Monday, 18 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 story from the Scriptures beginning with the tale of Cain and Abel, the firstborn children of men, of the first family, Adam and Eve. We heard how Cain and Abel grew up in this world, tilling its earth and shepherding the animals of the field. And as they grew up, we heard of the sad and unfortunate tale of how Abel killed his own brother, of his own flesh and blood, because of jealousy and anger.

We see in this unfortunate occasion, the greed and desire, the ego, pride and ambition that are present within us, that when we do not restrain ourselves, it can cause us to do things that can lead us into sin, as what Cain’s actions had shown us. Cain desired acceptance, acknowledgement and honour, and when his offerings to God were not accepted while his younger brother’s offering was accepted, he became angry and jealous at his brother.

And such feelings of anger and jealousy became source of temptation for Cain, and Satan made use of the opportunity to pull the strings at his desire and his ego, and as a result, without thinking further of the grave consequences, he killed Abel, his own younger brother, just so that he might be able to satisfy his jealousy and justify his anger and ego. In that action, he has committed a great sin of murder, and worse still, as he murdered his own brother.

In the Gospel reading today, we heard of another story, in which the people asking the Lord Jesus to perform signs and miracles before them. And especially, it was the Pharisees who asked the Lord to perform those miracles with the malicious intent of hoping to embarrass Him, despite themselves having seen how the Lord Jesus could perform all those wonders and powers which no one, except those sent by God, could have performed.

Yet they still asked the Lord to perform the miracles, with the intention to harm His reputation and to embarrass Him. This came about because of the jealousy that they had against the Lord Jesus, as they saw Him as a rival to their own teaching authority, power and prestige within the community of the people of Israel. They saw His courageous and authoritative teachings as threats to their influence and privileges, especially because large crowds always followed the Lord wherever He went.

Just as Cain felt angry and jealous because his ego and pride was seemingly slighted by the acceptance of Abel’s sacrifice over his, the Pharisees were also affected by the same anger and jealousy, when they saw that the people were no longer solely depending on them as the sole source of knowledge and authority, but instead turning towards the truth that Christ has brought into the midst of His people.

This shows each one of us how dangerous our ego and pride can be. History has shown that when we allow pride and ego to guide our way and our thoughts, our choice of actions and decisions in life, we can end up committing even heinous and wicked crimes and deeds, that can cause the sufferings of others, pain and hurt in those whose livelihood may be affected negatively by our own desires and ego.

Cain killed Abel over this matter, and the Pharisees joined all those who sought the death of the Lord Jesus, and condemned Him to die on the cross at the hands of the Romans, all because of their ego and pride. They allowed all these things to become obstacles in their way of faith, and in the end, sin entered into their hearts and minds, corrupting their whole beings. This is what we can also suffer from, unless we realise how dangerous our pride and ego is, and restrain them.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we should temper our pride and our ego within us. These are things that are always within us, and we will always be tempted to be proud and to be selfish, to be seeking for our own glory and comfort, even at the expense of others. However, as Christians, we have all been called to overcome all of these, and resist the temptation to sin by this manner. Thus, instead of being filled with jealousy and pride, let us instead turn towards God and learn to love Him with all of our hearts.

May the Lord sow within us all the seeds of His love, that we may grow ever stronger in love, and remove from our hearts and minds all pride, egoistic and selfish attitudes, wicked thoughts and desires, and jealousy against others. Let us all love our brothers and sisters from now on, just as much as we love ourselves and love God in the same way as well. Amen.

Sunday, 17 February 2019 : Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Sunday we listened to the words of the Lord through the Scripture passages reminding us all of the need for each and every one of us to trust in the teachings and the ways that the Lord has shown us all, and not in our own human abilities and power, and neither in the matters of the world. All of us heard that we are called to turn towards God with all of our hearts and with all of our strength. God will bless us all greatly and wonderfully if we have done so.

In our first reading today, we heard the sayings of the prophet Jeremiah, in which the prophet cursed all those who trusted in their worldly power and in their own human glory, on how those people would never find true happiness in life as long as they continued to trust in the powers of the world. Instead, all those who trusted in God and in His power would be blessed and would receive all goodness in due time, as God has promised. They would receive true joy and happiness from God Himself.

Then, in the second reading today, we heard from St. Paul in the Epistle he wrote to the Church and the faithful in the city of Corinth, where he spoke of the resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ as the proof of the faith that all of the faithful had believed, that they had not believed in vain in the Lord, Who had overcome even death itself, our greatest enemy of all. Death is the result and consequence of sin, just as sin is caused by our disobedience against the will of God.

This is the proof that it is the faith and trust in God alone that will overcome all sorts of difficulties and challenges. There is no other foundation or any thing in this universe capable of replacing the Lord as the centre, focus and hope of our lives. Any other foundation and trust in other things beyond the Lord is superficial and illusory in nature, and we will not be able to gain true joy, assurance and satisfaction because we will never find true peace unless if we go through God.

Why is that so? Brothers and sisters in Christ, we should look upon the history of our humanity’s past, at all the various actions and things that we mankind had done and which we had experienced throughout time. We see how mankind always tried to do their best, to attain the best for themselves, to gain the most joy, pleasure, happiness, glory, fame, power, and all sorts of good things for themselves, and yet, they were never truly happy and secure in their lives.

On the other hand, instead of experiencing true joy, peace and happiness, our predecessors experienced much sorrow, agony, pain, suffering, despair and lack of peace in their lives, all because of them putting their trust and their focus on the wrong things, as they placed their trust on worldly assurances of money, of human glory, prestige, of pleasure of the body and the temptation of greatness and hubris, ambition and pride.

Everyone suffered, when those who had power, greatness, wealth, prestige and the means of worldliness oppressed those who have less, little or none, in their pursuit to gain more of those worldly desires and temptations for themselves. But they did not gain more happiness, joy and satisfaction among themselves, because by our nature, greed will only lead to even more greed and desire, and when we have something, we naturally desire even more.

That is why, we can never be satisfied by anything of this world, no matter how hard we try it. And we must not forget, just as the Lord Himself said in another parable He taught His disciples, showing the futility of those who sought to enrich themselves with many worldly things, that a rich man who tore down his many barns in order to accommodate even more goods in them, but was told by the Lord of his foolishness, as his own life would be taken away from him that very night, and none of his amassed wealth and glory would be his any longer.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, that is why as I have mentioned earlier, death is our greatest enemy, for death marks the moment when our earthly life and existence ended. And that is why, throughout history and time, men had tried again and again, futilely, in order to try to overcome and cheat death. Many spent much money and resources, efforts and trying various methods in order to attain for themselves eternal life and youth. Many tried to keep themselves alive and appearing good, without success.

People had been spending a lot on beauty products and those things that were claimed to have life-lengthening and rejuvenating effects on the body. But in the end, no one can extend one’s life even by a millionth of a second, for everything is according to God’s will, and when God calls us back, and to give an account of our respective lives, we have no way to refuse this call. And none of our earthly glories and power will follow us through.

That is why, today’s Gospel passage, in which the Lord went through with His disciples and followers a series of blessings and curses for certain groups of people, which we know better as the Sermon on the Mount or the Eight Beatitudes, we heard exactly what we have just been discussing on our search for happiness, our often futile efforts to preserve ourselves from death, by searching and desiring for more worldly things, and allowing ourselves to be tempted by the devil.

In the Beatitudes, the Lord reminded all of us His people, that unless we learn and try to let go of all these wicked desires, and restrain all those thoughts of pride, ambition, and not allowing our ego and pride to overcome us, we will end up falling into sin, deeper and deeper, and eventually, as mentioned, sin leads to death, and not just any death, but eternal death and damnation. For those who sin and does not repent, they have no part in the Covenant that God had made with all those who are faithful to Him.

Those who are proud and ambitious, those who oppress and persecute others just so that they can earn for themselves more worldly glory, power, wealth, riches, majesty, fame and all other things we often desire, all of us who choose to put our trust in all these worldly things, will find ourselves disappointed because even though now we may enjoy what we have, and indulge in the pleasures they provided us, but these things will not last forever.

The time will come when the reckoning of our lives will be upon us, and unless we have done what the Lord has commanded us to do, then we may end up falling into eternal damnation, and has no share in the Covenant, the salvation which the Lord Jesus Christ, Our God and Saviour has brought upon us by His sacrifice on the cross. Only those who are humble, those who are poor in spirit, meaning those who look at themselves not with pride but instead with humility before God, will receive the fullness of God’s glory.

And through the Beatitudes, God is calling us all to follow this path that He had set before us all. He is calling us to be faithful, in all things and in all of our dealings and actions, that we place God as the very core and centre of our lives and existences. We are called to be peacemakers, to be those who bring the love of God to one another, sharing the love and blessings which He has so generously given us, so that each and every one of us may enjoy the fruits of God’s wonderful love.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, from now on, if we have not done so, let us all grow in faith in God, and devote ourselves to love God and to turn ourselves away from the path of sin and wickedness. Let us all strive to overcome our attachment to worldly temptations and goods, and instead, make the effort to put our complete trust in God. Let us all seek the Lord with all of our strength, and let us all grow ever closer to Him, from now on, through the lessons of the Beatitudes, and bear the fruits of the Beatitudes of Christ in our daily living. Amen.

Saturday, 16 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 the Scripture speaking to us about the love which God has for us all, His beloved people, despite of all of our disobedience and sins against Him. He still loved us all regardless, although our sins and wickedness have indeed caused Him great sorrow and anger. He is still willing to give us all chance, one after another, to allow us to be reconciled with Him and to return to His loving embrace.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the first reading today from the Book of Genesis showed us the downfall of man, the moment when men fell into the trap set against them bu Satan, who sought our mutual destruction with him and his fellow fallen angels. Satan tempted our ancestors to sin against God, tapping into our worldly desires and our vulnerabilities to pride, ego and all sorts of worldly thoughts that ended up causing us to disobey God, much as our ancestors had done.

The fruits of disobedience is sin, and sin caused us to be separated from God, as sin is a corruption upon our beings, a disease that is slowly eating upon our souls and our existences. And because sin is by nature wicked and evil, those who have sin in them have no place before God, and God Who is all good and perfect will not allow sin to exist before Him. In fact, unrepentant sinners will suffer grievously because of their own sins, which brought about their damnation before God.

There is therefore a massive chasm separating us from God, and this chasm is sin, as well as its consequence, that is death. And the fate awaiting us all sinners is eternal death, total separation from God for eternity, and this is the same as for us to endure an eternity of suffering, despair, unhappiness and loneliness, as we have been sundered from the source of all life and love, God Himself. Without Him, we are truly nothing, and our existence is totally meaningless.

Is that the fate that God wanted us to endure for eternity? Certainly that is not the case. God loved each and every one of us when He created us. He gave us life and the gift of His love. As a result, it is not in God’s will and intention for us to suffer because of our sins, and that was why, He promised to us all the salvation which He was to send into this world, through none other than Christ, His own beloved Son, by Whose actions we have been saved.

Through our Lord Jesus, the love of God had been made manifest in this world in the flesh, and in the Gospel passage today, He showed the love and mercy by which He desired all of His loved ones to be reunited with Him. He saw all the people who followed Him, desiring to be healed from their many afflictions, and to hear His teachings, many of them from sinful backgrounds, desiring to be forgiven from their mistakes and sins. And the Lord cared for them, spiritually as well as physically.

The Lord did so when He saw all of them being hungry, after following Him for so many days. He miraculously multiplied the seven loaves of bread into food enough to feed four thousand men assembled, together with many thousands more of women and children. After He had fed the people and they were all full, He continued to teach them and to perform His miracles and healings among them.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, through all these, we can see how God loves each and every one of us, and how He desires for us all to be reconciled to Him. He has given all of us opportunities, again and again, for us to abandon our ways of sin, and to seek Him and His generous mercy. But are we willing to accept His offer of mercy? If we are willing to do so, then just as those people who went to follow the Lord for many days, suffering from hunger and other things during their journey, we too have to endure sufferings and difficulties at times as well.

Let us all therefore turn towards God, and entrust ourselves to His loving mercy and compassion. May the Lord guide us all, and may He continue to love us as He has always been, and draw us all closer to Himself. Amen.

Friday, 15 February 2019 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard of the story from both the first and the Gospel reading passages that related to us, the story of both mankind’s downfall into sin, and how then mankind were saved from the pit of sin by God Himself, lifted up from the depth of darkness and hopelessness, into the new hope and the promise of God’s wonderful love and grace.

In the first reading passage today, taken from the Book of Genesis, we heard how Satan, the evil one, the one who rebelled out of pride against God, Lucifer, the false lightbringer, who became proud of his own glorious nature and power, wanted to bring down those whom God loved the most out of all of His creations, that is man. Satan appeared to Adam and Eve in the form of a serpent, tempting them with lies and with sweet, false promised of glory and power in exchange for disobedience against God.

He promised that men would become like God if only they ate from the fruits of the tree specifically forbidden by God for them to eat. The devil was striking at mankind’s ego, pride and desire in their hearts and minds, to subvert them into being selfish, egoistic and be filled with the desires that in the end caused them to fall into sin against God, and was therefore cast out of Eden and God’s presence, to suffer the consequences of our sins in this world of suffering.

By desiring to know more, to want more knowledge by eating of the fruits of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, in fact men were restraining themselves within that knowledge, with the desire to know, the greed to taste and feel the pleasures of the world, many of which led them to sin even more, and fall deeper into the darkness. By that act of disobedience, sin entered into the hearts of men, and corrupted them, leaving them in the darkness.

But God, Who loved each and every single one of us, did not give up on us. In fact, He planned everything since the very beginning of the salvation of all those whom He loved, by nothing less than the giving of His own Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, Who became our Lord and Saviour. In the Gospel passage today, as we heard how the Lord opened the ears and loosened the tongues of a man born deaf and mute, we in fact heard the story of our own salvation and liberation from the tyranny of sin.

Sin has become a great obstacle, a great veil of darkness that prevented us from seeing the love and the light of God. Through sin we have been separated from God, and made to suffer in darkness. But God did not want us to suffer forever in that darkness. He brought to us a new light, a new hope that pierced through this dark veil and wall of sin, in the form of Christ, our Lord, Saviour and Redeemer.

We have been sick all these while because of our sins, and would have suffered the fate of eternal damnation, had the Lord not intervened for our sake, because of the great and boundless love that He has for each and every one of us, even to the greatest of sinners among us. He called us all to return to Him, and to be loved once again by Him. And the way towards that, is through Him alone, by our faith in Him, believing that in Him, our Lord and Saviour, is our Hope for eternal life.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us are called to reflect on our own lives, and our own earthly existence. Are we aware of the sins we have committed in our respective lives thus far? Are we aware of the dangers of leaving those sinful ways and wickedness uncorrected and unrepented? We must also realise that it is in God alone that we can find healing through forgiveness, and we must realise how even when we are good in all things and are physically healthy, but because of sin, all of us are sick spiritually.

Many of us are afflicted by the allures of worldly pleasures and temptations, the temptation of monetary wealth, the desires and lusts for the flesh, the greed for glory and human praise, the wants for position and prestige, acceptance and approval by our fellow men. And all of these often caused us to fall deeper into sin, as inevitably all these caused our desires to clash, and we cause suffering and pain on others as we seek to satisfy our own desires.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us take some time using this opportunity given by God, for us to turn away from the path of sin, and embrace the loving mercy and forgiveness that God is offering us all so generously. Let us all seek Him to heal us from our afflictions, just as the man born deaf and mute sought the healing of the Lord and was healed from all of his complaints. It is by putting our trust in God, that we will receive pardon from all the obstacles that prevented us from truly enjoying the true happiness and glory, which in God alone we can enjoy.

May the Lord be with us always, and may He continue to guide us all, through our life, now and always. May He bless us all in our endeavours, and bring us ever closer to Him, that we may love Him more and more, our Lord and Saviour. Amen.

Thursday, 14 February 2019 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Cyril, Monk and St. Methodius, Bishop, Patron Saints of Europe (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the story of the creation of man and woman, whom God had created in His own image, and how He has given everything that He has created to each and every one of them, to be the caretakers, owners and stewards of His creation, for mankind are His most beloved creations, the ones closest to His own image and His own heart and mind.

He made all of them because of His love for them, that He wanted to share with them the love that He has in Him, bursting out of the perfect love of the Trinity, and which then came upon us. And He saw how man was lonely without company of an equal, reflecting on the nature of His very own Trinity. The Most Holy Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit is perfect, but each part of the Trinity cannot be separated from each other without destroying this perfection and balance present among the unity of the Trinity.

And as the Father loved the Son and the Holy Spirit, and as the Son loved the Father and the Holy Spirit, and as the Holy Spirit loved the Father and the Son, therefore, God created us man to be creatures of love as well, to be filled with love and to be made all good and perfect, first and foremost in union with God, and then in union with one another. That was why God created us man and woman, as we heard in our first reading passage taken from the Book of Genesis.

God created us man and woman to be part of the one body, one flesh and one existence. Just as the rib bone and the flesh were symbolically taken from man to create woman, as an equal partner to man, thus man and woman are destined to be together, to be united in a holy union that reflects upon the perfect unity and love found in the Most Holy Trinity. Through this union, the fruits of God’s love came forth, that is the fruits of life, in the children born of the union of man and woman.

Unfortunately, at the time of the Lord Jesus, just as it frequently happened throughout history, man and woman had not treated each other with respect or regards to their equality with one another. Instead, women were often put in disadvantage and treated unequally or in a biased way, where many of these women had to endure injustice and often even intrusion to their basic human right, to live as a person with dignity.

That was what the Lord tried to bring forth to our attention through His interaction with the Syro-Phoenician woman in our Gospel passage today. In that passage, we heard how a Syro-Phoenician woman asked the Lord Jesus to come and heal her afflicted daughter, who was troubled by sickness and by the attacks from evil spirits and demons. Yet, the Lord seemed to be unfazed and unaffected by her pleas, and in fact, seemed to be kind of rude when He was making an indirect comparison between her and that of a dog.

This was in fact the Lord’s way of putting forth all the accumulated prejudices and terrible biases present within the community of the people of God during that time, when so many people looked down on the non-Jewish people, those of pagan origins and were not therefore counted among the people of Israel. And in particular, all the more because the Syro-Phoenician was a woman, that the ridicule, bias and prejudice against her were even more rampant and terrible.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, many of us living in this world today surely have heard how women have often been marginalised, being prejudiced against, and even been exploited for the benefit of those who were greedy and wicked in hearts and minds. Yet, this is not what the Lord wants from us when He created each and every one of us. As mentioned, He made us all, man and woman, to be co-equal partners in the holy union He Himself will bless, where both man and woman make each other perfect by that unity in love.

Many of the current challenges, difficulties and marginalisation due to gender, are caused by our own limited ability to look beyond the flesh and the appearances, which have unfortunately caused many to go down the path of sin, when we are tempted by the temptations of the flesh. We seek what is on the external, and seek for the beauty of the exterior, while failing to recognise the presence of the great love within.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today, we celebrate in the secular world, the celebration of Valentine’s day, which came about because this day, the fourteenth day of February, used to be the Feast day of St. Valentine, who inspired many by his loving care for others, even for those who persecuted and imprisoned him. Over time, this celebration became corrupted and changed, misguided and done wrongly because of the secularisation of its meaning.

We see how Valentine’s day became one of the worst outlets and reminders for us, of our ugly human nature, filled with lust and desire for the pleasures of the flesh, and of materialistic excesses, which are often associated with the celebration of the Valentine’s day. But, in truth, as Christians, all of us are called to go out of this problem, and overcome it through our understanding and participation in God’s real work of love among us.

God sowed within us, the seeds of His wonderful love, giving us the same love that He has between Himself, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. It is love that is not corrupted nor made impure by the desires of our flesh, but one that is selfless and self-giving, sacrificial and committed at the same time. For God so loved the world, that He gave us all His only beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Saviour, that through Him we may have life and be saved.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we should imitate the perfect love shown by the Lord, and which His holy saints had emulated in their own lives. St. Valentine acted with love even towards his enemies and those who persecuted him, while St. Cyril and St. Methodius, the two saints highly venerated especially among our brethren in the Eastern Churches, devoted their whole lives in the service of the people of God, in bringing the truth of the Gospels and the Words of God to those people who have yet to receive the light of God’s truth.

Are we able to overcome the temptations of our flesh, and resist those wicked desires present in us to act without genuine love, and instead cause pain and suffering on others? Are we able to do our best in order to love one another equally just as God has intended us to do? Let us all reflect on today’s Scripture readings again, and think well in our minds as well as feel with our hearts, how we should be treating one another from now on, that is with love, compassion and fairness.

May the Lord continue to guide us with His love, that we too may grow ever stronger in our faith in Him, and that we may love Him with all of our hearts, and with all of our capabilities and strengths. Let us draw closer to Him, and draw ever closer to His love, with each and every single words and actions we take. May God bless us all, always, now and forevermore. Amen.

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.

Tuesday, 12 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 the Scripture reminding us all about the obligations that each and every one of us ought to have for the Lord, our loving Father and Creator, the One Who has created everything that are within this existence and universe. In the first reading today, we heard from the Book of Genesis, the continuation of yesterday’s account on the creation of the world by the Lord, culminating with the creation of all those whom God has created in His own image, that is all of us mankind.

He created each and every one of us out of love, because He wants to share the perfect and boundless love present within Himself, for He is love Himself. He did not create us to cause us to be troubled and enslaved unnecessarily to man-made laws and regulations that did not have their roots in God’s divine Law. The Law of God is perfect and filled with love, and it is a delight for us all to follow His Law.

Unfortunately, as what the society of the Israelites had experienced during the time of the Lord, there was the societal elite in the form of the Pharisees, the teachers of the Law, all those who held the knowledge of the Torah, that is the Scriptures and the Law, those who held the influence and power within the community, all of those who guided and led the people of God with their laws and rules, regulations and enforcements. And they enforced laws and rules that were unfortunately against the true meaning and intention of the Law of God.

The Lord criticised the way that those leaders had followed and enforced the rules and demanded the people to obey what they have imposed to the people. They imposed a very strict and rigid interpretation of the Law, and instead of truly understanding the significance and importance of the Law that God has given us, they took to nitpick the details of the Law and enforced them as external profession of faith.

That was why many among the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law were not internally oriented correctly towards the Lord in their way of life and in their actions. Outwardly they might appear to be faithful and committed, exemplary in their prayerful life and deeds, but as the Lord Jesus Himself rebukingly pointed out to the people, that those people did so because of the desire to glorify themselves and to gain influence and worldly approval.

And they allowed, as mentioned in the Gospel passage today, the people to overrule the precepts of the commandments and the Law, with regards to care for the family and parents, as well as in matters of marriage and in offering sacrificial offerings, to the point that it invalidated the whole meaning and intention of the Law. They did this with certain arrangements that brought about profit and advantage to the Pharisees, the teachers of the Law and the priests involved.

That was why the Lord was often critical at those people, who have not only misunderstood the Law of God and its application, but even worse still, manipulated the Law for their own advantage and personal ambitions and desires, and misguided the people into the wrong path. They showed each and every one of us, the path that we must not take, in our journey towards becoming a better and more faithful servant of God.

Instead, brothers and sisters in Christ, we should grow stronger in our love for God, and place Him at the centre and as the main and sole focus of our life’s attention. Everything that we say, we act and we do in this world should be aimed for the greater glory of God, and in everything we do, we should show our love for God, by truly spending quality time with Him, and more importantly, by listening to Him and knowing what it is that He has called each and every one of us to do in our respective lives.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today let us all renew our commitment and our desire to love God through our actions, words and deeds. He Who loved each and every one of us created us with love, so that we may share in His love. Let us therefore share that love which God has given us, with one another, so that all of us will grow stronger in love, be more gentle towards our fellow brethren, and grow more caring and compassionate, especially when we see our brethren who are in need of help.

May the Lord continue to sow in us, the seeds of His love, that He may continue to help us to grow better in faith, in our love for Him and in our fellow men, so that day after day, each one of us may grow ever closer to Him, and in time to come, we will be worthy to receive the eternal and true glory that He has promised us all who have been faithful to Him. May God bless us all, in all of our works and endeavours. Amen.