Tuesday, 21 February 2017 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Peter Damian, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day all of us heard the passages from the Sacred Scriptures telling us the true meaning of being a servant of God, as those who have been called to serve Him and to be the instruments of His will in this world. Through all of these God is telling us the true meaning of service, and how we ought to serve Him with all of our heart.

As those who follow the Lord, all of us Christians must be humble in heart and be patient, as the persecutions and sufferings of this world will come to us for sure, and we will face many obstacles on our path, but we must persevere through or else we will fall into temptation and into sin. We must help one another in our path, and we must remain true to our calling as Christians, to be what the Lord had shown us all to do.

Jesus Himself had shown us the way forward, as He showed it through His own actions in life. He is a King, Lord and Master over the whole universe, over all of creation, and yet, He has willingly emptied Himself of His majesty, and came down to us in the form of a Man, taking up our own flesh, so that He might walk among us, and through His works, and by the ultimate sacrifice He made on the cross, all of us can be saved.

While the disciples grumbled and debated among themselves, on who among them ought to be the greatest and the first among all of them, Jesus showed them that in order to follow Him and become His disciple, all must learn humility, obedience and faith, just as Jesus Himself was humble and obedient, obeying the will of His Father, and enduring everything so that by His humble obedience, He became the source of salvation and hope for so many people.

Jesus is teaching us all the meaning of servant leadership. As a leader, truly as the Lord and Master of all, He did not lord it over all those who had been placed under His care. Instead, He showed genuine care and love for them, and He gave Himself wholeheartedly as their leader, guide and shepherd. That was why He represented Himself as the Good Shepherd, Who was willing to even lay down His life for His sheep, namely all of His beloved people.

He humbled Himself before all, even to the point of washing His disciples’ feet. Even though some of them like St. Peter objected to this, but Jesus explained to them through His action the true meaning of service and love. He Himself said that He has done that in order to be followed by His disciples, the action of selflessness and loving one another.

He showed us all that as Christians, we should not act proudly or arrogantly, and we should not boast of our own strength, ability and achievements. Otherwise, we are not true Christians in the sense that, we are not doing what Jesus Himself had done. Instead, to be a true Christian means for us to be selfless in all of our words, actions and deeds, putting others ahead of ourselves, and to love others genuinely, showing real care and concern for each other’s well-being.

Today, we also celebrate the feast day of one of the great saints of the Church, namely St. Peter Damian, a renowned holy and pious man, and also a Benedictine monk whose role in the reforms of the Church approximately more that nine centuries ago could not be overlooked. He was an important part of the effort to reform the practices of the Church led by the Pope at that time, who also appointed St. Peter Damian to be one of the Cardinals of the Church.

As a Cardinal, St. Peter Damian was very influential, and indeed, that position was supposed to bring him great honour, prestige and power, as well as authority and influence. Yet, even though he has been given such a great honour by the Church, he remained very humble and dedicated, and unlike some others who were tempted by the worldly glory and all the temptations of worldliness, wealth and other vices.

He continued to devote his time and efforts to help reform the Church, and through his efforts and writings, he helped to make the Church a more holy place and a more holy institution free from the corruption of the world. His humility and piety were noted by many others, who were also inspired to follow in his footsteps, making the whole Church more committed and true to its roots in the Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all renew our commitment together to live more faithfully as Christians, following all the ways of our Lord, being humble in all things and obey all the laws and commandments of our God. May the Lord help us, and through the intercession of St. Peter Damian, may we grow ever closer to God and be ever more faithful, every days of our life. God bless us all. Amen.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Peter Damian, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)
Mark 9 : 30-37

At that time, after leaving the place where He cast out evil spirit from a deaf and dumb boy, Jesus and His disciples made their way through Galilee, but He did not want people to know where He was because He was teaching His disciples. And He told them, “The Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill Him, but three days after He has been killed, He will rise.”

The disciples, however, did not understand these words and they were afraid to ask Him what He meant. They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house, Jesus asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they did not answer, because they had been arguing about who was the greatest.

Then He sat down, called the Twelve and said to them, “If someone wants to be first, let him be last of all and servant of all.” Then He took a little child, placed him in their midst, and putting His arms around him, He said to them, “Whoever welcomes a child such as this in My Name, welcomes Me; and whoever welcomes Me, welcomes not Me but the One Who sent Me.”

Tuesday, 21 February 2017 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Peter Damian, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)
Psalm 36 : 3-4, 18-19, 27-28, 39-40

Trust in the Lord and do good, dwell in the land and live on it. Make the Lord your delight, and He will grant your heart’s desire.

The Lord watches over the lives of the upright; forever will their inheritance abide. They are not crushed in times of calamity; when famine strikes, they still are satisfied.

Do good and shun evil, so that you will live secure forever. For the Lord loves justice and right, and never forsakes His faithful ones. The wicked instead will perish and their breed will be cut off.

The Lord is the salvation of the righteous; in time of distress, He is their refuge. The Lord helps them, and rescues them from the oppressor; He saves them for they sought shelter in Him.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Peter Damian, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)
Sirach 2 : 1-13 (Greek Septuagint version – Sirach 2 : 1-11)

My son, if you have decided to serve the Lord, prepare yourselves for trials. Keep your heart upright and remain resolute; do not be upset in the time of adversity. Hold fast to the Lord, do not separate yourself from Him so that you may be successful to the end of your days.

Accept all that happens to you, be patient when you are humbled, for as gold is tested in the fire, so those acceptable to God are tested in the crucible of humiliation. Have confidence in Him and He will take care of you; follow the right path and hope in Him.

You who fear the Lord, wait for His mercy and do not turn away lest you fall. You who fear the Lord, trust Him and you will not lose your reward. You who fear the Lord, hope for all good things; hope for eternal joy and mercy. Remember what happened to your ancestors. Who has ever trusted in the Lord and been confounded? Who has persevered in fear of the Lord and been abandoned? Who has called upon Him and not been heard?

For the Lord is compassion and loving kindness; He forgives our sins and saves us in time of distress.