Saturday, 2 March 2019 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Lord through the Scriptures reminding each and every one of us of the importance of remembering the fact that we are God’s beloved children. And God our Father is calling upon us to follow His examples, much as children are expected to take after their parents and follow the examples of their fathers. We are all special, having been created, as mentioned in our first reading passage today, in the very image of God Himself.

It is indeed so special that we are called God’s children, among all the creatures of the Lord’s creation. Not even the Angels, the mightiest among them, are called the children of God. For we are the crowning glory of God’s works of creation and we are the pinnacle of His wonders and power. Yet, we are also great sorrows that the Lord had experienced, because instead of obeying Him and listening to Him, we chose to wander off into the path of sin, and became lost to Him.

God has placed everything He created under our care, as that is what He intended to do with us, as He originally conceived it, for God created us out of love and He wants us to enjoy the fruits of His creation and be happy throughout our existence. We were never intended to suffer or to be sorrowful with grief and pain. But it was because of our disobedience, and the misuse of the free will that God has given us, we chose to sin and therefore, fall into the trap of Satan.

Satan planted in us the seeds of rebelliousness and disobedience, and by tugging at the temptations of our pride, ego and greed, we fell to the trap of sin, and as a result, we have become wayward children of the Lord, as lost sheep that have fallen away and become stranded far from their shepherd. That is why man have been sundered from the fullness of God’s grace, and suffered in this world, all because of the sins we ourselves have committed.

But God did not abandon us to perish, and neither did He remain indifferent to our sufferings and to our predicaments. On the contrary, He always actively sought to rescue us and to liberate us from our sinful state, and He has provided us with the path through which we may be saved from this predicament. He provided us with nothing less than His own most Beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has become one like us, assuming the flesh of our humanity, and therefore, the meaning of our existence as children of God has been renewed and made even more significant.

What does this mean, brothers and sisters in Christ? It means that because God’s own beloved Son has been born into this world, in our midst, as one of our own brothers, we have become adopted sons and daughters of God by virtue of our relationship with Christ, our Saviour, Lord and Redeemer. God has given us this wonderful grace, because He loves each and every one of us, that it is His will and desire, that He would have to suffer for our sake, to bear the mighty burden of our sins.

Despite all the pain and sufferings that He had to suffer for all of that, God did not cease in His love and perseverance for us. We just have to look at the determination which He showed us all when He bore that cross up the long journey to Calvary. The cross of Christ is the ultimate proof of His love for us, and His determination to reconcile us to Himself. God wants us all to be gathered back to Himself, to become His children once again.

Indeed, as the Lord Jesus mentioned to His disciples in our Gospel passage today, we are called to be like small children, in our faith towards Him. And why is that so? That is because all of us who have seen small children, would have known how innocent and pure they are, and when they believe in something, they truly and genuinely believe in it without any reservations or any ulterior motives, like greed, pride or ego.

We are called to have a renewed love and commitment for God, to love God with all of our hearts and minds, with all of our strengths and abilities once again, as we had once done. Are we able to dedicate ourselves just as the Lord has dedicated Himself to us? He wants us to enjoy once again the glorious inheritance and endowment that He has promised us all from the beginning of creation.

May the Lord, our loving Father and our Saviour, continue to love each and every one of us, and may He continue to guide us on our journey of life, reminding and rebuking us as necessary to make sure that we are on the right path and not fall into the temptation to sin. May God always bless us in our good works, and help us in everything we do. Amen.

Saturday, 2 March 2019 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Mark 10 : 13-16

At that time, people were bringing their little children to Jesus to have Him touch them, and the disciples rebuked them for this. When Jesus noticed it, He was very angry and said, “Let the children come to Me and do not stop them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.”

Then He took the children in His arms and, laying His hands on them, blessed them.

Saturday, 2 March 2019 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Psalm 102 : 13-14, 15-16, 17-18a

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust.

The days of mortals are like grass; they bloom like a flower of the field; but the wind passes over it, and it is gone, his field will not see him again.

But the Lord’s kindness is forever with those who fear Him; so is His justice, for their children’s children, for those who keep His covenant and remember His commands.

Saturday, 2 March 2019 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Sirach 17 : 1-15

The Lord created man from the earth and let him return to earth. He settled a fixed time for them and a set number of days, giving them power over everything on earth. He endowed them with a strength like His own, making them in His own image.

He put fear of them in all living things, thus they had mastery over the animals and birds. He endowed them with knowledge; He gave them tongue and eyes, ears and a mind to think with. He filled them with wisdom and knowledge; He taught them good and evil. He put His own eye in their hearts so they would understand the greatness of His works. They will praise His holy Name and relate the magnificence of His creation.

He gave them revealed knowledge as well and handed over to them the Law of life. He established an everlasting covenant with them and let them know His judgments. Human eyes saw the splendour of the Glory of God; their ears heard the grandeur of His voice.

He said to them, “Keep yourselves from all wrongdoing,” and to each of them He gave commands regarding his neighbour. Their conduct is always before the Lord; they cannot escape His sight.

Friday, 1 March 2019 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listened to the words of the Scripture speaking to us about the matter of believing in God and having a true and genuine love for Him. Unless we have that love and devotion in us, it is unlikely that we will be able to live our lives with faith. And for us, we also have to discern well how we should make our relationships with one another, imitating the love which we have for God.

In the first reading today, taken from the book of the prophet Sirach, we heard how different types of friends are present, and we may not realise this reality even from among those whom we call as friends. Some of those who become our friends, they did so because they are seeking for some benefits and gains for themselves, and when things go sour and our fortunes dwindle, they will be quick to draw a line between them and us, and distance themselves from us.

The friendship of this type cannot be called true friendship, as it means that the friendship is only valid and is maintained only conditionally, when things are good and favourable. The moment that things turn upside down and become unfavourable, the friendship also end up becoming lost. Then this kind of relationship cannot be called as true friendship, as true friendship and in fact relationship requires one to be committed and faithful in times both good and bad.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in today’s Gospel passage, we go to an even higher level of relationship, and that is the relationship between a man and a woman joined together in the holy and blessed union of matrimony, or marriage. This is a relationship in which a man is joined to a woman, and are united together in a new life blessed by God, and this union is blessed and sanctified by God such that, as the Lord Himself put it, no man should ever divide.

And yet, the Pharisees and some of the teachers of the Law tried to test the Lord by arguing that since Moses had allowed for the practice of divorce, provided that the person desiring the divorce must prepare a documentation and certification for the divorce, then a husband can divorce his wife and vice versa. But in doing so, they disregarded and misunderstood the sanctity of marriage and what the Lord had intended for His people, and instead, succumbing to the pressures of worldly desires and greed.

Again, the main reason for divorces to happen, both then as it is now, is the lack of true love and genuine commitment between the parties involved in the holy matrimony, where each of the individuals were involved in the marriage for their own ulterior motives and for their individual selfish desired and wishes. As a result, when the marriage is happy and filled with good things for both parties, there may be no issue, but the moment the marriage begins to encounter problems, more problems and troubles are quick to accumulate.

And this is where the devil is very quick to make use of the perfect opportunity to strike at us, to cause divisions and bitterness among us, hatred and lack of love and commitment to one another, causing the breaking of our families and matrimonial relationships, and even our other forms of friendships. The devil has many tools within his disposal, to strike at us relentlessly, by making use of the pride, ego, desire and the wickedness within our hearts and minds against us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are reminded of the need for us to have love within us and in our relationships, for us to be filled with genuine love instead of lust, dedication instead of selfishness and pride, compassion and true passion instead of greed and worldly desires. Today, we are called to love with tenderness, to do our very best to follow His examples, in how He has loved us all so greatly despite all of our sins and wickedness.

God remains in love with us despite our unfaithfulness, because He is ultimately faithful, dedicated and genuine in His love for each and every one of us. Are we able to show the same kind of love in our own lives? And are we able to show the same love in our relationship with God as well as with our fellow men? May the Lord strengthen us, and may He guide us all to love Him and serve Him with greater commitment, now and always. Amen.

Friday, 1 March 2019 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 10 : 1-12

At that time, Jesus then left that place and went to the province of Judea, beyond the Jordan River. Once more crowds gathered around Him and once more He taught them as He always did. Some (Pharisees came and) put Him to the test with this question, “Is it right for a husband to divorce his wife?”

He replied, “What law did Moses give you?” They answered, “Moses allowed us to write a certificate of dismissal in order to divorce.” Then Jesus said to them, “Moses wrote this law for you, because you are stubborn. But in the beginning of creation God made them male and female, and because of this, man has to leave father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one body. So they are no longer two but one body. Therefore let no one separate what God has joined.”

When they were indoors at home, the disciples again asked Him about this, and He told them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against his wife, and the woman who divorces her husband and marries another also commits adultery.”

Friday, 1 March 2019 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 118 : 12, 16, 18, 27, 34, 35

Praise to You, o Lord; instruct me in Your statutes, that with my lips I may declare all Your spoken decrees.

In Your laws I will rejoice and will not neglect Your words.

Open my eyes that I may see the marvellous truths in Your law.

Explain to me all Your ordinances, and I will meditate on Your wondrous deeds.

Give me understanding, that I may observe Your law with all my heart.

Guide me in obeying Your instructions, for my pleasure lies in them.