Friday, 23 August 2013 : 20th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Rose of Lima, Virgin (Scripture Reflection)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listen to the very heart of our faith as how it was explained by Jesus Himself. The Law and commandments of the Lord, the entirety of the divine laws itself had been summed up as love. Yes, love for both God and for our fellow men. All the laws and the rules God had given to His people through Moses and the prophets, are really about showing our love to both He who created us and our fellow brethren, the same children of God.

The entirety of the laws and regulations God had given His people was indeed to guide them that they know what to do in their lives, and will not fall easily into the traps of Satan. Indeed, ever since mankind rebelled against God during the days of Adam and Eve, our ancestors, mankind had ever been under the thrall of the evil one. God who liberated His people from the tyranny of the Pharaohs and the Egyptians therefore also want to free His people from the true slavemasters, that is Satan.

However, liberating His people would not have been easy, as we have been corrupted by sin, and evil had darkened our hearts. We have therefore been rendered unworthy of our Lord and Creator, who is good and perfect. We had shunned the love of God for the temptations of Satan. That was evident even after God had shown His power and brought His people out of the land of Egypt into the Promised Land He promised them and eventually gave them.

Those laws are meant to remind and keep the people in the ways of the Lord, that they will truly grow to be worthy of God, and be worthy of being God’s children and chosen ones. Sadly, by the time of Jesus, the laws had been taken out of its original purpose and context, ending up in the law being observed for the sake of being observed, that is the Law had become an obligation rather than something that truly lives in the hearts of mankind.

The Law of God had instead become a set of rituals that people followed, but the Lord is not in their hearts, because what they are observing is the law of men instead of the law of love, the true Law. That was what Jesus was trying to rectify by teaching the truth about God and His Law. He showed us that the Law is actually not about following rituals or a set of rules, and if we disobey them, we will be punished. The Law was truly God’s love for us, showing all of us, how to love Him and become His loving children.

Jesus reminded His disciples, the people of God, and ultimately all of us today, that the Law must truly live within each one of our hearts. Yes, the Law of love, our love for God, and our love for our fellow men, for everyone without exception. That was the main points that Jesus wanted to stress to each one of us, to keep God’s commandments, not just within us, but also in our actions, our words, and our deeds.

Today, we celebrate the feast of St. Rose of Lima, also known as St. Rosa of Lima. She is the very first saint from the Americas, the New World. St. Rose of Lima was born in Lima, Peru, in the then Spanish America. She was truly a devout and dedicated servant of God, who was greatly inspired by her faith to do more in the service of God and her fellow brethren. She vowed to remain pure and holy all her life, by pledging a virgin life before God, and despite her parents’ objection, she continued to do her best to pursue her passion in life, that is God.

She prayed fervently and worked with love, sharing her love with everyone she met and everyone she worked with. St. Rose also even wore a silver crown with thorns to remind her of the suffering of Christ wearing the crown of thorns during His Passion, that she would be ever mindful of the suffering and love Christ had shown to her and all of us in order to save us. In St. Rose of Lima, we can indeed see the extent of the love and dedication she had for God and also for her fellow men. This is what the Lord wants from us, and this is the only way that we cam truly follow God’s commandments, not by obeying rules or observing rituals, but by loving one another and loving God, just as St. Rose of Lima had shown us through her own life examples.

We have to devote ourselves to the Lord unconditionally as St. Rose had done, and as Ruth, the holy woman and ancestor of David had done, as we read in the First Reading today. We have to truly give ourselves fully to God, the gift of our hearts, our soul, and all of our beings, that we truly reflect God in all the things that we do, that we truly obey His will and His commandments, and therefore, be made worthy of Him once again, and deserve the eternal reward of life and glory in heaven, which Christ had prepared for us. May the Lord bless us, and through the example and intercession of St. Rose of Lima, may we all be inspired to love God better, serve God better, and commit ourselves more to Him, and do the same to our fellow brothers and sisters. Amen.

Friday, 23 August 2013 : 20th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Rose of Lima, Virgin (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White

Matthew 22 : 34-40

When the Pharisees heard how Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they came together. One of them, a teacher of the Law, tried to test Him with this question, “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the Law?”

Jesus answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and the most important of the commandments. But after this there is another one very similar to it : ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself’ The whole Law and the Prophets are founded on these two commandments.”

Friday, 23 August 2013 : 20th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Rose of Lima, Virgin (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White

Psalm 145 : 5-6, 7, 8-9a, 9bc-10

Blessed are they whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God, Maker of heaven and earth, the sea and all they contain. The Lord is forever faithful.

He gives justice to the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free.

The Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord straightens the bent. The Lord loves the virtuous, but He brings to ruin the way of the wicked. The Lord protects the stranger.

He sustains the widow and the orphan. The Lord will reign forever, your God, o Zion, from generation to generation. Alleluia!

Friday, 23 August 2013 : 20th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Rose of Lima, Virgin (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White

Ruth 1 : 1, 3-6, 14b-16, 22

There was a famine in the land during the time of the Judges, and a man from Bethlehem in Judah departed with his wife and two sons to sojourn in the country of Moab.

Naomi’s husband Elimelech died. She was left with her two sons, who married Moabite woman, one named Orpah and the other Ruth.

After living in Moab for about ten years, Mahlon and Chilion also died and Naomi was left bereft of husband and two sons. Having heard that YHVH had come to help His people by giving them food, Naomi prepared to return home.

Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her. Naomi said, “Look, your sister-in-law returns to her people and her gods. You too must return. Go after

Ruth replied, “Do not ask me to leave you. For I will go where you go to and stay where you stay. Your people will be my people and your God, my God.” Thus it was that Naomi returned from Moab with her Moabite daughter-in-law and arrived in Bethlehem as the barley harvest began.