Monday, 8 February 2021 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jerome Emiliani, and St. Josephine Bakhita, Virgin (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints and Holy Virgins)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in our Scripture readings today, after four weeks of discourse from the Epistle to the Hebrews, we begin the series of readings from the Old Testament in our first reading with the account of the creation of the universe as represented in the Book of Genesis, the very first chapter of the entire Bible.

We heard how the Lord created the whole creation, the entire universe and all the things and our world as we know it, and the Lord made everything good as He had created it, willing them into being by His Word, the Word that made everything to be and created everything according to God’s will. This very same Word had become Incarnate in the flesh, as the Son of Man and Son of God, in Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour.

In our Gospel passage today we heard how the Lord Jesus went about doing His ministry, going from places to places, and many people came to see Him and listen to Him, hearing the words of truth that He has brought into their midst. They also brought their sick with them, and many people with various conditions and sicknesses came to seek the Lord and wanted Him to heal them.

The Lord touched them and healed them, and by His power and the will of God, all of them were made whole again and were cured from their troubles. The significance of this act in relation to the first reading today is such that God Who created this world to be good and perfect, has again done everything in order to restore order and goodness to this world.

Christ has showed us the love of God manifested in Himself and His actions, in showing mercy and compassion to the needy, those rejected and abandoned, ostracised and persecuted. And truly we are all fortunate because of the love that God has lavished upon us, His great patience and the attention He has for us. He has willingly embraced us and called us all to return to Him and to accept His forgiveness so that we may not perish because of our sins, but instead may receive from Him the assurance of eternal life.

Are we grateful and appreciative of all that God has shown us, brothers and sisters in Christ? The Lord has already shown us so much love and kindness, and therefore all of us should appreciate what He has done for us, that He still loved us despite our constant refusal to listen to Him and to love Him wholeheartedly. Today, we should be inspired by the faith and examples showed by two saints, whose lives indeed shine through as great inspiration for us all, namely St. Jerome Emiliani and St. Josephine Bakhita.

St. Jerome Emiliani was remembered for his great charity and efforts, in caring for the needy, the poor and the sick, all those whom he had encountered, selflessly caring for them and inspiring many others to follow in his footsteps and examples. He built many orphanages and other places where those who need help could be taken care of and loved, just like the Lord Himself has reached out to His people and sought to help us. St. Jerome Emiliani showed us all what it means for us to be Christians, that is to be like Christ in His love.

Then, St. Josephine Bakhita was a former slave who hailed from the area now known as Sudan. As a child, she had already suffered much, captured by slavers and treated horribly as a slave passed on from master to master, one after another. When she had the fortunate chance to escape slavery through her former master, who was touched and converted by her virtuous life, St. Josephine Bakhita eventually found her way to freedom and eventually joined the religious community in which she spent the rest of her life in.

St. Josephine Bakhita never held grudges for her past slavers and masters, all those who had made her life very difficult and painful. In embracing the Christian faith and in dedicating herself completely to the Lord, St. Josephine Bakhita showed many people including us all what it means to be true disciples and followers of Christ. We are all called to love one another just as the Lord has loved us all so generously. Therefore, let us all discern what we all can do, even in little things and ways, to serve the Lord and glorify His Name by our worthy lives and actions.

May the Lord be with us always and may He guide us in this journey of life, that with the same love He has shown us, we too may love Him wholeheartedly and love our fellow brothers and sisters, especially those who are in need of love, care and attention. May God bless us all and our every good and worthy endeavours, now and always. Amen.ignored by the world, those who are in need of healing and consolation. He was making everything good and new again, and through Him, God fulfilled the promises that He had made to us mankind, that He will restore us once again and deliver us from the evil one.

Monday, 8 February 2021 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jerome Emiliani, and St. Josephine Bakhita, Virgin (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints and Holy Virgins)

Mark 6 : 53-56

At that time, having crossed the lake, Jesus and His disciples came ashore at Gennesaret, where they tied up the boat. As soon as they landed, people recognised Jesus, and ran to spread the news throughout the countryside.

Wherever He was, they brought to Him the sick lying on their mats; and wherever He went, to villages, towns or farms, they laid the sick in the marketplace, and begged Him to let them touch just the fringe of His cloak. And all who touched Him were cured.

Monday, 8 February 2021 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jerome Emiliani, and St. Josephine Bakhita, Virgin (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints and Holy Virgins)

Psalm 103 : 1-2a, 5-6, 10 and 12, 24 and 35c

Bless the Lord my soul! Clothed in majesty and splendour; o Lord, my God, how great You are! You are wrapped in light as with a garment.

You set the earth on its foundations, and never will it be shaken. You covered it with the ocean like a garment, and waters spread over the mountains.

You make springs gush forth in valleys winding among mountains and hills. Birds build their nests close by and sing among the branches of trees.

How varied o Lord, are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all – the earth full of Your creatures. Bless the Lord, my soul!

Monday, 8 February 2021 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jerome Emiliani, and St. Josephine Bakhita, Virgin (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints and Holy Virgins)

Genesis 1 : 1-19

In the beginning, when God began to create the heavens and the earth, the earth had no form and was void; darkness was over the deep and the Spirit of God hovered over the waters.

God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good and He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light ‘Day’ and the darkness ‘Night’. There was evening and there was morning : the first day.

God said, “Let there be a firm ceiling between the waters and let it separate waters from waters.” So God made the ceiling and separated the waters below it from the waters above it. And so it was. God called the firm ceiling ‘Sky’. There was evening and there was morning : the second day.

God said, “Let the waters below the sky be gathered in one place and let dry land appear. And so it was. God called the dry land ‘Earth’, and the waters gathered together he called ‘Seas’. God saw that it was good.

God said, “Let the earth produce vegetation, seed-bearing plants, fruit trees bearing fruit with seed, each according to its kind, upon the earth.” And so it was. The earth produced vegetation : plants bearing seed according to their kind and trees producing fruit which has seed, according to their kind. God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning : the third day.

God said, “Let there be lights in the ceiling of the sky to separate day from night and to serve as signs for the seasons, days and years; and let these lights in the sky shine above the earth.” And so it was. God therefore made two great lights, the greater light to govern the day and the smaller light to govern the night; and God made the stars as well. God placed them in the ceiling of the sky to give light on the earth and to separate the light from the darkness. God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning : the fourth day.