Friday, 29 May 2015 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard about the glory of the saints, and all of the faithful servants and followers of God, whose lives had been righteous before God and exemplary before men. This is a reminder for all of us that we too can be like them, and we also can walk in their footsteps, doing the things that they have done, that is to love and serve the Lord with all of their heart and strength, and to do the same to their fellow men. In doing so, God will also find us to be just and righteous, and we will have the same share of grace and glory as all the saints in heaven.

And in the Gospel today we heard about how Jesus cleared the Temple and its ground from the filth and corruption of worldliness, by casting out all the money changers, merchants of animal sacrifices, and other forms of vices that had corrupted and tainted the Temple and its premises. The house of prayer and the dwelling of God on earth has become a marketplace, a place of worldliness and sin. That was why Jesus was so angry and His wrath was so great that He cast them out in anger.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this story may be very well known to us, and we knew what Jesus did that day in the Temple. After all this has been replicated many times in the documentaries and films about the life of Jesus. But do we understand its true significance? It is not just about the Temple of God in Jerusalem, but indeed it is about all of us who have been chosen and taken out of the world to be the disciples and children of God.

All of us who have accepted our Lord as our God and Saviour have been marked with the seal of baptism, the seal of confirmation and the seal of the Most Holy Eucharist, and this means that the Lord Himself, by the Eucharist which we have received, have entered into our bodies and hallowed it, made it holy to be the Temple of His Presence. The Holy Spirit has dwelled in us also by the Spirit given to us by the Sacrament of Confirmation, and the life which we have itself, is the proof of the presence of God our Father, our Creator who gave us life.

In all this, it is beyond deniable fact that the Lord dwells in us and we are His holy Temple. If we defile this Holy Temple, that is our body, our soul and our very being, then we know that just as we knew the story of Jesus clearing the Temple from all the filth of corruption, the same anger and wrath that God had shown then will be directed to us as well.

But we do not have to be fearful or afraid, and that is because what matters is for us to change our ways and find a way to repent and turn our hearts back to face the Lord, for He is merciful and willing to forgive us, but only if we ourselves are willing to make a difference in our own lives. Remember, brethren, the fact is that we all ought to be ashamed and indeed angry, when we look at ourselves.

Why is this so? That is because if we are truly concerned about ourselves, then we ought to see the kind of mess and the abundance of filth and corruption that had marred the Temple of God, that is our body, our heart, our mind, our soul and our very being. Are we not ashamed to have such a dirty and wicked dwelling for our Lord? But instead of being ashamed forever, we must indeed jolt ourselves awake and ask ourselves, what we can do from now on.

Let us all be thoroughly reformed. If we have sinned constantly until now and refused to follow the way of the Lord, then let us stop all things that we do and reevaluate our lives and priorities. Remember that the grace and forgiveness of God will be ours only if we make the conscious effort to seek it by humbly asking for His forgiveness and mercy. Let us all seek God’s grace by doing what is right and just before His eyes, beginning from ourselves and then by doing good and loving one another just as He had taught us.

Just as Christ had purged the Temple from all the merchants and the wicked things that dwelled there, let us all also purge our own Temple, our own body, heart, mind and soul from the wickedness that had marred the purity of our very own Temple, where the Lord Himself dwells. God be with us all. Amen.

Friday, 29 May 2015 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 11 : 11-25

At that time, Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the Temple. And after He had looked all around, as it was already late, He went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

The next day, when they were leaving Bethany, He felt hungry. In the distance He noticed a fig tree covered with leaves, so He went to see if He could find anything on it. When He reached it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. Then Jesus said to the fig tree, “May no one ever eat your fruit!” And His disciples heard these words.

When they reached Jerusalem, Jesus went to the Temple, and began to drive away all the people He saw buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the stools of those who sold pigeons. And He would not let anyone carry anything through the Temple area.

Jesus then taught the people, “Does God not say in the Scriptures : My house will be called a House of Prayer for all the nations? But you have turned it into a den of thieves.”

The chief priests and the teachers of the Law heard of this, and they tried to find a way to destroy Him. They were afraid of Him, because all the people were astonished by His teaching.

When evening came, Jesus left the city. Early next morning, as they walked along the road, the disciples saw the fig tree withered to its roots. Peter then said to Him, “Master, look! The fig tree You cursed has withered.”

And Jesus replied, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and have no doubt in your heart, but believe that what you say will happen, it will be done for you. Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it shall be done for you. And when you stand to pray, if you have anything against anyone, forgive.”

Friday, 29 May 2015 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 149 : 1-2, 3-4, 5-6a and 9b

Alleluia! Sing to the Lord a new song, sing His praise in the assembly of His saints. Let Israel rejoice in his Maker, let the people of Zion glory in their King!

Let them dance in praise of His Name and make music for Him with harp and timbrel. For the Lord delights in His people; He crowns the lowly with victory.

The saints will exult in triumph; even at night on their couches. Let the praise of God be on their lips, this is the glory of all His saints. Alleluia!

Friday, 29 May 2015 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Sirach (Ecclesiastes) 44 : 1, 9-13

Let us now glorify illustrious men, the ancestors of our people. Others are not remembered and have disappeared as if they never existed. It is the same for their children. But now consider the godly men whose good deeds have not been forgotten.

Those who came after them benefitted from the rich legacy they left; their race remained faithful to the Covenant, their children followed their example. Their family will endure forever and never will its glory be tarnished.