Friday, 11 July 2014 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Benedict, Abbot (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listen about how God cares for us, and indeed, how He takes very good care of us, even after we have sinned and rebelled against Him. And even though this life we have in this world may be difficult and filled with challenges, He will not abandon us or let us walk alone in the darkness.

And today we celebrate the feast of St. Benedict, a well-known saint and monk, who was also known by the name of St. Benedict of Nursia, who founded the Benedictine religious order, and was well-known for his strict rule for his religious order, which entails a strict regimen of prayerful life and life lived in perfect harmony with one another and with God.

But this rule also shows the great values of love, faith, and hope that is instilled in generations of monks and religious, not only in St. Benedict’s religious order, but also many other orders who drew their inspiration from St. Benedict and his works. From this we can see, how this saint was truly a great saint, and how his works had laid a strong foundation of faith for many throughout history.

St. Benedict and many other holy men and women, and many religious and workers of the Lord were truly as what Jesus mentioned in the Gospel today, that is to be like sheep among the wolves, to walk in the path of God amid a worldful worth of sin, temptation and difficulties which Satan placed in our way, to prevent us from reaching salvation in God.

St. Benedict and the many others who came before and after him were all truly faithful and good disciples of the Lord. Not only that they remained faithful amidst all the cunning tricks and lies of the devil in order to subvert all mankind into his cause, but they also worked hard, for the good of all God’s people, and spreading the Good News to the whole world.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we must follow in the examples of St. Benedict of Nursia, that in our faith we must be truly dedicated to Christ our Lord. We cannot be half-hearted in our faith. Instead, we must ensure that every actions and deeds that we do is in tune with the Lord and His will. We must have a good prayer life and time dedicated for the Lord in our lives. We cannot excuse ourselves of having no time for God.

For if we do not open ourselves to the Lord and allow Him to work His wonders in us, then we risk endangering ourselves by bringing ourselves closer to the corruptions of this world, and yet without God as our anchor for us to hold onto, so that we may not be lost in the torrents and streams of this world. Many of mankind had failed and had fallen on their way to the Lord, all trapped and fell along the way as they got distracted from their true goal in life, that is God.

In this life, mankind are always tempted, every day of their lives. We cannot escape from the allures of the world, and all the good things that Satan used in order to detract us and pull us away from our way towards the Lord, and therefore into damnation. It is easy for us to follow our desires and our needs, and therefore forget about what our Lord had taught us. And this is truly dangerous, brothers and sisters, for we have to remember that, we have just this one chance, and only this chance in life to be freed from the ensnarement of sin.

We need to have a discipline in this life, to control our actions and deeds, so that we may temper our desires, so that we may not be enslaved by them, and therefore will not easily succumb to the temptations of Satan. Therefore, let us follow the example set by St. Benedict and many other holy men who followed after him, and also many those who came before him. We must have a heart shaped and dedicated for love, one that will not bend in the face of evil and its temptations.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all commit ourselves to a new life in Christ, one that is founded on light and not on darkness, one that is founded on love and not hatred, and one that is founded on life and not death. Let us all work together, so that we may begin anew in Christ, and live worthily from now on, if we have not done so. May Almighty God guide us and bless us on our way. St. Benedict of Nursia, pray for us as well, that we may be more like you in faith. Amen.

Friday, 11 July 2014 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Benedict, Abbot (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 10 : 16-23

Look, I send you out like sheep among wolves. You must be as clever as snakes and as innocent as doves. Be on your guard with people, for they will hand you over to their courts, and they will flog you in their synagogues. You will be brought to trial before rulers and kings because of Me, so you may witness to them and the pagans.

But when you are arrested, do not worry about what you are to say, or how you are to say it; when the hour comes, you will be given what you are to say. For it is not you who will speak, but the Spirit of your Father in you. Brother will hand over brother to death, and a father his child; children will turn against parents and have them put to death. Everyone will hate you because of Me, but whoever stands firm to the end will be saved.

When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next. I assure you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

Friday, 11 July 2014 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Benedict, Abbot (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 50 : 3-4, 8-9, 12-13, 14 and 17

Have mercy on me, o God, in Your love. In Your great compassion blot out my sin. Wash me thoroughly of my guilt; cleanse me of evil.

I know You desire truth in the heart, teach me wisdom in my inmost being. Cleanse me with hyssop and I shall be clean, wash me, I shall be whiter than snow.

Create in me, o God, a pure heart; give me a new and steadfast spirit. Do not cast me out of Your presence nor take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Give me again the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. O Lord, open my lips, and I will declare Your praise.

Friday, 11 July 2014 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Benedict, Abbot (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Hosea 14 : 2-10

Return to your God YHVH, o Israel! Your sins have caused your downfall. Return to YHVH with humble words. Say to Him, “Oh You who show compassion to the fatherless, forgive our debt, be appeased. Instead of bulls and sacrifices, accept the praise from our lips.”

“Assyria will not save us : No longer shall we look for horses nor ever again shall we say, ‘Our Gods’ to the work of our hands.” I will heal their wavering and love them with all my heart, for My anger has turned from them.

I shall be like dew to Israel, like the lily will he blossom. Like a cedar he will send down his roots; the young shoots will grow and spread. His splendour will be like an olive tree, His fragrance, like a Lebanon cedar. They will dwell in My shade again, they will flourish like the grain, they will blossom like a vine, and their fame will be like Lebanon wine.

What would Ephraim do with idols, when it is I who hear and make him prosper? I am like an ever-green cypress tree; all your fruitfulness comes from Me. Who is wise enough to grasp all this? Who is discerning and will understand? Straight are the ways of YHVH : the just walk in them, but the sinners stumble.