Sunday, 2 February 2020 : Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, World Day for Consecrated Life (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 2 : 22-40

When the day came for the purification according to the law of Moses, they brought the Baby up to Jerusalem, to present Him to the Lord, as it is written in the law of the Lord : Every firstborn male shall be consecrated to God. And they offered a sacrifice, as ordered in the law of the Lord : a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.

There lived in Jerusalem at this time a very upright and devout man named Simeon; the Holy Spirit was in him. He looked forward to the time when the Lord would comfort Israel, and he had been assured, by the Holy Spirit, that he would not die before seeing the Messiah of the Lord. So he was led into the Temple by the Holy Spirit at the time the parents brought the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the Law.

Simeon took the Child in his arms, and blessed God, saying, “Now, o Lord, You can dismiss Your servant in peace, for You have fulfilled Your word and my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You display for all the people to see. Here is the Light You will reveal to the nations, and the glory of Your people Israel.”

His father and mother wondered at what was said about the Child. Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary, His mother, “Know this : your Son is a Sign, a Sign established for the falling and rising of many in Israel, a Sign of contradiction; and a sword will pierce your own soul, so that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed.”

There was also a prophetess named Anna, daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. After leaving her father’s home, she had been seven years with her husband, and since then she had been continually about the Temple, serving God as a widow night and day in fasting and prayer. She was now eighty-four. Coming up at that time, she gave praise to God, and spoke of the Child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.

When the parents had fulfilled all that was required by the law of the Lord, they returned to their town, Nazareth in Galilee. There the Child grew in stature and strength, and was filled with wisdom: the grace of God was upon Him.

Alternative reading (shorter version)

Luke 2 : 22-32

When the day came for the purification according to the law of Moses, they brought the Baby up to Jerusalem, to present Him to the Lord, as it is written in the law of the Lord : Every firstborn male shall be consecrated to God. And they offered a sacrifice, as ordered in the law of the Lord : a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.

There lived in Jerusalem at this time a very upright and devout man named Simeon; the Holy Spirit was in him. He looked forward to the time when the Lord would comfort Israel, and he had been assured, by the Holy Spirit, that he would not die before seeing the Messiah of the Lord. So he was led into the Temple by the Holy Spirit at the time the parents brought the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the Law.

Simeon took the Child in his arms, and blessed God, saying, “Now, o Lord, You can dismiss Your servant in peace, for You have fulfilled Your word and my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You display for all the people to see. Here is the Light You will reveal to the nations, and the glory of Your people Israel.”

Sunday, 2 February 2020 : Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, World Day for Consecrated Life (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Hebrews 2 : 14-18

And because all those children share one same nature of flesh and blood, Jesus, likewise, had to share this nature. This is why His death destroyed the one holding the power of death, that is the devil, and freed those who remained in bondage all their lifetime, because of the fear of death.

Jesus came, to take by the hand, not the Angels but the human race. So, He had to be like His brothers and sisters, in every respect, in order to be the High Priest, faithful to God and merciful to them, a Priest, able to ask pardon, and atone for their sins. Having been tested through suffering, He is able to help those who are tested.

Sunday, 2 February 2020 : Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, World Day for Consecrated Life (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 23 : 7, 8, 9, 10

Lift up, o gateways, your lintels, open up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may enter!

Who is the King of glory? YHVH, the Strong, the Mighty, YHVH, valiant in battle.

Lift up your lintels, o gateways, open up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may enter!

Who is the King of glory? YHVH of Hosts, He is the King of glory!

Sunday, 2 February 2020 : Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, World Day for Consecrated Life (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Malachi 3 : 1-4

Now I am sending My messenger ahead of Me to clear the way; then suddenly the Lord for Whom you long will enter the sanctuary. The Envoy of the covenant which you so greatly desire already comes, says YHVH of hosts. Who can bear the day of His coming and remain standing when He appears? For He will be like fire in the foundry and like the lye used for bleaching.

He will be as a refiner or a fuller. He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver. So YHVH will have priests who will present the offering as it should be. Then YHVH will accept with pleasure the offering of Judah and Jerusalem, as in former days.

Saturday, 1 February 2020 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we continue the discourse on the actions of king David of Israel when committed sin against God by his desire and lust for someone else’s wife, in this case Bathsheba the wife of Uriah the Hittite. David and Bathsheba succumbed to temptations and ended up with Bathsheba getting pregnant, and David tried to cover up the affair by making Uriah sleep with his wife. But when the upright and just Uriah refused to do so, David panicked and ended up plotting Uriah’s death in battle.

The prophet Nathan came to David and went through with him today the faults that he had done before God and men alike. Initially king David did not realise that when the prophet Nathan used a parable to explain, that he was actually referring to David’s unjust actions towards Uriah, in taking what was not his in the first place and instance, namely Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah as David’s own wife after Uriah was killed in battle.

David trusted his own instincts and ways of settling things in that matter rather than trusting in God or following His commandments. He succumbed to the temptation of desire and lust, allowing Satan to rock his righteous and just life, and ended up causing the death of an innocent man and a relationship that was essentially adultery in the eyes of God and the Law. But David then immediately regretted his actions once his eyes were opened by what the prophet Nathan shared with him, the blatant truth of his wicked and dark actions.

The firstborn son of that relationship between David and Bathsheba did die as the just retribution for David’s sinful action, but his genuine repentance in humbling himself totally before God and all of his people, as he fasted and humbled himself in sackcloth for God’s mercy, and accentuated in the Psalm we used today, which was composed by king David himself at precisely that moment when he felt the great regret over his terrible sins. But he also entrusted himself to God’s compassionate love and mercy.

He trusted that God has the power to overcome his sins and wickedness, by the grace of His mercy and forgiveness. And thus, while today we are presented with the unfortunate story of how the righteous and good king David fell into temptation and sin, but we are also reminded that in truth all of us are just like him. We are all sinners just like king David, easily tempted and vulnerable to sin. If we are dependent only on ourselves and only on our own strength as what king David foolishly did at that time, we are likely to fall.

It is what we can also learn from our Gospel passage today where we heard of the story of the moment when the disciples of the Lord were afraid that their boat would sink because of the fierce storm, the gale force winds and the huge waves that threatened to overcome them. This was because they did not have firm faith in God, Who was with them and Jesus Himself showed them that they had nothing to fear and really ought to have more faith in Him.

The boat also symbolically represent us all in the Church as the Church is often likened to that of a boat, with all of us the faithful people of God, the members of the Church as the passengers of the boat, travelling through the often rough waters representing the trials and challenges that are often found in our world. And the Lord, our God, is our Guide and our Navigator, in Whom we really ought to trust. No matter what happened, He has authority and control, as the disciples themselves said, ‘even the wind and the sea obey Him’.

If we panic and turn to drastic actions, depending on our own judgments and strengths, as king David experienced during his time when he sinned against God as mentioned earlier on, we will end up bringing ourselves further and further afflicted and in difficulty. We will end up getting trapped by the situation and by our own actions, dragging us down further and deeper into the dangerous trap of sin.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, the important lesson that each and every one of us must heed today is to trust in the Lord more and allow Him to guide us in life. If we have erred as king David had done, then we must not be afraid to seek God’s forgiveness and mercy, but with a sincere desire to repent and turn away from our sinfulness, that God will truly forgive us and lead us towards the fullness of His grace and love. And we need to make this conscious decision to commit ourselves to God, at each and every moments of our lives.

May the Lord be our Guide and may He strengthen us all in our resolve to be faithful to Him and to do everything we can to remain true to Him. Let us live our lives from now on with God at the centre of our lives and existence, no longer allowing our many desires and all the temptations present in our lives from confusing us and leading us astray. May God be with us always and strengthen our faith, now and always. Amen.

Saturday, 1 February 2020 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 4 : 35-41

At that time, on that same day, when evening had come, Jesus said to His disciples, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they left the crowd, and took Him along in the boat He had been sitting in, and other boats set out with Him. Then a storm gathered and it began to blow a gale. The waves spilled over into the boat, so that it was soon filled with water. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.

They woke Him up, and said, “Master, do You not care if we drown?” And rising up, Jesus rebuked the wind, and ordered the sea, “Quiet now! Be still!” The wind dropped, and there was a great calm. Then Jesus said to them, “Why are you so frightened? Do you still have no faith?”

But they were terrified, and they said to one another, “Who can this be? Even the wind and the sea obey Him!”

Saturday, 1 February 2020 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 50 : 12-13, 14-15, 16-17

Create in me, o God, a pure heart; give me a new and steadfast spirit. Do not cast me out of Your presence nor take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Give me again, the joy of Your salvation; and sustain me, with a willing spirit. Then I will show wrongdoers Your ways and sinners will return to You.

Deliver me, o God, from the guilt of blood; and of Your justice, I shall sing aloud. O YHVH, open my lips, and I will declare Your praise.