Wednesday, 20 February 2019 : 6th 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 Scripture speaking to us about the wonders of God’s love for us all, His beloved people. God has blessed all those who are faithful to Him, and provided for the needs of those who trusted Him and placed their focus on Him. The Lord saved Noah and his family through the great Ark and He also saved the blind man from His predicament, by restoring the sight which that man had lost earlier.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, first of all we heard from the Book of Genesis, the account of how the Great Flood wiped all lives from the whole earth, except for all those that Noah and his family gathered in the great Ark. The Lord kept them safe from harm and protected them from danger. The Ark floated through the storm and the flood until the flood started to recede, and all of the survivors went on to repopulate the earth. This was God’s promise of love and salvation to all those who have been faithful to Him.

God then promised His people that He will never destroy them with flood again, and showed His promise with the rainbow, that appeared every time a great rain falls on the earth. Ultimately, this reminds us of the fact that God loves each and every one of us, and He does not wish or desire for our destruction and suffering. All those who have perished during the Great Flood was caused by their own disobedience against God, their wickedness and sins.

God did not condemn the people to hell and destruction, but instead, the people of God themselves have consciously rejected God’s love and His generous offer of mercy and forgiveness. God has given all of them many opportunities, chances after chances for them to repent from their sins and to turn away from their disobedience. However, they still chose to be tempted and to disobey God regardless of the consequences of their sinful ways.

Yet, even with all of those attitudes, God still wants to help us all, out of His ever great love for each and every one of us. He extends His mercy and love, and He wants to touch us and heal us, in body, mind and soul, just as He stretched out His hands in order to heal the blind man. The blind man, who must have suffered from his blindness, was completely cured from his condition, and he could see once again.

We can only imagine just how joyful the man must have been, at the very moment when he was able to see light once again, in a world once filled with darkness and despair, that light piercing through his vision, allowing him to see clearly once again must have been such an unimaginably joyful experience for the blind man. That is exactly what each and every one of us experience when we are freed from sin, and receive from God the gift of faith and everlasting life.

Once, we have been sinners and we have disobeyed God, but God in His rich and wondrous mercy gave us a new lease of life, and a new hope when we were in the depth of darkness. He has blessed us with all these things because He loves each one of us very tenderly and greatly, that He has given us His only begotten Son, as Our Saviour, and Christ has suffered and died for us all on the cross, for the sake of our salvation.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, the question for us is that, are we able to love God and dedicate ourselves in the same manner as God has done for us all these while? Are we able to commit ourselves to love God with all of our hearts, minds and with all of our strength just as He has done, in His great patience and compassion, although we have constantly sinned against Him? We are called to love God and to serve Him, from now on. Let us all turn towards Him, and devote ourselves to Him with all of our abilities from now on, and always. Amen.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019 : 6th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 8 : 22-26

At that time, when Jesus and His disciples came to Bethsaida, He was asked to touch a blind man who was brought to Him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When He had put spittle on his eyes and laid His hands upon him, He asked, “Can you see anything?”

The man, who was beginning to see, replied, “I see people! They look like trees, but they move around.” Then Jesus laid His hands on his eyes again and the man could see perfectly. His sight was restored and he could see everything clearly. Then Jesus sent him home, saying, “Do not return to the village.”

Wednesday, 20 February 2019 : 6th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 115 : 12-13, 14-15, 18-19

How can I repay the Lord for all His goodness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the Name of the Lord.

I will fulfil my vows to the Lord in the presence of all His people. It is painful to the Lord to see the death of His faithful.

I will carry out my vows to the Lord in the presence of His people, in the courts of the house of the Lord, in your midst, o Jerusalem.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019 : 6th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Genesis 8 : 6-13, 20-22

At the end of the forty days Noah opened the window of the Ark that he had built and let the raven out. This went off and kept flying to and fro until the waters had dried up from the earth.

Then Noah let out the dove to see if the waters were receding from the earth. But the dove could not find a place to set its foot and flew back to him in the Ark for the waters still covered the surface of the whole earth. So Noah stretched out his hand, took hold of it and brought it back to himself in the Ark.

He waited some more days and again sent the dove out from the Ark. This time the dove came back to him in the evening with a fresh olive branch in its beak. Then Noah knew the waters had receded from the earth. He waited seven more days and let the dove loose, but it did not return to him any more.

In the year six hundred and one, in the first month, on the first day of the month, the waters dried up from the earth. Noah then removed the covering from the Ark and looked out and saw that the surface of the earth was dry. Noah built an altar to YHVH and, taking some of all the clean animals and all the clean birds, he offered burnt offerings on it.

YHVH smelled the pleasing aroma and said to Himself : “Never again will I curse the earth because of man, even though his heart is set on evil from childhood; never again will I strike down every living creature as I have done. As long as the earth lasts, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease to be.”

Wednesday, 13 February 2019 : 5th 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 God in the Scripture passages which reminded us of the love with which God has created each and every one of us, even as we heard the account of the creation of man, in the Book of Genesis which is our first reading passage of today. In that passage, we heard how God gave us life and gave us the wonders of His love, as His most beloved creation.

All of us have been created special by God, as the pinnacle of His works of creation, capping the works of creation. We have been made in the very image of God Himself, and we have been favoured by God, with the breath of life and the gift of wisdom, that He has bestowed on each and every one of us. His own Spirit of life dwells within each one of us and we have been made all good and perfect, ready to receive and share in the wonders of God’s love.

Unfortunately, man desired for more than what they have been given, and fell into the temptations of the evil one, and when they disobeyed God, they sinned against God, out of their own wicked desires and selfishness, coming from their hearts and minds. They were created all good and perfect, but their downfall came when they allowed the devil to sow in their hearts and minds, the seeds of rebelliousness and disobedience.

This is important for us to take note, in the perspective of what we have heard in today’s Gospel passage, when the Lord Jesus went up against the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, in the argument regarding cleanliness and the sanctity of the human person, as the latter enforced a very strict interpretation of the Law of God as revealed through Moses, that excluded the Israelites from the consumption of certain types of food such as those originating from pigs, shellfish and many others.

The Lord had His reasons when He revealed to His people at the time of the Exodus, the rules regarding the prohibitions of the consumptions of certain types of food, but as the Lord again revealed in perfect truth, through His Son, Jesus Christ, the truth about the full meaning of the Law and His intention was made clear, that the food by itself had no means to make someone to be unclean, unlike what some of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law contended.

The Lord made it clear to all who heard Him, that the sins of man came not from the outside, but from the inside, from the depth of our hearts and minds, caused by the same seeds of rebellion and disobedience that the devil has planted in us. This is then elaborated by the Lord in another parable, on the sower, when He told His disciples about a sower who sowed good seeds in the field, only to have an enemy who sneaked in at night and sowed weeds among the good seeds.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are called to reflect on our own lives, if we have been allowing those weeds sown by the devil in our hearts and minds to grow strong and to take roots within ourselves, or whether we have persisted to allow the seeds of faith in God to grow better and stronger than those weeds in our lives. Instead of focusing on external piety and signs of faith as the Pharisees did, by overemphasis on outward appearances of faith, we should look deep within ourselves, and discover the love which we ought to have for God.

Today, we are called to renew that love which we should have for the Lord, and to grow deeper in our devotion and commitment to serve Him. May the Lord continue to guide us in His ways, and instil in each one of us, the true love and faith that we have for Him. Let us all also make the conscious and strong effort to love God in our every actions and deeds, in all of our words and in everything we act, each and every single days of our life. Amen.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 7 : 14-23

At that time, Jesus then called the people to Him again and said to them, “Listen to Me, all of you, and try to understand. Nothing that enters a person from the outside can make that person unclean. It is what comes from within that makes a person unclean. Let everyone who has ears listen.”

When Jesus got home and was away from the crowd, His disciples asked Him about this saying, and He replied, “So even you are dull? Do you not see that whatever comes from outside cannot make a person unclean, since it enters not the heart but the stomach, and is finally passed out?” Thus Jesus declared that all foods are clean.

And He went on, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him, for evil designs come out of the heart : theft, murder, adultery, jealousy, greed, maliciousness, deceit, indecency, slander, pride and folly. All these evil things come from within and make a person unclean.”

Wednesday, 13 February 2019 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 103 : 1-2a, 27-28, 29bc-30

Bless the Lord my soul! Clothed in majesty and splendour; o Lord, my God, how great You are! You are wrapped in light as with a garment.

They all look to You for their food in due time. You give it to them, and they gather it up; You open Your hand, they are filled with good things.

You take away their breath, they expire and return to dust. When You send forth Your Spirit, they are created, and the face of the earth is renewed.