Saturday, January 27, 2018

4th Ordinary Sunday, Year B, 28.01.2018

Deuteronomy 18:15-20 / 1 Cor 7:32-35 / Mark 1:21-28
One week has passed and we are back again here in church for Mass. 
One week is not that long a time. But let’s ask ourselves this: What was it at Mass last week that made an impression on me? Was there anything that I remembered at Mass last week?

Although it was just seven days ago, we might not be able to recall anything of significance at last week’s Mass.

Oh yes, we were on our Sunday routine – we came for the same Mass time, we probably sat at the same pew or around there, the same things were being done. Nothing special, nothing impressionable, nothing impressive.

Not that we have a bad memory or suffer from a memory loss. Anyway if we can remember that we didn’t for Mass last Sunday, then we would have gone for Confession already.

Otherwise, we would say that everything went on as per normal at last week’s Mass. There was nothing out of the ordinary and nothing special.

Well on that Sabbath day in the synagogue as we heard in the gospel, the assembly gathered there also thought that it was just another ordinary Sabbath.

Until Jesus came along and He began to teach. And His teaching made a deep impression on them because He taught with authority.

And not only that, when there appeared a man possessed by an unclean spirit and challenged Jesus, Jesus expelled the unclean spirit from that man.

Certainly, for the people gathered at the synagogue, it was a Sabbath to remember. They were astonished and wondered what it all meant. But it also made a deep impression on them.

Now back to us who are gathered here for Mass on this Sunday. Will there be anything spectacular happening? Will there be anything that will make a deep impression on us?

Well, on the surface level, not likely. Unless the choir sings really off-key, or the wardens forget to go around for the collection, or the air-con breaks down. But no one will be shouting or screaming or making a scene.

So on the surface level, all seems normal and under control. But that’s only on the surface level. But there is also the spiritual level to consider.

And here is where we need to be quiet. We need to be silent so as to listen. Anyway “silent” and “listen” are made up of the same letters.

We need to be silent so as to listen to the prayers and to the Word of the Lord. If we were asked what were the Scripture readings of last Sunday, we will probably roll our eyes upwards as if the readings are on the ceiling.

And if we are asked if we remember any of the prayers said at Mass last Sunday, we will probably only remember saying “Amen”. Everything else seem to have gone in one ear and out from the other by the other ear.

Even though we may remember only saying “Amen”, yet that one word is a powerful affirmation. It means “Yes! It shall be!

We say it at the beginning and at the end of the Mass. We say it at end of every prayer. All in all we say “Amen” no less than ten times at Mass.

What we are saying is that what  we have listened to and what we have prayed for will be fulfilled. As Jesus said, “This is being fulfilled today, even as you listen.”

So how is it fulfilled even as we listen and say “Amen” that it will happen. 

In the Offertory Prayer last week, there is this word “salvation.” And the gospel of last week is about the call of the disciples.

A few days ago last week, a lady, who was a non-Catholic, came with her Catholic friend to see me.

She stays nearby and she ventured into the Church a couple of times during Mass and so she decided to ask her Catholic friend to accompany her to see a priest and so they ended up seeing me.

She made her queries, talked about her challenges and wondered if God wants her to be a Catholic.

As I listened to her, the words of last Sunday’s Mass “salvation” and “call” came to my mind, and then I realized that I was seeing it happening to that lady as she was talking. 

Indeed the Lord will fulfill the prayers that we “Amen” to and He will also fulfill the Word that He spoke to us.

God will give us signs and will work wonders for us. We do not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord, because the Word of the Lord is spirit and they give us life and light.

So let us be quiet. Let us be silent and listen, so that the Word of the Lord and our prayers at Mass will make an impression on us as we await the signs and wonders that the Lord will work for us.