Friday, 1 August 2014 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 13 : 54-58

Jesus went to His hometown and taught the people in their synagogue. They were amazed and said, “Where did He get this wisdom and these special powers? Is He not the carpenter’s Son? Is Mary not His mother and are James, Joseph, Simon and Judas not His brothers? Are not all His sisters living here? How did He get all this?” And so they took offense at Him.

Jesus said to them, “The only place where prophets are not welcome is their hometown and in their own family.” And He did not perform many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

Friday, 1 August 2014 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 68 : 5, 8-10, 14

More than the hairs of my head are those who hate me for no reason; mighty are those who attack me, many are my enemies without cause. What I did not steal I am forced to restore.

Since I am held in contempt for Your sake, and shame has covered my face. U have become a stranger to my kindred, an alien to my mother’s sons. Zeal for Your House consumes me as fire and those who insult You insult me as well.

But I pray to You, o Lord, at a time most favourable to You. In Your great love, o God, answer me with Your unfailing help.

Friday, 1 August 2014 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Jeremiah 26 : 1-9

At the beginning of the reign of Judah’s king Jehoiakim son of Josiah, the word of YHVH came to Jeremiah : YHVH says this, “Stand in the courtyard of YHVH’s House and say to all who come from the towns of Judah to worship in YHVH’s House – all that I command you to say; do not omit anything!”

“Perhaps they will listen to you. Perhaps each one will turn from his wicked ways. Then I will change My mind and forget the destruction that I have planned to inflict on them because of their wicked deeds.”

“Tell them : This is what YHVH says : ‘You have not obeyed Me and you have failed to walk according to My Law which I have set before you. You have not heeded My servants, the prophets, whom I have persistently sent to you. If you stubbornly close your ears to them, I will treat this House of Mine as I treated the sanctuary of Shiloh and let all the nations see that Jerusalem is a cursed city.”

The priests, the prophets and all the people heard what Jeremiah said in YHVH’s House. When Jeremiah finished saying all that YHVH had commanded, he was besieged by the priests and prophets saying, “You are bound to die! How dare you speak in YHVH’s Name telling us that this House will be treated like Shiloh and this city is to become a deserted ruin.”

And all the people gathered around Jeremiah in the House of YHVH.

Thursday, 31 July 2014 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Ignatius Loyola, Priest (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast day of a great saint of the Church, namely that of St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus or also more commonly known as the Jesuit order, the largest and the most prominent religious order in the Church. This order had been at the forefront of the Church’s confrontation with the world and the forces of evil, and at the forefront of evangelisation efforts.

St. Ignatius Loyola and his fellow Jesuits worked hard to bring the word of God and the revelations of truth in God to many people across the entire world. He lived during a time of great difficulty both for the Church of God and for the faithful. The corruption of Satan and the evils of the world had entered into the Church, and the unintended consequence of that is how many people became disillusioned with the faith, but instead of trying to resolve the problem, they chose to take the shortcut out.

That was the Protestant ‘reformation’, a truly sad and difficult time for the Church and for all the faithful ones of God. So many of the faithful were led astray by the agents of the dark one into damnation and were lost forever. This was a defining moment when the unity of the Church and much of the opportunity to reunite the various segments of the faithful may be lost forever.

Yet, St. Ignatius Loyola and his faithful Jesuits fought hard to preserve the sanctity of mankind’s souls from the assault of the devil and the wicked. Tirelessly he worked so that countless peoples would be caught and snared back into the Church and into God’s hands, the same meaning meant by Jesus when He told of how the kingdom of heaven is like a fishing net with various fishes inside it.

St. Ignatius Loyola himself when he was young was an impetuous and hot-headed, wishing to seek glory and honour for himself as a knight. St. Ignatius Loyola was born from a noble and rich family in the Kingdom of Spain of that time, and decided to find glory and honour for himself by joining in wars and campaigns as a knight and mercenary in the employ of the king of Spain in his battles.

He was wounded in battle, and had to spend some time to recuperate from his health. During this time, he contemplated about his life and about his goal of glory and honour, and he found that it is not the way that he ought to take in life. Following this thoughts, and hearing God’s call, he decided to devote his life to a new cause, that is no longer for his personal glory and honour, but for the glory and honour of God alone.

This is therefore reflected in the motto of the Jesuits, which he founded together with several other saints, including the help of St. Francis Xavier the missionary. This motto is Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam, which literally means, ‘For the greater glory of God’. Therefore, St. Ignatius Loyola was determined that in his actions and in the actions of his brother Jesuits, all of them must be done for the greater glory of God, and no longer for the glory of self.

We too, brothers and sisters, are called like St. Ignatius Loyola and many other holy men and women of God. We too are called to be the workers of God’s glory and honour in this world. We should no longer be so concerned about our own glory and personal triumph, less than what we should indeed do to bring greater glory to our Lord’s Name.

We should let our Lord guide us in our lives, like a potter who moulds the shape of the pottery. Let the Lord shape us in our lives, that in all of our words, actions and deeds we may truly proclaim the Lord, and to all those who listen and see it, they know that we belong to God. St. Ignatius Loyola had shown us the way, and what remains is whether we do something to walk in the same way as he had done.

Let us all ask for the intercession of St. Ignatius Loyola, that we may also follow his examples and work together, giving ourselves wholly to what the Lord wants from us, and become the extensions of His hands in bringing His love and grace into this world. May God bless us all. Amen.

Thursday, 31 July 2014 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Ignatius Loyola, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 13 : 47-53

Jesus said, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a big fishing net let down into the sea, in which every kind of fish has been caught. When the net is full, it is dragged ashore. Then they sit down and gather the good fish in buckets, but throw the worthless ones away.”

“That is how it will be at the end of time; the angels will go out to separate the wicked from the just, and to throw the wicked into the blazing furnace, where they will weep and gnash their teeth.”

Jesus asked, “Have you understood all these things?” “Yes,” they answered. So He said to them, “You will see that every teacher of the Law, who becomes a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a householder, who can produce from his store things both new and old.”

When Jesus had finished these parables, He left that place.

Thursday, 31 July 2014 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Ignatius Loyola, Priest (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 145 : 2abc, 2d-4, 5-6

I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to God while I live.

Do not put your trust in princes, in a great one who cannot save. Not sooner his spirit has left, that he goes back to the earth; on that very day, any plan comes to nothing.

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.

Thursday, 31 July 2014 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Ignatius Loyola, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Jeremiah 18 : 1-6

This is the word of YHVH that came to Jeremiah : “Go down to the potter’s house and there you will hear what I have to say.”

So I went to the potter’s house and found him working at the wheel. But the pot he was working on was spoiled in his hands, so he reworked it all over again into another pot that suits his desire.

Meanwhile YHVH sent me His word, “People of Israel, can I not do with you what this potter does? As clay in the potter’s hand so are you in My hands.”

Wednesday, 30 July 2014 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we hear once again, as we had heard on last Sunday’s Gospel, on the kingdom of heaven being a treasure, which is highly sought after, and the one who found it sell everything he had and buy the place where the treasure is found. And in the first reading today, we heard how when Jeremiah complained and cursed for his unfortunate fate and oppressed state, the Lord came and reassured him with His words and vow that He will stay faithful to men who also put their trust in Him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, God is always with us, no matter how difficult life is. Yet we often like to curse God and be angry with Him when things seem to not go the way that we wanted it. We do not like it when things go difficult for us, and it is in our nature to complain or to be angry with someone, and to vent our dissatisfactions that we may get some sort of relief and even pleasure from doing so.

But the Lord is patient and forgiving, and as temperamental and as bad as our tantrum is, He will always be patient and send us encouragements after encouragements and reassurances after reassurances. We often get lost on our path towards God, and God sent us encouragement and guidance through various means to ensure that we end up at the correct path and goal in the end.

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Peter Chrysologus, a bishop and a Doctor of the Church who lived during the time of the late Roman Empire, during the fall of the Empire in the West, as the Bishop of the Roman Capital of Ravenna. St. Peter Chrysologus got his name and title ‘Chrysologus’ which literally means ‘golden-worded’ precisely because of his excellent oratory skills, in his sharp and yet touching homilies and teachings which drive through the teachings of the Church strongly into the hearts of many of the faithful.

St. Peter Chrysologus taught to the people the meaning of being a follower of the Lord, condemning heresies and falsehoods that brought the people away from the truth in the Lord. He brought them new hope and strength through his words and teachings, just as the Lord Himself had done as we heard how He encouraged Jeremiah to be strong and to put his trust in Him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we reflect and ponder on the Gospel’s message for today, as well as the message the Lord wanted to tell us through His interactions with the prophet Jeremiah, and as well as the life of St. Peter Chrysologus, let us all realise that we are all called to be children of God, that means to be children of the light, to be children of faith, hope and love.

We have to be the bearers of hope for one another, and in our actions, words and deeds we should affirm each other’s faith, and by loving one another we show love to this world that lacks the warmth of love. Let us awaken in one another the love for God, and the desire to seek God, who is the true desire and the true treasure we should seek with all of our strengths.

May Almighty God be with us and guide us to this treasure, that we may be ever closer to Him and remain forever always in His love and grace. Let us all work together to seek our desired treasure in life, namely to seek and live together with our God. Let us do our best and ask St. Peter Chrysologus for his kind intercession. Amen.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Matthew 13 : 44-46

The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. The one who finds it buries it again; and so happy is he, that he goes and sells everything he has, in order to buy that field.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a trader who is looking for fine pearls. Once he has found a pearl of exceptional quality, he goes away, sells everything he has and buys it.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Psalm 58 : 2-3, 4-5a, 10-11, 17, 18

Deliver me from my enemies, o God, from those who rise up against me. Deliver me from evildoers; rescue me from the bloodthirsty.

Look, they lie in wait for my life; the mighty conspiring against me, for no fault of mine, o Lord. I have done them no wrong, yet they prepare to attack me.

O my Strength, I look up to You, for You, o God, are my fortress. My loving God will come to help me and let me see my enemies fall.

But I will sing of Your might; in the morning I will sing of Your love. For You have been a fortress to me, a refuge in time of distress.

O my Strength, I will sing praises to You, for You, o God, are my stronghold; You are a loving God.