Wednesday, 2 July 2014 : 13th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we clearly heard the account of how Jesus rebuked and cast out the demons at Gadara from two men, that the Lord is good, and as perfect goodness that He is, He is the antithesis and opposite side of evil and all forms of sin. And therefore, we too, as the children of God and His beloved ones, have our clear-cut obligations, to shun and be free from all forms of evil in sin.

There can be no compromise to sin and evil, and we should not delude ourselves by thinking that we can get cordial and friendly with the devil and all of his persuasions, and end up falling into sin and thus condemnation. We cannot be children of both God and Satan, and as Jesus had taught His disciples, we can neither be servant of both God and money. We cannot therefore be servant of both good and evil, and either we will be attracted in the end to either one or we will totally hate the other in the end, as our Lord had taught us.

This however, does not mean that we should hate and shun sinners and those who had committed grievous errors before God and mankind. Remember the saying, hate the sin but not the sinner? This is exactly the case, as we must hate and avoid the evils in the works of sin, but we must never hate the person, who has the capacity to do both good or evil. We must instead embrace and welcome them into the Lord and His love through us, that we may help each other to escape the clutches of sin.

We must work together to live holy and worthily of God, and avoid blaming or being prejudiced against anyone on the basis of their sinfulness, for we ourselves are sinners, no matter how small or big our sins are. God is merciful and loving, but He also hates sin, and sin no matter how big or small, has no place in His presence. That is why we believe those who had died righteously in the faith but still were tainted by some venial or non-mortal sins, go through the fires of purgatory to cleanse themselves from those sins before they are admitted into heaven.

Sin, brothers and sisters, is the root of all evil, and if we expose ourselves willingly to sin, we will open the doors of our hearts to all forms of evil, corrupting them for the purpose of Satan, and keep us away from the love of God. And ever since our forefathers listened to the words of Satan to disobey the Lord, we have been prone and weak towards the corrupting nature of sin. Mankind are therefore predisposed to sin, and if we do not make the active effort to avoid committing sin, we will likely commit one before God and men.

And Satan is growing in his power and in his cunningness, in his plethora of means and arsenal of things he can utilise against us, through his agents and his hands in this world. Mankind has grown accustomed to the pleasures and the growing comfort in this world, and it is through this that Satan decided to strike against men, leading them to sin by turning them towards the path of desire and greed.

Our world today is rife with individualism, egoistic and materialistic behaviour. Yes, these behaviours are prone to sin, and in our world today, we can see the direct impact, in how money and material possessions are chased after by many who seek to have more and more of them, and sadly often with disregard to the plight of others, and we even often seek to gain more, at the expense of others around us.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, we need to commit ourselves to a new life. Yes, a new life that is no longer based on sin and human desire, and instead based on love, justice and peace, namely a life that is based on God and on His principles and laws. Let us together help one another to reject sin and all the sinful ways of this world, and from now on resolve to love and lead a righteous life as the Lord had taught us.

May we all be truly children of God, and be like Him in all of our actions, words and deeds. May He guide us in our ways and lead us to Him, that we may be purified and absolved of our sinfulness, and emerge from the darkness of our world into a blissful life in the light. God bless us all. Amen.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014 : 13th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 8 : 28-34

When Jesus reached Gadara, on the other side, He was met by two men, possessed by devils, who came out from the tombs. They were so fierce that no one dared to pass that way.

Suddenly they shouted, “What do You want with us, You, Son of God? Have You come to torture us before the time?”

At some distance away there was a large herd of pigs feeding. So the demons begged Him, “If You drive us out, send us into that herd of pigs.”

Jesus ordered them, “Go!” So the demons left and went into the pigs. The whole herd rushed down the cliff into the lake and drowned. The men in charge of them ran off to the town, where they told the whole story, also what had happened to the men possessed with the demons.

Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus; and when they saw Him, they begged Him to leave their area.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014 : 13th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 49 : 7, 8-9, 10-11, 12-13, 16bc-17

Hear, o My people, for I am speaking. I will accuse you, o Israel, I am God, your God!

Not for sacrifices do I reprove you, for your burnt offerings are ever before Me. I need no bull from your stalls, nor he-goat from your pens.

For I own all the beasts of the forest and the animals of My thousand hills. All the birds of the air I know; all that move in the fields are Mine.

I need not tell you if I were hungry, for Mine is the world and all that it contains. Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?

What right have you to mouth My laws, or to talk about My covenant? You hate My commands and cast My words behind you.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014 : 13th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Amos 5 : 14-15, 21-24

Seek good and shun evil, that you may live. Then YHVH, the God of hosts, as you have claimed, will be with you. Hate wickedness and love virtue, and let justice prevail in the courts; perhaps YHVH, the God of hosts, will take pity on the remnant of Joseph.

I hate, I reject your feasts, I take no pleasure when you assemble to offer Me your burnt offerings. Your cereal offerings, I will not accept! Your offerings of fattened beasts, I will not look upon!

Away with the noise of your chanting, away with your strumming on harps. But let justice run its course like water, and righteousness be like an ever-flowing river.