Sunday, 31 January 2021 : Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday as we listened to the readings of the Sacred Scripture, we are all presented with the assurance from God that if we focus our attention on Him, put our faith in Him and entrust ourselves to Him, in the end we have nothing to worry about, and we should not allow worldly concerns and temptations to distract us, or worse still, drag us away from the path towards redemption.

In order to understand properly the readings of the Scripture today, which may not be so easily evident and understandable, we have to understand first the context of how they were written and recorded. First of all, regarding the first reading from the Book of Deuteronomy in which Moses addressed the people of Israel and promised them the coming of the great Prophet that would come from their midst, he was in fact speaking about the future coming of Christ.

Why is that so? That is because, Christ, our Lord and Saviour was born among the Israelites, as the Heir of king David no less, and He was the One promised by the Lord and prophesied by the many prophets, and that included even Moses and his proclamation, that even all those years ago, before the Israelites even reached the Promised Land and established themselves, God had begun to reveal His plan of salvation to them.

And most importantly, as we heard in our Psalm today as well, the mention of Massah and Meribah was significant as these two places were especially infamous in the history of the Exodus, as it was at Massah and Meribah that the people of God explicitly rebelled against the Lord and refused to obey Him, complaining that they did not have enough to eat and how their lives as slaves back in Egypt were better than when they were then at, in the desert.

All of these happened even though the Lord had generously taken very good care of them, providing them with food to eat, with the manna from heaven and the flocks of large birds daily along the entire journey, as well as water to drink in the middle of the mostly dry, barren and lifeless desert. The Lord had loved His people very much, and yet they had rejected Him and rose up against Him, again and again.

We also heard Moses mentioning about Mount Horeb, the place where the Israelites had come to gather and make a Covenant between them and God. That was also the place where God established His Law and gave them the Ten Commandments through Moses. However, I am sure we also remember how at that very moment, the Israelites had also distrusted the Lord yet another time, when they turned to a golden calf idol as they thought that the Lord had abandoned them when Moses went up the mountain for forty days to receive God’s Law.

We have seen how faithless the people of God had been, many times throughout their history, even through the relatively short period of the Exodus. Many of those were caused by their failure to resist the temptations and pressure to crave the desires of the world, the temptations of pleasures and money, the desires of the flesh among many other things. That was why they turned away from God.

Finally, in our Gospel passage today we heard the Lord Jesus, His works and preaching, as the fulfilment of God’s promises and the One Whom Moses and the other prophets had mentioned. And when men possessed by the evil spirits came to Him, the evil spirits even recognised the Lord and proclaimed Him as the Holy One of God, the Son of God and Saviour of the world. And the irony is how those evil spirits recognised and proclaimed the Lord when many among the people to whom the Lord had taught and performed miracles still refused to believe in Him and doubted Him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore today, as we listened through the Scripture passages, we are all called to reflect on the nature and importance of our faith in our daily lives. Have we been truly faithful to God and have we trusted Him wholly all these time? These are some things that we really should spend time pondering on, and we need to consider how we can grow ever more in our faith and commitment.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we continue to progress in life, let us all be exemplary in our actions and in how we reach out to one another, to share our faith with our fellow brothers and sisters. If we ourselves have not been truly faithful then how can we expect others to be faithful as well? The Lord is calling on all of us to turn towards Him with faith, and to be true and genuine witnesses of our Christian faith, our belief in Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour of all.

Let us all be filled with God’s grace and love; and let us do our best in our every moments in life to lead one another towards the salvation in God. May the Lord give us the strength and the courage to continue walking ever more faithfully in His path from now on. May He bless all of our works and our interactions, that we may call ever more souls from the darkness of this world and into the eternal light and glory in God. Amen.

Sunday, 31 January 2021 : Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 1 : 21b-28

At that time, Jesus taught in the synagogue on the Sabbath day. The people were astonished at the way He taught, for He spoke as One having authority, and not like the teachers of the Law.

It happened that, a man with an evil spirit was in their synagogue, and he shouted, “What do You want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know Who You are : You are the Holy One of God.”

Then Jesus faced him and said with authority, “Be silent, and come out of this man!” The evil spirit shook the man violently and, with a loud shriek, came out of him. All the people were astonished, and they wondered, “What is this? With what authority He preaches! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey Him!”

And Jesus’ fame spread throughout all the country of Galilee.

Sunday, 31 January 2021 : Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Corinthians 7 : 32-35

I would like you to be free from anxieties. He who is not married is concerned about the things of the Lord and how to please the Lord. While he who is married is taken up with the things of the world and how to please his wife, and he is divided in his interests.

Likewise, the unmarried woman and the virgin are concerned with the service of the Lord, to be holy in body and spirit. The married woman, instead, worries about the things of the world and how to please her husband.

I say this for your own good. I do not wish to lay traps for you, but to lead you to a beautiful life, entirely united with the Lord.

Sunday, 31 January 2021 : Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 94 : 1-2, 6-7, 8-9

Come, let us sing to YHVH, let us make a joyful sound to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before Him giving thanks, with music and songs of praise.

Come and worship; let us bow down, kneel before YHVH, our Maker. He is our God, and we, His people; the flock He leads and pastures. Would, that today, you heard His voice!

Do not be stubborn, as at Meribah, in the desert, on that day at Massah, when your ancestors challenged Me, and they put Me to the test.

Sunday, 31 January 2021 : Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Deuteronomy 18 : 15-20

Moses said to the people of Israel, “He will raise up for you a prophet like myself from among the people, from your brothers, to whom you shall listen. Remember that in Horeb, on the day of the Assembly, you said : ‘I am afraid to die and I do not want to hear the voice of YHVH again or see again the great fire.’”

“So YHVH said to me : ‘They have spoken well. I shall raise up a prophet from their midst, one of their brothers, who will be like you. I will put My words into his mouth and he will tell them all that I command. If someone does not listen to My words when the prophet speaks on My behalf, I Myself will call him to account for it. But any prophet who says in My Name anything that I did not command, or speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’”