Saturday, 25 February 2017 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day the Scripture passages reminds us of the love which God had given us generously and willingly, that He has blessed us beyond all other beings in creations, far surpassing even the Angels and other creatures. We are all reminded of the kindness of our Lord, Who treated us not as slaves and servants, but instead as children, and as He is our Father, He blesses us and treats us in the best way that is possible for us.

He has created us in His own image and blessed us so abundantly, that no one else could have hoped to compare with us. For we mankind have been made to be God’s very own children, to partake in His inheritance and in His glory, and to enjoy forever the blessed fruits of the glorious kingdom of God. That was what God intended for us mankind, certainly not to see us suffer and perish in the darkness and sin, but instead to have us enjoy the fullness of His love for us.

Yet, we all know that we have spurned the love of God and rejected the grace which He had offered us. We have disobeyed Him as those who have lost their way and chose to follow their own paths, and although God had revealed His glory and might in various occasions throughout history, we mankind often always tried to find reasons and excuses for not following Him and fall deep into the wickedness of our sins.

This is when all of us should heed what the Lord Jesus said to His disciples in today’s Gospel reading, that all of His people ought to welcome the children and allow them to come to the Lord, and embrace Him, and follow the examples of these children in their own faith. And there is indeed a very good reason in this, and this requires us to understand what the faith of a child is like.

A child is a very innocent person, whose heart and mind is still pure and unburdened by the many concerns of the world. Unlike many of us, a child is still pure at heart, and the faith of a child is a pure faith. The children look towards the Lord and desire to be with Him, because that is our true human nature, who have been created out of love by God, and in that love, we receive the grace and the desire to love Him back.

Unfortunately, we have often been distracted by the many worldly concerns and temptations. Yes, all the things that have distracted us and kept us away from being able to truly be able to love the Lord with all our hearts. We have been burdened by monetary concerns, by the temptations of worldly pleasures, the sinful pleasures of the flesh, the temptation of desire, lust, the pull of pride, ambition and human greed. These are all the things that have kept us away from God.

We need to spend some time to think about this, brothers and sisters in Christ. Have we been so occupied and distracted by our worldly living and concerns that we have failed to see the real purpose and aim of our life, that is our God, and to love Him with all of our heart and with all of our strength just as He Himself had loved us first? This is what we all need to do, and we need to begin from now if we have not done so yet.

Let us all seek to purify ourselves from all forms of sins and wickedness, that all of us will be like children in our faith, genuine and true, unmasked by all the ugliness of our sins, desires, human greed and all the other things that have kept us away from God. Let us show the Lord our God, that we are truly worthy of being the ones to receive the inheritance which He had intended for us when He created us. Let us prove that we want to be with Him, and desire to be reconciled and be reunited with Him.

May the Lord continue to love us, and may He continue to be merciful towards us, that in all of our daily lives and daily works, we may gradually be more and more attuned to His ways and learn to be more like Him in all our ways, actions, words and deeds. May the Lord help us on this journey to return to Him, that all of us may be filled with joy. God bless us all. Amen.

Saturday, 25 February 2017 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)
Mark 10 : 13-16

At that time, people were bringing their little children to Jesus to have Him touch them, and the disciples rebuked them for this. When Jesus noticed it, He was very angry and said, “Let the children come to Me and do not stop them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.”

Then He took the children in His arms and, laying His hands on them, blessed them.

Saturday, 25 February 2017 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)
Psalm 102 : 13-14, 15-16, 17-18a

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust.

The days of mortals are like grass; they bloom like a flower of the field; but the wind passes over it, and it is gone, his field will not see him again.

But the Lord’s kindness is forever with those who fear Him; so is His justice, for their children’s children, for those who keep His covenant and remember His commands.

Saturday, 25 February 2017 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)
Sirach 17 : 1-13

The Lord created man from the earth and let him return to earth. He settled a fixed time for them and a set number of days, giving them power over everything on earth. He endowed them with a strength like His own, making them in His own image.

He put fear of them in all living things, thus they had mastery over the animals and birds. He endowed them with knowledge; He gave them tongue and eyes, ears and a mind to think with. He filled them with wisdom and knowledge; He taught them good and evil. He put His own eye in their hearts so they would understand the greatness of His works. They will praise His holy Name and relate the magnificence of His creation.

He gave them revealed knowledge as well and handed over to them the Law of life. He established an everlasting covenant with them and let them know His judgments. Human eyes saw the splendour of the Glory of God; their ears heard the grandeur of His voice.

Friday, 24 February 2017 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Sacred Scriptures which have a profound impact on our lives, especially those with regards to the very fabric of our Christian families, that is the matter of marriage or holy matrimony. We have to realise that in this day and time, in our world today, the institution of marriage often comes under attack from many directions, from all those who were trying to destroy and desecrate its sanctity.

In the first reading today, from the Book of the prophet Sirach, we heard a very good advice regarding friendships and relationships between us and one another. In that passage, we heard about the importance of building up good and healthy relationship, to make real and faithful friends, and not just acquaintances, or worse still, friends for benefits. What does this mean, brothers and sisters in Christ?

It means that we must not be hasty to make relationships based on worldly qualifications alone. We must not be quick to establish relationships based on worldly pleasures and matters such as money and temptations of the flesh, lust and human desires. This is exactly the same in the matter of relationships and even marriage. People judged and made decisions based on appearances and on superficial matters, rather than truly understanding what a true relationship is about.

That is why, in many relationships, the foundations were weak and they were easily shaken. In many occasions, these relationships endured only through the good times, and when bad things and troubles come, the relationships foundered and broke apart. That is why in recent times, we had so much troubles with divorces and broken families, unfaithful husbands and wives, who committed adulterous relationships.

There were many people who build their lives and relationships on unsteady foundations of money, possessions, worldly things, lust, pleasure, earthly beauty and many others. As such once the worldly things that do not last forever disappear or are used up, it leads to a collapse in the marriage life and in the family structure. This is what had plagued many of our families in recent times, and which also troubled the Church as a whole.

For truly, families are the basic units of the Church and our faith, for it is through the instructions of our parents that we have first received our faith, listened to the teachings of the Church, which they themselves had received from their own parents. If this familial structure breaks down, then the faith of whole generations will also stumble and become shaky, and the whole Church will be affected.

It is a reality that in many of our families today, there is no place for God. God does not take a centre place in our families. That is why we have divorces and adulterous relationships. We put our trust in things of this world, and they are not good enough, and we in our greed seek for more worldly pleasures and this led us all into sin. That was what Jesus condemned in the Gospel today.

Jesus was very clear in His message in the Gospel today, that all those who have consciously without a valid reason, such as those written in the laws of the Church, broke the sanctity of the Sacrament of the Holy Matrimony, have committed great sin before God. And all the more, if the person remarries another person, or have any form of relationships with another person, then the sin committed is even greater.

Jesus was very clear in His words, that the union which God had made and blessed, cannot be undone by mankind, and no person has the authority and freedom to undo what God had decreed, the union between man and woman in the Holy Matrimony. But this is where instead of we just blaming the families and the people involved, we need to look deeper at the root cause of it all, as I have just mentioned earlier.

Is God in our daily lives? Do we allow Him to take charge of our lives? In our families, do we put God in a place of honour, and look up to Him at all times? Or have we rather allowed ourselves to be carried away by money, by lust, by our greed, and by all sorts of other things that have prevented us from truly having a functional, loving and holy family?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all today pray for all couples of the faithful people of God, that they will keep solemnly and faithfully the vows they have made before God on the day of their Holy Matrimony. Let us all pray that they will be able to keep their promises before God, and build up together holy, functional and loving families, through which faith can be transmitted and passed on, ensuring that our Church remains strong, vibrant and living.

May the Lord empower us and our families, so that He may always be at the centre of our lives, and we may be able to resist the temptations of worldliness, and all the other things that have caused us to sin and broke apart our families. May the Lord give us His strength so that we may persevere in faith, and remain true to Him, all of us and our families together as one. Amen.

Friday, 24 February 2017 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green
Mark 10 : 1-12

At that time, Jesus then left that place and went to the province of Judea, beyond the Jordan River. Once more crowds gathered around Him and once more He taught them as He always did. Some (Pharisees came and) put Him to the test with this question, “Is it right for a husband to divorce his wife?”

He replied, “What law did Moses give you?” They answered, “Moses allowed us to write a certificate of dismissal in order to divorce.” Then Jesus said to them, “Moses wrote this law for you, because you are stubborn. But in the beginning of creation God made them male and female, and because of this, man has to leave father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one body. So they are no longer two but one body. Therefore let no one separate what God has joined.”

When they were indoors at home, the disciples again asked Him about this, and He told them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against his wife, and the woman who divorces her husband and marries another also commits adultery.”

Friday, 24 February 2017 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green
Psalm 118 : 12, 16, 18, 27, 34, 35

Praise to You, o Lord; instruct me in Your statutes, that with my lips I may declare all Your spoken decrees.

In Your laws I will rejoice and will not neglect Your words.

Open my eyes that I may see the marvellous truths in Your law.

Explain to me all Your ordinances, and I will meditate on Your wondrous deeds.

Give me understanding, that I may observe Your law with all my heart.

Guide me in obeying Your instructions, for my pleasure lies in them.