Tuesday, 8 July 2014 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are reminded yet again that we need to forsake and abandon sin and all its ways, and embrace the Lord and His ways in our respective lives. And it is also important that we rebuke Satan and all of his attempts to convert us to his rebellious cause, as Israel had once done and repeatedly done during their time in the Promised Land, disobeying their Lord and God.

But we cannot do this alone, brothers and sisters. We need guidance and help, and we cannot face the threat of the evil one and all the forces he had arrayed against us all alone. We need support and strength, which our Lord provides us through none other than our holy priests, and also all those who had committed and surrendered themselves to a life wholly dedicated to God and His people.

Today Jesus called on all of us to consider His words, how that the harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few. And let us also discern on the words of the prayer He said, that the Lord would send more and more labourers to work and gain the harvest of the faith for the Lord, and for the good of all of us in this world. This is reflecting exactly the reality of the faith, both in that era, and in the era that had come after that, all the way to this modern time.

For the harvest that Jesus mentioned is the world, and all the people who lives in that world. There is indeed rich harvest to be reaped, and there are truly many souls who long and yearn for the word of God and for salvation to grace them. Many are still in the darkness, and many of them even had been baptised in the Church! Yes, brethren, that is the reality of our Church and the reality of our world today.

In the years and decades after the Second Vatican Council, which happened just about fifty years ago, due to gross misinterpretations of the true meaning and purpose of the Council, many had been misled by the errors and this also unfortunately led to a great decline in the vocations to the priesthood, which resulted in less and less priests, especially young priests, available to help with the needs of the many faithful all over the world, which numbers continue to grow unabated.

In our world today, unlike those times in the past, taking up a religious and consecrated life to God is no longer considered an honour, and in our rapidly changing world, there are increasingly more and more benchmarks of life and successes in life. Mankind as a whole are growing more and more attached to the goodness and the pleasures offered by the world, and coupled with the expectations and prejudices of the society, this led to even graver problems with vocations, and therefore, with the well-being of many of the faithful who are not cared of by the dwindling number of priests.

There are those who seek shortcuts by attempting to ‘adjust’ to the demands of the changing world, but they truly failed to understand the gravity and the reality of the matter. They seek to run away from the problem and from the issue, by proposing to take shortcuts that harm the life of the faithful, in particular the priests, their shepherds. I do not need to elaborate further on this issue, on the matter of ordination of women and allowing priests to have a married life. These are not of our faith, brethren, but these are the suggestions of Satan trying to divide us and destroy us.

The misinterpretations of the Second Vatican Council led to the diluting and loss of the true values and morale integrity in the faith within our society and our Church as a whole. More and more people became lost on their way to God, being disturbed and tempted by the ‘better offers’ of Satan in various means through the world. And this in particular affected many young men, who were then led away from their calling to be servants of God. And this also affected some who had decided to follow the Lord, and then reneged on the decision.

These are the hard truths and realities of our faith and our world, brothers and sisters in Christ. We lose out so many good men to the evil one, and he even tried to corrupt those whom God had made His labourers in faith. And through their fall, many too, would end up falling on their way to the Lord, which can then explain the troubles and the great challenges facing us today.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, it is important that we all gather our strength and work together to help one another to overcome those challenges, rediscovering the purity and the truths of our faith, long forsaken by many who chose to reconcile with the ways of the world, and the ways of those who were wayward, over maintaining without fail, the deposit of faith in the Holy Mother Church.

Let us all pray especially for our priests, that in everything they do, and in living their difficult but enriching lives, they may commit to always stay pure and totally dedicated to the Lord, as on the day of their sacred ordination. Let us pray, that there will also be many more vocations to the priesthood, that many more young men would open their hearts to God, and allowing Him to do with them according with His will. Let us pray also for more vocations to the religious life, that all those who are called may respond positively and with confidence, for the sake of God and for the love of His people.

May God bless us all with love, hope and faith, that we may rediscover the zeal of faith that we had lost, in the confusion over the misinterpretations of the Second Vatican Council’s true intentions. God bless our priests too, and may He guide them all the days of their life. Amen.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 9 : 32-38

When they 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, 8 July 2014 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 113B : 3-4, 5-6, 7ab-8, 9-10

There in heaven is our God; whatever He wishes, He does. Not so the hand-made idols, crafted in silver and gold.

They have mouths that cannot speak, eyes that cannot see, ears that cannot hear, noses that cannot smell.

They have hands but cannot feel, feet, but cannot walk. Their makers will be like them, so will all who trust in them.

O Israel, trust in the Lord; He is your help and your shield! You, family of Aaron, trust in the Lord; He is your help and your shield!

Tuesday, 8 July 2014 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Hosea 8 : 4-7, 11-13

Without My approval they set up kings and without My blessing appointed leaders. With their silver and gold they fashioned idols to their own ruin.

To Me, Samaria, your calf is loathsome and My anger blazes against you. How long will you remain defiled? The calf is yours, Israel, a craftsman has made it; it is not God and will be broken into pieces.

As they sow the wind, they will reap the whirlwind. Like the erect ear of corn they will bear no grain and produce no flour, or if they do, foreigners will devour it.

Ephraim built many altars but his altars made him more guilty. I wrote out for him the numerous precepts of My Law, but they look on them as coming from foreigners. They offer sacrifices to Me because they are those who eat the meat, but YHVH does not accept their sacrifices for He is mindful of their sin and remembers their wickedness. They will return to Egypt.