Wednesday, 8 July 2015 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 10 : 1-7

At that time, Jesus called His twelve disciples to Him, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits, to drive them out and to heal every disease and sickness.

These are the names of the twelve Apostles : first Simon, called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew, the tax collector; James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus; Simon, the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, the man who would betray Him.

Jesus sent these twelve on mission with the instructions : “Do not visit pagan territory and do not enter a Samaritan town. Go instead to the lost sheep of the people of Israel. Go and proclaim this message : The kingdom of heaven is near.”

Wednesday, 8 July 2015 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 32 : 2-3, 10-11, 18-19

Give thanks to the Lord on the harp and lyre, making melody and chanting praises. Amid loud shouts of joy, sing to Him a new song and play the ten-stringed harp.

The Lord frustrates the plans of the nations and brings to nothing the peoples’s designs. But His plan stands forever, and His heart’s design through all generations.

But the Lord’s eyes are upon those who fear Him, upon those who trust in His loving kindness to deliver them from death and preserve them from famine.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Genesis 41 : 55-57 and Genesis 42 : 5-7a, 17-24a

When the land of Egypt began to suffer from the famine, the people came to Pharaoh for bread. But Pharaoh told all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph and do as he tells you.” When the famine had spread throughout the land, Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians for the famine was indeed severe over the land.

As the famine had worsened throughout the whole world, people came from other countries to buy grain from Joseph. So the sons of Israel were among those going to buy grain, for there was famine in Canaan. It was Joseph, as governor of the land, who sold the grain to all the people. When his brothers arrived they bowed before him, with their faces to the ground. Joseph recognised his brothers but did not make himself known.

And so he put them all in prison for three days. On the third day Joseph said to them, “I will help you to save yourselves, for I am a man who fears God. If you are sincere, let one of your brothers remain prisoner in the house of the guard where you now are, and the rest of you take the grain to save your families from famine. Then you will bring back your youngest brother; so the truth of what you say will be proved and your lives spared.”

They did as they were ordered and said among themselves, “Alas! We are guilty because of the way we treated our brother when he pleaded with us for mercy, but we did not listen. That is why this trouble has come upon us.” Reuben answered them, “Did I not tell you not to sin against the boy. But you did not listen and now we are brought to account for his blood.”

Now they did not know that Joseph understood them as there was an interpreter between them. As for Joseph, he withdrew and wept.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard about the work of God, who went here and there to cure and heal those who were sick, those who were possessed by the evil spirits, those afflicted by their sinful ways, and brought them to righteousness and salvation once again. And yet, some of His people doubted Him, even those who had seen His mighty deeds and power.

We can see this in the struggle which ensued between Jacob and God as Jacob made his way back from exile to the land of Canaan. He fled into exile to the house of his relatives back in Abraham’s homeland because of the great fear for his life, for having stolen the birthright and blessings which his brother Esau should have received from their father, Isaac.

And even though God had affirmed him in His love and showed how much he will be cared for, with all the blessings he received during his years in exile, having possessions, wealth, good wives and family with all of his children, but deep inside, he still had his doubts, and he still feared the retribution of Esau even as he travelled back to the land of Canaan, which God had promised him and his ancestor, Abraham.

That was why it is likely God appeared to him to show him that if he trusted in God, there would be nothing that he needed to fear from. He struggled with God and survived, and that was why he was given the name Israel, which literally means struggling with God. This is to show us that if God is behind us and giving us strength, then we really have no need to fear, for He will support us and help us in all that we need.

But doubt is indeed our greatest challenge, the inability to put our complete trust and faith in the Lord. And for the people of Israel, if we witness their actions and deeds throughout the entire Scripture, we see how they struggle to commit themselves to the Lord their God, as their hearts, minds and attentions are not fully focused on Him, but rather on the things of this world, trusting in their own power and abilities rather than putting their trust in the Lord.

They doubted Jesus because they were unable to comprehend the fullness of God’s truth and love, which He manifested perfectly in Jesus Christ, who healed many and cast out demons and sickness from many, simply because of one fact, that God loves us so much, and so great was His love, that He is willing to come down to earth to dwell with us and to succour us from the torture that is our sins.

And He has given us so much goodness for so little a price. All we need to do is to cast away our doubts and faithlessness, and embrace His love, which He had given for us freely, that we too may have love in us. And all of us who have believed in Him and followed Him, should realise that there is something for us to do, to help Him to bring the love which He had shown us, and the Good News of His salvation to the rest of the people, to all those who have yet to hear them and witness them.

The Lord had said, that the harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few. Indeed, this is the problem facing this world now. There are so many opportunities in this world, to bring men closer to God and bring them from doubt into faith, but there are so few willing to devote themselves to the tough job and challenges of bringing that Good News to those who are willing to hear it, and yet have no opportunity to do so.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all reflect today and think about the mission which God had given us through His disciples. Do we remember what the Lord Jesus told them before He ascended into heaven? He commanded them all to go forth to all the nations, to the very ends of the earth, and to baptise all nations and all peoples in His holy Name, and make them His own, united through His Church.

It is here then that our role is important, as we are the ones to continue the good works of the Apostles and disciples of the Lord, who had begun what He had commanded them to do. We do not have to start with big things and then thinking that it is too much and impossible for us to do. Rather, start from something as simple as having a strong faith on our own, and then show that great faith through real and true actions, all of which reflect the nature that we belong to the faith and to the Lord.

Let us now pray that we will be able to carry out this mission, and that people through our works will come flocking to the Lord our God, so that all of us may receive together the salvation and grace which He had promised all those who believe in Him. May Almighty God bless us and guide us in this path, and in all of our endeavours in faith. Amen.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 9 : 32-38

At that time, when the two blind men had just left, some people brought to Jesus a man who was dumb, because he was possessed by a demon. When the demon was driven out, the dumb man began to speak. The crowds were astonished and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.” But the Pharisees said, “He drives away demons with the help of the prince of demons.”

Jesus went around all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom, and He cured every sickness and disease. When He saw the crowds, He was moved with pity, for they were harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd.

Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are only few. Ask the Master of the harvest to send workers to gather His harvest.”

Tuesday, 7 July 2015 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 16 : 1, 2-3, 6-7, 8 and 15

Hear a just cause, o Lord, listen to my complaint. Give heed to my prayer for there is no deceit on my lips.

Let my defense come forth from You; Your eyes see what is right. You have proved my heart, searched me at night, tested me by fire, and You have seen no wickedness in me.

I call on You, You will answer me, o God; incline Your ear and hear my word. For You do wonders for Your faithful, You save those fleeing from the enemy as they seek refuge at Your right hand.

Keep me as the apple of Your eye; under the shadow of Your wings hide me. As for me, righteous in Your sight, I shall see Your face and, awakening, gaze my fill on Your likeness.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Genesis 32 : 23-33

Jacob took his two wives, his two maidservants and his eleven sons, and sent them across the stream and likewise everything he had. And Jacob was left alone. Then a Man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the Man saw that He could not get the better of Jacob, He struck him in the socket of his hip and dislocated it as He wrestled with him.

The Man said, “Let Me go, for day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let You go until You have given me Your blessing.” The Man then said, “What is your name?” “Jacob” was the reply. He answered, “You will no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have been strong-with-God as you have been with men and have prevailed.”

Then Jacob asked Him, “What is Your Name?” He answered, “Why do you ask My Name?” And He blessed him there. So Jacob called the place Penuel, saying, “I have seen God face to face and survived.” The sun rose as he passed through Penuel, limping because of his hip.

That is why to this day the Israelites do not eat the sciatic nerve which is in the hip socket because the sciatic nerve in Jacob’s hip had been touched.