Tuesday, 15 January 2019 : 1st 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 from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Hebrews, speaking about God’s dominion and power which He has given to His Saviour and Son, Jesus Christ. This was conveyed to the Jewish Christian community, many of whom believed that Jesus was the promised Messiah and Prophet, but many of them did not yet hold the position of believing that Jesus is the Son of God.

St. Paul wrote that to the Lord Jesus has been given the authority from His heavenly Father, that even though to all He appeared as a Man, the Son of Man, but He was not like any other men. For He was in truth, more than just a Man. Even the Angels and the evil spirits, who were fallen angels and all those who rebelled against God with Satan, they have to obey to Him and listen to His commands. That is why in the Gospel passage today, we heard how the Lord commanded the evil spirit to leave the man who was possessed by it.

In that passage, we heard the evil spirit himself proclaiming loudly before all who were gathered, Who the Lord Jesus truly was, that He was the Holy One of God, the One sent into the world with power and authority to heal mankind and to redeem them from their sins. Ironically, when the Pharisees, the teachers of the Law and all those who should have welcomed the Lord because they were knowledgeable of the prophecies concerning Him, failed to do so and even rejected Him, an evil spirit proclaimed Him as Lord.

This is a testimony of truth that is beyond all doubt, for an evil spirit may be able to do all sorts of falsehoods and lies, and spread untruths to make others fall into sin, but even it and the other evil spirits, and also the devil himself cannot tell lies before the Lord, Who is their Lord and Master as well. Satan was once the most brilliant Angel, Lucifer that fell because of his own ego and pride, and many Angels followed in his footsteps, cast out of heaven and becoming fallen angels and demons.

Therefore, as they were still creatures of the One and only Lord and King, Creator and Master of the entire universe, they had to obey the King of kings, and in Jesus, Who is both Man and God, with fullness of authority and power over them, the devil has no power and means to acknowledge but the truth. They knew that they had no power over Him and His humanity, for His humanity is spotless and perfect without any taint of sin.

Yet, it was God’s own people that rejected Him and refused to believe in Him and His words. They rather trusted and believed in their own ego and pride, in the things that caused Satan and all the fallen angels to fall from God’s grace before. They hardened their hearts against God’s love, and as a result, although they have witnessed firsthand the wonderful works and miracles of God, they failed to believe and instead, persecuted those who believed in the Lord’s truth.

St. Paul therefore wrote to all those Jewish communities and people who believed in the Lord despite the opposition of those who were influential in their community, including many of the chief priests, the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law. St. Paul wrote to them to keep the faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the One Whom the Lord has promised to His people as His Saviour, and Whose loving sacrifice on the cross has brought about the redemption of our sins.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we are called to reflect on this love which God has for each and every one of us, and we are called to love God in the same way that He has loved us first. He was so generous in His love, that despite our disobedience and sins, He Who loves each and every one of us do not wish us to be destroyed. Instead, He gave us every opportunity to be saved, and through His own Son, He has made this into a reality.

Let us all therefore live our lives from now on with faith, committing ourselves to the will of God, loving Him each and every days of our lives, and devoting our efforts, time and attention to Him. Let us glorify God through our actions, words and deeds from now on. May God bless us all now and forevermore. Amen.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019 : 1st Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 1 : 21b-28

At that time, Jesus taught in the synagogue on the sabbath day. The people were astonished at the way He taught, for He spoke as One having authority and not like the teachers of the Law.

It happened that a man with an evil spirit was in their synagogue, and he shouted, “What do You want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know Who You are : You are the Holy One of God.”

Then Jesus faced him and said with authority, “Be silent, and come out of this man!” The evil spirit shook the man violently and, with a loud shriek, came out of him. All the people were astonished, and they wondered, “What is this? With what authority He preaches! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey Him!” And Jesus’ fame spread throughout all the country of Galilee.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019 : 1st Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 8 : 2a and 5, 6-7, 8-9

O Lord, our Lord, how great is Your Name throughout the earth! What is man that You be mindful of him, the Son of Man, that You should care for Him?

Yet You made Him a little lower than the Angels; You crowned Him with glory and honour and gave Him the works of Your hands; You have put all things under His feet.

Sheep and oxen without number and even the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, the fish of the sea, and all that swim the paths of the ocean.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019 : 1st Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Hebrews 2 : 5-12

The Angels were not given dominion over the new world of which we are speaking. Instead someone declared in Scripture : What is man, that You should be mindful of him, what is the Son of Man that You should care for Him? For a while You placed Him a little lower than the Angels, but You crowned Him with glory and honour. You have given Him dominion over all things.

When it is said that God gave Him dominion over all things, nothing is excluded. As it is, we do not yet see His dominion over all things. But Jesus Who suffered death and for a little while was placed lower than the Angels has been crowned with honour and glory. For the merciful plan of God demanded that He experience death on behalf of everyone.

God, from Whom all come and by Whom all things exist, wanted to bring many children to glory, and He thought it fitting to make perfect through suffering the Initiator of their salvation. So He Who gives and those who receive holiness are one. He Himself is not ashamed of calling us brothers and sisters, as we read : Lord, I will proclaim Your Name to My brothers; I will praise You in the congregation.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019 : Tuesday after the Epiphany (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Lord in the Scriptures reminding us of the great love which He has blessed us with. He has given us His love, as St. John wrote in his Epistle, in none other than the perfect gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, the perfect manifestation of God’s love in our midst. There is no greater love than the love which God has given us, in allowing Himself to enter into our world in the form of Man, humbling Himself as such, just so that He could save us all from our fated destruction because of our sins.

In the Gospel passage today, we heard the passage from the Gospel according to St. Matthew in which the Lord Jesus showed His tender and compassionate love for His people, when He saw many of them, five thousand men and many thousands more women and children, who followed Him for many days, were hungry and without food. He had pity on them and He thus fed them to provide for their physical and bodily needs.

In that occasion, He performed the famous miracle of the multiplication of the loaves of bread and fishes, that from the five loaves of bread and two fishes present, all of the multitudes of people could eat to their hearts’ content, and still twelve full baskets of scraps and leftovers were collected. Through this, we can see how God loved His people so much, that He took care of them, giving them providence and sustenance in the form of the physical food.

But what the Lord has done in that occasion, was in fact merely just a foreshadowing of what was to come, what He was about to do in order to show them all His infinite love, by the breaking of His own Body, the true Bread from heaven, not the bread that satisfies just the flesh and the stomach, but the spiritual and true Bread, through Whom all of those who have faith in Him and partake in Him will be saved.

And that is God’s love for us, as St. John reminded us all through his Epistle, as God’s love become incarnate in the flesh, and became Man, so that, by that act, the perfect offering and sacrifice, the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, Jesus Christ, Our Lord, may complete perfectly the long awaited salvation for all of God’s beloved ones, that is all of us. He offered Himself, His own Body and Blood, broken on the Altar of the Cross, that all of us may receive this rich and unimaginable bounty of life through His loving sacrifice.

Yet, unfortunately, many of us are still ignorant of the love which God has shown for us. We still live in ignorance of His love because of sin, that caused us to be desensitised to God’s love and mercy in our midst. We are so preoccupied by worldly matters, by all sorts of temptations, of power, of glory, of ambition, ego, and other greedy and unworthy pursuits in life, that we are unable to feel and recognise God’s ever present love.

And the wonders of God’s love is such that, even though we have sinned and disobeyed against Him, but God loves us so much that He was willing to be reconciled with us, if only that we are willing to accept His mercy and love, and repent from our sinful and wicked ways. Through Christ, His Son, He revealed and offered us His purest love, so generously, that all of us who have accepted Him as Our Lord and Saviour, will receive nothing less than eternal life and glory with Him.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, are we willing to make the commitment to love God? Are we willing to love Him just as He has loved us first so generously and tenderly? God is calling upon us to turn towards Him, filled with love, to receive the fullness of His grace and love, by uniting ourselves to Him, in perfect love, through Christ. Let us therefore, from now on, renew our commitment to live our lives with faith and devotion. May God, Our loving Lord and Creator, continue to love us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019 : Tuesday after the Epiphany (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Mark 6 : 34-44

At that time, as Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and He had compassion on them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd. And He began to teach them many things. It was now getting late, so His disciples came to Him and said, “This is a lonely place and it is now late. You should send the people away and let them go to the farms and villages around here, to buy themselves something to eat.”

Jesus replied, “You, yourselves, give them something to eat.” They answered, “If we are to feed them, we need two hundred silver coins to go and buy enough bread.” But Jesus said, “You have some loaves; how many? Go and see.” The disciples found out and said, “There are five loaves and two fish.”

Then He told them to have the people sit down, together in groups, on the green grass. This they did, in groups of hundreds and fifties. And Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish and, raising His eyes to heaven, He pronounced a blessing, broke the loaves, and handed them to His disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them.

They all ate and everyone had enough. The disciples gathered up what was left, and filled twelve baskets with broken pieces of bread and fish. Five thousand men had eaten there.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019 : Tuesday after the Epiphany (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 71 : 1-2, 3-4ab, 7-8

O God, endow the King with Your justice, the Royal Son with Your righteousness. May He rule Your people justly and defend the rights of the lowly.

Let the mountains bring peace to the people, and the hills justice. He will defend the cause of the poor, deliver the children of the needy.

Justice will flower in His days, and peace abound till the moon be no more. For He reigns from sea to sea, from the River to the ends of the earth.