Tuesday, 5 March 2019 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, we listened to the words of God reminding us that to be faithful to God, we must give everything to the Lord, not in terms of offering money or certain forms of offerings or gifts, as what some of us would think wrongly, but instead, the total gift of ourselves, our whole hearts and minds, our whole beings, loving God with everything we have, with all of our strength and might.

That is what the prophet Sirach told us in his Book, as we listened to him speaking about the matter of offering and giving of oneself before God. We are told to come before the Lord with offerings and gifts to Him, and not to come before Him empty-handed. But to God, the offering He desires from us is not the fattiest and the best animal offerings, as how it was understood at the time of the prophet Sirach, but rather, the offering of ourselves, God’s beloved children.

And this is in conjunction with what we have heard in today’s Gospel passage, when we heard the disciples of the Lord, led by St. Peter, who told Him how they had given up everything in order to follow Jesus. The context of this statement is that, just prior to the disciples speaking up about their commitments, the Lord encountered a young and rich man who said that he wanted to follow Jesus, but only to leave in sorrow when the Lord asked him to leave everything behind to follow Him.

Given this context, the disciples wanted to contrast the rich and young man’s inability to separate himself from his great wealth and his greater love for his worldly possessions than his love for the Lord, with their own commitment, and how many of them have left behind families, wealth, status and every worldly goodness in order to follow Jesus. And the Lord affirmed them in their dedication, by saying that no one who has devoted himself or herself to the Lord will be disappointed, for God Himself will take care of them.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are all reminded that we have been called by God to serve Him with all of our hearts, and to give of ourselves, from the depths of our whole being. The disciples of the Lord have left behind everything to serve the Lord, because God has called them to be missionaries to preach the truth and the Good News, to call more people to accept the faith. They have dedicated themselves to the service of God, offering the best they could offer to the Lord.

But each and every one of us have also been given unique gifts in all of their varieties. As St. Paul said in his Epistle to the Corinthians, not everyone is called to be an Apostle, and neither is everyone called to be a miracle worker or a healer, or a preacher or a missionary. Instead, each and every one of us have been given unique gifts, that we may offer them and commit ourselves to the Lord in our own unique calling in life.

The problem is such that many of us are unwilling to dedicate ourselves, that we do not make use of our talents and gifts for the sake of the Lord’s glory. And the main reasons for this is that, we are either too focused on our own desires and our own self-gratification, that we end up not using our talents and gifts for the right purpose. And then, many of us are also like the young and rich man, whose attachments to worldliness prevented him from devoting himself to God.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, are we able and are we willing to dedicate ourselves to the Lord, offering the best that we can give from ourselves, be it our time, our effort, our support and our devotion? Are we able to respond to God’s call in our lives with a resounding commitment from now on? Let us all respond to God’s call with a positive attitude, and with a desire to love Him and to serve Him and His people, our fellow men, with sincerity and genuine faith, from now on and always.

May God bless each and every one of us in our efforts, and may He continue to strengthen us that we may always be faithful to Him in all the things we do in our daily lives. Amen.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 10 : 28-31

At that time, Peter spoke up and said, “We have given up everything to follow You.” Jesus answered, “Truly, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters, or father or mother, or children, or lands, for My sake and for the Gospel, who will not receive his reward.”

“I say to you : even in the midst of persecution, he will receive a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and lands in the present time, and in the world to come eternal life. Do pay attention : many who are now first will be last, and the last, first.”

Tuesday, 5 March 2019 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 49 : 5-6, 7-8, 14 and 23

Gather before Me My faithful ones, who made a covenant with Me by sacrifice. The heavens will proclaim His sentence, for God Himself is the Judge.

Hear, o My people, for I am speaking. I will accuse You, o Israel, I am God, your God! Not for your sacrifices do I reprove you, for your burnt offerings are ever before Me.

Yet offer to God a sacrifice of thanks, and fulfil your vows to the Most High. Those who give with thanks offerings honour Me, but the one who walks blamelessly, I will show him the salvation of God.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Sirach 35 : 1-15

Keeping the Law is worthy many offerings. Being faithful to the commandments is like a peace offering. Returning kindness is an offering of fine flour; giving alms is a sacrifice of praise. Renouncing sin pleases the Lord, and shunning injustice is a sacrifice of atonement.

Do not appear before the Lord with empty hands. The commandment requires that you bring an offering. When the offering of the righteous is burnt on the altar, the fat drips down and a fragrant aroma rises to the Most High. The sacrifice of the just man pleases God and will not be forgotten. Honour the Lord with a generous heart and do not be stingy with the first fruits of your harvest.

Offer your gifts with a smiling face and when you pay your tithes do it gladly. Give to the Most High as He has given to you; give generously to the Lord according to what you have; the Lord will repay, He will reward you sevenfold. If you attempt to bribe Him with gifts He will not accept them; do not rely on offerings from dishonest gain.

The Lord is Judge and shows no partiality. He will not disadvantage the poor, He Who hears the prayer of the oppressed. He does not disdain the plea of the orphan, nor the complaint of the widow. When tears flow down her cheeks, is she not crying out against the one who caused her to weep?