God, sacrificed and offered for our sake, for the atonement of our sins.

In this upcoming season of Lent, we are all called once again to recall the great love of God which He has generously extended upon us. He has never wavered in His commitment to us, and if only we put our trust and faith in Him, we shall not be disappointed. That is why we have to make good use of this time of Lent to prepare ourselves wholeheartedly and turn with a new spirit and love towards God.

May the Lord be our strength and may He guide us in our journey, that He will help us to persevere well against all the temptations and challenges that may come our way. Let us all commit ourselves to the Covenant that God has made with us out of love, His most generous love, and prepare ourselves, heart and mind that we may make best use of this season of Lent to be ever closer to God. Amen.

Tuesday, 16 February 2021 : 6th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 8 : 14-21

At that time, the disciples had forgotten to bring more bread, and had only one loaf with the in the boat. Then Jesus warned them, “Keep your eyes open, and beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod.” And they said of one another, “He saw that we have no bread.”

Aware of this, Jesus asked them, “Why are you talking about the loaves you are short of? Do you not see or understand? Are your minds closed? Have your eyes that do not see and ears that do not hear? And do you not remember when I broke the five loaves among five thousand? How many baskets full of letfovers did you collect?”

They answered, “Twelve.” “And having distributed seven loaves to the four thousand, how many wicker baskets of leftovers did you collect?” They answered, “Seven.” Then Jesus said to them, “Do you still not understand?”

Tuesday, 16 February 2021 : 6th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 28 : 1a and 2, 3ac-4, 3b and 9b-10

Give the Lord, o sons of God, give the Lord the glory due His Name; worship the Lord in great liturgy.

The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the Lord thunders over vast waters. How powerful is the voice of the Lord, how splendorous is the voice of the Lord.

The God of glory thunders, the Lord strips the forests bare, and in His Temple all cry, “Glory!” Over the flood the Lord was sitting; the Lord is King and He reigns forever.

Tuesday, 16 February 2021 : 6th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Genesis 6 : 5-8 and Genesis 7 : 1-5, 10

YHVH saw how great was the wickedness of man on the earth and that evil was always the only thought of his heart. YHVH regretted having created man on the earth and His heart grieved. He said, “I will destroy man whom I created and blot him out from the face of the earth, as well as the beasts, creeping creatures and birds, for I am sorry I made them.” But Noah was pleasing to God.

YHVH said to Noah, “Go into the Ark, you and all your household, for I see that you are just in this generation. Of all the clean animals, you are to take with you seven of each kind, male and female, and a pair of unclean animals, a male and a female. In the same way for the birds of the air, take seven and seven, male and female, to keep their kind alive over all the earth, for in seven days I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights. I will blot out from the face of the earth all the living creatures I have created.”

Noah did all as YHVH had commanded. And after seven days the waters of the flood were over the earth.