(Special) Tuesday, 1 February 2022 : Lunar New Year Mass (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today for all those of us who are celebrating the Lunar New Year, also known as the Chinese New Year to the Chinese people who celebrate it every year. This day marks the celebration of the beginning of the end of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, as it was noted as the Spring Festival due to the period of time being the time when the temperatures of the ground and the environment begin to increase again after it has declined over the past few weeks and months.

It is a time of gathering of families and great celebrations, when large extended families came back together to their ancestral places and hometowns, bearing the tidings and stories of what had happened throughout the previous year. It is a time when the family reunites and shares in each others’ love and as a reminder of the important bonds and relationships between us, among the members of our close and extended family members both. It is a time for thanksgiving, giving thanks for all the wonders and blessings that we have received.

Yet, if we realise, the tone of the Lunar New Year celebrations in the recent years have increasingly become more and more materialistic and excessive in nature, focusing a lot on prosperity and wealth, fortunes and worldly pleasures. And it did not help that many companies and organisations also took part in propagating this culture of excess and materialistic focus in the Lunar New Year celebrations. Ultimately, all these were meant to drive up profits in the weeks leading up to the festivities, and it is often corporate and marketing greed that gained from making use of our desires and wants.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of Numbers of the words of the Lord speaking to Moses regarding the blessing that Aaron and all the priests God has appointed to be the priests over all the Israelites ought to give to the people, a blessing that came from the Lord and reminded all the people that all grace and blessings came from the Lord alone. The Lord’s blessings and kindness have always been extended to all His people, as He continued to watch over us and provided for us, even when we constantly disobeyed and disregarded Him all the time.

The Lord’s blessings have always been extended to us and many of us have been fortunate to receive more blessings than others. Yet, there are those among us who worry unnecessarily because we worry about what we shall have, what we are to enjoy in life, as mentioned in the Gospel passage today. The Lord wants to remind us that it is foolish and futile for us to worry about all these things, as in the end, if we walk in the right path and trust in the Lord, then all these worries are really unnecessary and irrational for of us to do.

St. James in his Epistle which is our second reading today also echoed the same sentiment, as he spoke of the folly of putting one’s trust in their plans and preparations, how people often planned well ahead and worry about what will come in the future, and often overthinking things and being too paranoid of what we may lose out on. It is therefore timely and apt that we heard these readings from the Scriptures today, which served as a reminder for us all not to give in to the excesses of worldly temptations and desires as we celebrate the great festivities of the Lunar New Year.

We are reminded that as we rejoice today this Lunar New Year, we must not lose sight of what the celebrations of the Lunar New Year is all about. It is not about prosperity and fortune, but rather about love and family. It is not about the food and feasts, but rather about the time spent with each other and the quality interactions we have with our loved ones. The Lunar New Year should be the opportunity for us to remember the love which each and every one of us ought to have for those who are precious and close to us, a time for forgiveness and reconciliation, and a time for seeking true happiness.

How do we do so, brothers and sisters in Christ? It is by seeking the Lord and focusing our lives and attention on the Lord and remembering all that He had taught us, in loving Him and one another, in being virtuous and just in all the things we do. Let us all remember that even as we rejoice during this great occasion of the Lunar New Year, that there are those who are not as fortunate as us and who struggle even to make their ends meet each day to be able to celebrate at all. And let us not forget that we are still currently suffering the effects from the extended pandemic and many people out there are still enduring difficulties in various aspects.

Let us therefore share our blessings and instead of seeking personal prosperity and selfish desires this New Year, we instead be ever more generous in giving, both of ourselves and our extra blessings, especially to those who are not as fortunate as we are. For it is in giving and sharing that we will find true happiness, and God’s love, favour and joy will be upon us too, rather than us hoarding all the glory and happiness for ourselves. Let us give thanks to the Lord for all His kindness and blessings as well. May God be with us all, our families and loved ones and bless our year ahead. Amen.

(Special) Tuesday, 1 February 2022 : Lunar New Year Mass (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Matthew 6 : 31-34

At that time, the Lord said to His disciples, “Do not worry, and say : What are we going to eat? What are we going to drink? or : What shall we wear? The pagans busy themselves with such things; but your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.”

“Set your heart, first, on the kingdom and righteousness of God; and all these things will also be given to you. Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

(Special) Tuesday, 1 February 2022 : Lunar New Year Mass (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

James 4 : 13-15

Listen now, you who speak like this, “Today or tomorrow we will go off to this city and spend a year there; we will do business and make money.”

You have no idea what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? No more than a mist, which appears for a moment and then disappears. Instead of this, you should say, “God willing, we will live and do this or that.”

(Special) Tuesday, 1 February 2022 : Lunar New Year Mass (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 89 : 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 12-14, 16-17

YHVH, You have been our refuge through all generations. Before the mountains were formed, before You made the earth and the world, from eternity to eternity – You are God.

You turn humans back to dust, saying, “Return, o mortals!” A thousand years in Your sight are like a day that has passed, or like a watch in the night.

You sow them in their time, at dawn they peep out. In the morning they blossom, but the flower fades and withers in the evening.

So make us know the shortness of our life, that we may gain wisdom of heart. How long will You be angry, o YHVH? Have mercy on Your servant. Fill us at daybreak with Your goodness, that we may be glad all our days.

Let Your work be seen by Your servants and Your glorious power by their children. May the sweetness of YHVH be upon us; may He prosper the work of our hands.

(Special) Tuesday, 1 February 2022 : Lunar New Year Mass (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Numbers 6 : 22-27

Then YHVH spoke to Moses saying, “Speak to Aaron and his sons and say to them : This is how you shall bless the people of Israel; you shall say : May YHVH bless you and keep you! May YHVH let His face shine on you, and be gracious to you! May YHVH look kindly on you, and give you His peace!”

“In that way they put My Name on the people of Israel and I will bless them.”