Tuesday, 9 February 2021 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we continue the discourse on the creation of the world from the Book of Genesis, in which we heard how the Lord crafted the world and made it whole with all the living things He created and designed, and then we also heard from our Gospel passage today on the confrontation between the Lord and the Pharisees with regards to the obedience to the Law and commandments of God.

The Lord made everything to be by His will, and His Word made them all to be, to exist as they were ought to be, and the Word of God made everything to be complete and all good. That is why then He also came into this world to straighten things up and to reveal fully the true intentions of the Lord, His love for each and every one of us that was which why He gave us His Law in the first place.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard then of the disagreements between the Lord and the Pharisees, due to the latter seeing the disciples not following the strict observance of the Law and the traditions as dictated by the elders, and which the Pharisees took great pride of in keeping these traditions and practices enforced and rigidly practiced by the people.

The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law were very quick to condemn and criticise the Lord for having allowed such disobedience to happen, which was abhorrent in their eyes. However, in their misguided zeal and insistence that others conform to their way of thinking and way of observing the Law, they had forgotten what they ought to do as a follower of the Lord and as those who have been entrusted as guardians over the people of God.

What does this mean? It means that the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law had ended up focusing on the wrong things as they pursued their targets and their lack of understanding of the true nature and purpose of God’s Law led them to misinterpret and do things contrary to what the Lord had actually intended. As a result, they also misled the rest of the faithful and the Lord came forth in order to right the wrongs and to correct those mistaken ways.

That is why through these readings of the Scripture today we are all being reminded that as Christians we should truly understand what our faith is truly all about and not just look on the appearances or try to superficially satisfy the requirements of the Law and commandments of God without genuinely understanding them. Otherwise we will end up like the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law who knew how to obey the Law and follow the tenets of the traditions and rules set by the elders throughout time, but not having true love or devotion to God.

Let us all from now on discern carefully on what each and every one of us can do in order to follow the Lord faithfully and genuinely contributing our efforts to the greater glory of God and for the propagation of His truth and love. Let us first of all of course try to understand what it means for us to be Christians, and the best way to do that is by learning from the official teachings of the Church and by listening to the official teachings of our priests and catechists, as well as adhering to the Catechism of the Church.

Most importantly, let us all centre our lives on the Lord, for as long as we focus ourselves on Him, we will not lose our way, and the Lord Himself will help us and guide us in our journey. We are all called to be genuine and faithful witnesses of the Lord in our respective communities, and the best way to do that is by loving one another as the Lord Himself has loved us, and just as He has reached out to the least and the weakest among us, let us all do the same as well.

May the Lord be with us all, and may He strengthen and guide us in our path, and help us to be inspiration to our fellow brothers and sisters, that more and more may come to believe in God through us, and receive the same assurance of eternal life and glory through faith. Amen.

Tuesday, 9 February 2021 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 7 : 1-13

One day the Pharisees gathered around Jesus, and with them were some teachers of the Law who had just come from Jerusalem. They noticed that some of His disciples were eating their meal with unclean hands, that is, without washing them.

Now the Pharisees, and in fact all the Jews never eat without washing their hands, for they follow the tradition received from their ancestors. Nor do they eat anything, when they come from the market, without first washing themselves. And there are many other traditions they observe; for example, the ritual washing of cups, pots and plates.

So the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders, but eat with unclean hands?” Jesus answered, “You shallow people! How well Isaiah prophesied of you when he wrote : This people honours Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. The worship they offer Me is worthless, for what they teach are only human rules. You even put aside the commandment of God to hold fast to human tradition.”

And Jesus commented, “You have a fine way of disregarding the commandments of God in order to enforce your own traditions! For example, Moses said : Do your duty to your father and your mother, and : Whoever curses his father or his mother is to be put to death. But according to you, someone could say to his father or mother, ‘I already declared Corban (which means “offered to God”) what you could have expected from me.'”

“In this case you no longer require him to do anything for his father or mother, and so you nullify the word of God through the tradition you have handed on. And you do many other things like that.”

Tuesday, 9 February 2021 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 8 : 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

When I observe the heavens, the work of Your hands, the moon and the stars You set in their place – what is man that You be mindful of him, the Son of Man that You should care for Him?

Yet You made Him a little lower than the Angels; You crowned Him with glory and honour and gave Him the works of Your hands; You have put all things under His feet.

Sheep and oxen without number and even the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, the fish of the sea and all that swim the paths of the ocean.

Tuesday, 9 February 2021 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Genesis 1 : 20 – Genesis 2 : 4a

God said, “Let the water teem with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth under the ceiling of the sky.” God created the great monsters of the sea and all living animals, those that teem in the waters, according to their kind, and every winged bird, according to its kind. God saw that it was good. God blessed them saying, “Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the waters of the sea, and let the birds increase on the earth.” There was evening and there was morning : the fifth day.

God said, “Let the earth produce living animals according to their kind : cattle, creatures that move along the ground, wild animals according to their kind. So it was. God created the wild animals according to their kind, and everything that creeps along the ground according to its kind. God saw that it was good.

God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, to Our likeness. Let them rule over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, over the cattle, over the wild animals, and over all creeping things that crawl along the ground.” So God created man in His image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it, rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the sky, over every living creature that moves on the ground.” God said, “I have given you every seed bearing plants which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree that bears fruit with seed. It will be for your food. To every wild animal, to every bird of the sky, to everything that creeps along the ground, to everything that has the breath of life, I give every green plant for food.” So it was.

God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. There was evening and there was morning : the sixth day. That was the way the sky and earth were created and all their vast array. By the seventh day the work God had done was completed, and He rested on the seventh day from all the work He had done.

And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on that day He rested from all the work He had done in His creation. These are the successive steps in the creation of the heavens and the earth.