Monday, 21 March 2016 : Monday of the Holy Week (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

John 12 : 1-11

At that time, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where He had raised Lazarus, the dead man, to life. Now they gave a dinner to Him, and while Martha waited on them, Lazarus sat at the table with Jesus.

Then Mary took a pound of costly perfume, made from genuine spikenard and anointed the feet of Jesus, wiping them with her hair. And the whole house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

Judas Iscariot – the disciple who was to betray Jesus – remarked, “This perfume could have been sold for three hundred silver coins, and the money given to the poor.” Judas, indeed, had no concern for the poor; he was a thief, and as he held the common purse, he used to help himself to the funds.

But Jesus spoke up, “Leave her alone. Was she not keeping it for the day of My burial? (The poor you always have with you, but you will not always have Me.)”

Many Jews heard that Jesus was there and they came, not only because of Jesus, but also to see Lazarus whom He had raised from the dead. So the chief priests thought about killing Lazarus as well, for many of the Jews were drifting away because of Him, and believing in Jesus.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martha (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast of St. Martha, whom we know from the Holy Gospels as both the sister of the dead Lazarus risen to life by Jesus, as well as the one who were very busy with her servings to the Lord even though her sister Mary sat down listening attentively to the Lord speaking and teaching.

St. Martha is one of the holy women mentioned in the Holy Scriptures, and she was one of the very loyal followers of Jesus, who followed Him around as He ministered to the people of God. And it is likely that she together with her sister Mary and her brother Lazarus also followed Jesus through His last moments in life, when He went on His Passion and died on the cross.

But she was not perfect and was not a super woman as we all had noticed, and which I had pointed out just earlier on. She had her imperfections, and she was indeed the same as all of us, who have our own weaknesses in life. But regardless of this, she managed to overcome her weakness and fears, and following God, she found the love of God which had been manifested through none other than Jesus Christ our Lord.

St. Martha reminded us through her examples and her shortcomings that we all often in life are too busy to spend some time with God, and carrying on with our daily routines and businesses, we often forget about God and lose our focus in life. Instead we ended up like St. Martha who ended up losing the perfect opportunity to listen to the word of God just because she was busy serving the Lord and ensuring the food and drinks are all properly served.

At least we have to credit St. Martha that she had a good intention, as she wanted to serve the Lord and be as good a host as she could to this important and amazing visitor, Jesus Christ the Saviour Himself. However, she forgot that in doing all the busy things, she might end up losing the perfect opportunity of encountering the Lord, just as Mary her sister took up the best opportunity for.

And for us who are in this world today, how many of us are even worse than St. Martha? That we forget about the Lord and shunned Him without even any good intentions to welcome Him? Remember that St. Martha believed in Jesus wholeheartedly, and when Lazarus her brother died, she trusted in Jesus and put her faith in Him, that He would have the power to bring her brother back into life.

We live today in a world where daily businesses and occupations with so many various things often interfere in our relationship with God, and not just with God but in fact also in terms of our relationship with one another. We live at a time when faith is often forgotten for the sake of our achievements and obtaining of worldly pleasures. And these things prevent us from finding God in our lives and ultimately can serve as a great obstacle in our attempt to attain salvation in God.

Following the example of St. Martha, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all be true disciples of the Lord, and no longer be distracted by our busy activities in life that prevent us from appreciating the Lord who had come personally to save us from certain death in sin. Let us all be truly devoted to God and be focused on Him, that in all of our actions we proclaim the Lord alone and walk faithfully and tenderly in His path.

St. Martha, pray for us all, that our faith may be always strong and that our minds and hearts will be always focused to the Lord, to His laws and precepts. Let us never be separated from Him and be ever devoted. God bless us all. Amen.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martha (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 11 : 19-27

Many Jews had come to Martha and Mary, after the death of their brother, to comfort them. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet Him, while Mary remained sitting in the house. And she said to Jesus, “If You had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that whatever You ask from God, God will give You.”

Jesus said, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha replied, “I know that he will rise in the resurrection, at the last day.” But Jesus said to her, “I am the Resurrection. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, shall live. Whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Martha then answered, “Yes, Lord, I have come to believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, He who is coming into the world.”

Alternative reading

Luke 10 : 38-42

As Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He entered a village, and a woman called Martha welcomed Him to her house. She had a sister named Mary, who sat down at the Lord’s feet to listen to His words.

Martha, meanwhile, was busy with all the serving, and finally she said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the work? Tell her to help me!”

But the Lord answered, “Martha, Martha, you worry and are troubled about many things, whereas only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the better part, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Monday, 29 July 2013 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martha (Scripture Reflection)

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast day of St. Martha, the sister of Lazarus, whom Christ had risen from the dead. St. Martha and her sister Mary were faithful followers of Christ, who cared for Him as we have read in the Gospel today. Both of them faithfully took care of the Lord and listened to Him as He went on through His ministry.

Jesus too cared for them, and blessed them with His love. He loved them so much that when Lazarus died, He wept. He was touched by the sisters’ dedication and love for one another, and He Himself is a loving God. In His mercy and love, He had sent His Son Jesus, to be our Saviour, to bring us from the grip of death into a new life in Him, just as He had done with Lazarus, His beloved. Yes, so that we may live, brethren, a new life in God, and a final escape from death and hell that was our fate.

For our sins and faults, and the rebellion of our fathers against the will of God had angered God and made us unworthy of His Holy presence. We had been made dirty by sin and the evils of the world, corrupted by the trickery and temptations of Satan and his agents. For such evils against the holiness of God, there is only one fate for all of us, that is death and eternal punishment in hell, in the fires and darkness prepared for Satan and his angels for eternity, for their own rebellion against God.

But the Lord does not want to leave us to our fate, nor does he want to abandon us in darkness and corruption. He loves all of us, the most beloved and perfect of all His creations, so much that He gave the way to salvation, the escape path from that certain destruction which awaits all of us. He provided the straight way for all of us, the straight highway to salvation, towards reunion with Him in eternal bliss of heaven.

That was why He sent us Jesus, His own Son, the Word of God made flesh, that in His coming to this world, He made it possible for us to be reunited with God, for the Son of God had become one like us, albeit without sin. He had become one of us, of man, the Son of Man, born in the humble stable, but destined for eternal kingship. Yes, brethren, He is to be the King of Israel, the King of all creation, the King of the Universe. In Him all of God’s promises to mankind is fulfilled and perfectly completed. In Him lies all our hope and our future.

Christ is willing to help all of us, because of His love for us. A love so great that with that love He endured the cup of suffering He drank, to suffer on the way to Calvary, throughout His Passion, and to die on the cross in a slow, painful death, rejected by His own people and condemned by the priests and the people themselves, though He is without sin, and have been condemned for a false reason. He offers us this love, to all without exception, that everyone may be saved and have life.

He is our Lord and our Shepherd, our guide through life, that we, who have been lost, the lost sheep, may return towards Him, the Good Shepherd, who had given His all in order to find us and save us. He sought us the lost ones, in the darkest corners of the world, in places of sin, where we dwell. He knocks at the doors of our heart and seek to come in to us, that He may speak in the silence of our hearts.

Yet, brothers and sisters in Christ, we are often occupied with things of the world, with things that distract us from the Lord. We often enclosed ourselves in our space of comfort, that we turned a deaf ear to the urging and the knocking of the Lord on the doors of our hearts. These distractions also include our daily works and businesses, and also our daily concern for things such as food, money, and other things that distract us from the Lord.

That was what happened to St. Martha in what we read from the Gospel of Luke. She loved the Lord indeed and she tried her best to show her love to God by giving the best service available to the Lord in His visit to her house. But she became too preoccupied and engulfed by her works, that she had forgotten what is the most important thing that the Lord wants from her and from all of us, that is love and undivided attention, and total devotion to Him.

It is not wrong to do what St. Martha had done, and indeed she was also sincere in her love for God in doing what she thought was the way for her to serve the Lord. However, what is important is that we must not let our work and busy schedule to subvert our true intention, and especially if we begin to attack others who chose to serve the Lord in another way, as Mary, Martha’s sister had done. Brothers and sisters, do not let our pride to get in our way to the Lord. Pride is our downfall just as it had once brought Lucifer, the fallen angel, down from his glory.

Let us humbly seek the Lord and ask for His mercy, as we approach Him, the merciful and most loving God. Let us listen to Him with all our attention, the way that Mary had done, and give our best to serve the Lord as Martha had done. May the Lord guide us through this life, that we will always walk in His ways and follow Him to the end of that path, that is salvation, when we are once again reunited with the Lord our God who loves us.

St. Martha, pray for us sinners who are still in this world. With all the saints, the holy men and women of God, be with us and protect us, as we walk our path of life, that we will always remain focused on the Lord and do not become distracted by the world and the temptations that Satan and his forces have arrayed against us that we fall. May the Lord bless us all with faith, with hope, and with love, to remain His always, and be victorious in our struggles against the evil one. God bless us all. Amen.

Monday, 29 July 2013 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martha (Gospel Reading)

John 11 : 19-27

Many Jews had come to Martha and Mary, after the death of their brother, to comfort them.

When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet Him, while Mary remained sitting in the house. And she said to Jesus, “If You had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that whatever You ask from God, God will give You.” Jesus said, “Your brother will rise again.”

Martha replied, “I know that he will rise in the resurrection, at the last day.” But Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, shall live. Whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Martha then answered, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, He who is coming into the world.”

 

Alternative reading

 

Luke 10 : 38-42

As Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He entered a village, and a woman called Martha welcomed Him into her house. She had a sister named Mary, who sat down at the Lord’s feet to listen to His words.

Martha, meanwhile, was busy with all the serving and finally she said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do all the work? Tell her to help me!”

But the Lord answered, “Martha, Martha, you worry and are troubled about many things, whereas only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the better part, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Monday, 29 July 2013 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martha (Psalm)

Psalm 33 : 2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11

I will bless the Lord all my days; His praise will be ever on my lips. My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the lowly hear and rejoice.

Oh, let us magnify the Lord, together let us glorify His Name! I sought the Lord, and He answered me; from all my fears He delivered me.

They who look to Him are radiant with joy, their faces never clouded with shame. When the poor cry out, the Lord hears and saves them from distress.

The Lord’s angel encamps and patrols to keep safe those who fear Him. Oh, see and taste the goodness of the Lord! Blessed is the one who finds shelter in Him!

Revere the Lord, all you His saints, for those who fear Him do not live in want. The mighty may be hungry and in need, but those who seek the Lord lack nothing.

Monday, 29 July 2013 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martha (First Reading)

1 John 4 : 7-16

My dear friends, let us love one another for love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Those who do not love have not known God, for God is love.

How did the love of God appear among us? God sent His only Son into this world that we might have life through Him. This is love : not that we loved God but that He first loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Dear friends, if such has been the love of God, we, too, must love one another. No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us, and His love comes to its perfection in us.

How may we know that we live in God and He in us? Because God has given us His Spirit. We ourselves have seen and declare that the Father sent His Son to save the world. Those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in them and they in God.

We have known the love of God and have believed in it. God is love. The one who lives in love, lives in God and God in him.