Wednesday, 30 January 2019 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, as we continue the discourse regarding the High Priesthood of Christ from the Epistle to the Hebrews, we are reminded yet again of the wonders of God’s love that He has willingly sacrificed Himself, offering His own Most Precious Body and Blood as the High Priest of us all, that through this sacred and worthy offering, all of us are freed from the slavery of sin, and receive the renewed grace of God’s love.

He has made a new Covenant with each and every one of us by the outpouring of His Blood and the shedding of His Body on the altar of the cross, sanctified and sealed by that sacrifice, making a Covenant that is everlasting and unbreakable, the Covenant of love between God and His beloved people. And because of His love for us, He willingly embraced that painful and yet loving sacrifice, enduring all the sufferings for our sake, that we may live.

Yet, for all that the Lord has done for our sake, many of us are still incapable of recognising the wonderful gift of this love. And the Lord reminds us about this through the Gospel passage today, in which He told His disciples the famous parable of the sower. In that parable, the Lord told the people of a sower who sowed his seeds which fell on different types of soil and conditions, in each of which, the seeds failed to grow except for the ones that fell on the rich and fertile soil.

Those seeds that the sower spread on the soil, is the Word of God, the faith and the truth that God has brought upon us through His Church and all those who worked hard to spread the Good News and the message of the Gospels of Christ. The sower himself is the Lord, Who sowed good things in us and spread His Good News and truth in our midst, that each and every one of us may grow in our faith and become closer to Him.

Unfortunately, based on what the Lord had gone through with us through the parable, we heard how many of those seeds fell on various types of soil medium, which were not conducive for proper and healthy growth and development of the plants. First of all, the seeds that fell on the roadside were eaten up by birds and therefore did not grow, representing all those who were distracted by the many temptations of life, and chose to follow Satan and his lies instead of following the way that God has shown us.

And then those seeds that fell among thorns and thistles and were strangled by those plants, as well as those that fell on rocky ground and failed to grow deep roots and dried up, were those who had the faith in them and yet, they were unable to grow in faith as the burdens of worldly temptations and the allures of pleasure and human greed caused them to falter and fall, to be made to bow to the pressures of the expectations of our world and our community.

It is only those seeds that fell on the rich and fertile soil that managed to grow into healthy and fruitful plants that bore rich produce and returns, many multiples of what had been planted in the first place. This rich and fertile soil is in fact referring to all those who have allowed God’s words and truth to come into their midst, and not only that, but they also internalised and understood those words and their meaning, and making them integral part of their lives.

That is how the Lord’s grace, love and blessings can bear fruit within us, and make us to be bountiful and great, when we allow God to enter into our hearts and minds, and transform us completely from the inside out. And thus, brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us are called to love God in the same manner as He has loved us all so deeply and wonderfully, that He has laid down His own life for our sake, offering for our salvation, the perfect offering of His own Most Precious Body and Blood as our Eternal High Priest.

Let us all turn towards the Lord from now on, loving Him and devoting ourselves to Him, each and every days of our life. Let us all open our hearts and minds, to allow God to enter into our lives, changing us and transforming us to become His worthy and beloved servants, and His wonderful people from now on. May God bless us all and our every endeavours, and may He be with us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 4 : 1-20

At that time, Jesus began to teach by the lake; but such a large crowd gathered about Him, that He got into a boat and sat in it on the lake, while the crowd stood on the shore. He taught them many things through parables. In His teaching, He said, “Listen! The sower went out to sow. As he sowed, some of the seed fell along a path; and the birds came and ate it up.”

“Some of the seed fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil; it sprang up immediately, because it had no depth; but when the sun rose and burnt it, it withered, because it had no roots. Other seed fell among thorn bushes; and the thorns grew and choked it; so it did not produce any grain.”

“But some seed fell on good soil, grew and increased and yielded grain; some seed produced thirty times as much, some sixty, and some one hundred times as much.” And Jesus added, “Listen then, if you have ears.”

When the crowd went away, some who were around Him with the Twelve asked about the parables. He answered them, “The mystery of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But for those outside, everything comes in parables, so, that, the more they see, they do not perceive; the more they hear, they do not understand; otherwise they would be converted and pardoned.”

Jesus said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How, then, will you understand any of the parables? What the sower is sowing is the word. Those along the path, where the seed fell, are people who hear the word, but as soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.”

“Other people receive the word like rocky ground. As soon as they hear the word, they accept it with joy. But they have no roots, so it lasts only a little while. No sooner does trouble or persecution come because of the word, than they fall. Others receive the seed, as seed among thorns. After they hear the word, they are caught up in the worries of this life, false hope of riches and other desires. All these come in and choke the word, so that finally it produces nothing.”

“And there are others who receive the word as good soil. They hear the word, take it to heart and produce : some thirty, some sixty, and some one hundred times as much.”

Wednesday, 30 January 2019 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 109 : 1, 2, 3, 4

The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand till I make Your foes Your footstool.”

From Zion the Lord will extend Your mighty sceptre and You will rule in the midst of Your enemies.

Yours is royal dignity from the day You were born in holy majesty. Like dew from the womb of the dawn, I have begotten You.

The Lord has sworn, and He will not take back His word : “You are a Priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.”

Wednesday, 30 January 2019 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Hebrews 10 : 11-18

So, whereas every priest stands, daily, by the Altar, offering, repeatedly, the same sacrifices, that can never take away sins, Christ has offered, for all times, a single sacrifice for sins, and has taken His seat at the right hand of God, waiting, until God puts His enemies as a footstool under His feet. By a single sacrifice He has brought those who are sanctified to what is perfect forever.

This also was testified by the Holy Spirit. For after having declared : This is the Covenant that I will make with them in the days to come – says the Lord – I will put My Laws in their hearts and write them on their minds. He says : Their sins and evil deeds I will remember no more. So, if sins are forgiven, there is no longer need of any sacrifice for sin.