Sunday, 13 July 2014 : 15th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Bible Sunday (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 13 : 1-23

That same day Jesus left the house and sat down by the lakeside. Many people gathered around Him, so He got in a boat, and sat down, while the crowds stood on the shore; and He spoke to them in parables about many things.

Jesus said, “The sower went out to sow and, as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground where there was little soil, and the seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was not deep. But as soon as the sun rose, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no roots.”

“Again other seeds fell among thistles, and the thistles grew and choked the plants. Still other seeds fell on good soil and produced a crop : some a hundredfold, others sixty, and others thirty. If you have ears, then hear!”

Then His disciples came to Him and said, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” Jesus answered, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but not to these people. For the one who has, will be given more and he will have in abundance. But the one who does not have will be deprived of even what he has. That is why I speak to them in parables, because they look and do not see; they hear, but they do not listen or understand.”

“In them the words of the prophet Isaiah are fulfilled : ‘However much you hear, you do not understand; however much you see, you do not perceive. For the heart of this people has grown dull. Their ears hardly hear and their eyes dare not see. If they were to see with their eyes, hear with their ears and understand with their heart, they would turn back, and I would heal them.'”

“But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears, because they hear. For I tell you that many prophets and upright people have longed to see the things you see, but they did not see them, and to hear the things you hear, but they did not hear them.”

“Now listen to the parable of the sower. When a person hears the message of the kingdom, but does not take it seriously, the devil comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed that fell along the footpath. The seed that fell on rocky ground stands for the one who hears the word, and accepts it at once with joy. But such a person has no roots, and endures only for a while. No sooner is he harassed or persecuted because of the word, than he gives up.”

“The seed that fell among the thistles is the one who hears the word, but then the worries of this life and the love of money choke the word, and it does not bear fruit. As for the seed that fell on good soil, it is the one who hears the word and understands it; this seed bears fruit and produce a hundred, or sixty, or thirty times more.”

Alternative reading (shorter version)

Matthew 13 : 1-9

That same day Jesus left the house and sat down by the lakeside. Many people gathered around Him, so He got in a boat, and sat down, while the crowds stood on the shore; and He spoke to them in parables about many things.

Jesus said, “The sower went out to sow and, as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground where there was little soil, and the seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was not deep. But as soon as the sun rose, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no roots.”

“Again other seeds fell among thistles, and the thistles grew and choked the plants. Still other seeds fell on good soil and produced a crop : some a hundredfold, others sixty, and others thirty. If you have ears, then hear!”

Sunday, 13 July 2014 : 15th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Bible Sunday (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Romans 8 : 18-23

I consider that the suffering of our present life cannot be compared with the Glory that will be revealed and given to us. All creation is eagerly expecting the birth in glory of the children of God. For if now the created world was unable to attain its purpose, this did not come from itself, but from the One who subjected it. But it is not without hope; for even the created world will be freed from this fate of death and share the freedom and glory of the children of God.

We know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pangs of birth. Not creation alone, but even ourselves, although the Spirit was given to us as a foretaste of what we are to receive, we groan in our innermost being, eagerly awaiting the day when God will give us full rights and rescue our bodies as well.

Sunday, 13 July 2014 : 15th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Bible Sunday (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 64 : 10abcd, 10e-11, 12-13, 14

You water the land and care for it, enriching it with natural resources. God’s stream is filled with water.

So You prepare the earth to give us its fruits. You drench the furrows in the land and level the ridges, You soften the soil with showers and bless its crops.

You crown the year with Your goodness; abundance flows everywhere. The deserts have become pasture land, the hills are clothed with gladness.

The meadows covered with flocks, the valleys decked with grain – they shout and sing for joy.

Sunday, 13 July 2014 : 15th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Bible Sunday (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Isaiah 55 : 10-11

As the rain and the snow come down from the heavens and do not return till they have watered the earth, making it yield seed for the sower and food for others to eat, so is My Word that goes forth out of My mouth : It will not return to Me idle, but It shall accomplish My will, the purpose for which It has been sent.

Saturday, 12 July 2014 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of our Lady)

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today’s lesson from the Holy Scriptures show us that while God is great and Almighty, enthroned above all else on thrones and angels, and covered by the holy and mighty seraphs and cherubs, He is still a loving and gentle God, who loves us all equally, and who gave us the greatest gift in none other than Jesus, His own Son and His own self.

Many of us often cower in fear before God, thinking that He is some sort of monster or such great figure that we need to fear and be trembled at, such that we ended up closing ourselves against Him, and do not let Him to come into our hearts. Our God is a loving God and a merciful God, just as much as He is God who hates and dislikes sin in all of its forms.

We fear many things, and we have various forms of our own fears in life. And foremost of all, we fear death in all its forms. Some people fear of losing their loved ones, and some fear of losing their possessions and material goods. Others fear darkness, while some fear the light instead. And as I said, many of us fear God and His presence.

But as mentioned in the Gospel today, rather than fearing those things that cannot harm our soul, and can merely our bodies and our earthly presence in this short life we have on earth, we should rather worry about the One who has the power to destroy us body and soul for eternity, that is none other than God Himself, who has the authority over all the living and the dead, including all of us.

Nevertheless, as I have said, there is no need for us to fear God, for He is truly loving and forgiving. If only that we draw nearer to His throne of mercy, then we, as long as our hearts are genuine in our own love and dedication to the Lord, will be given redemption and forgiveness. We have this fear in our hearts that God will punish us or hate us because of our sins, and therefore, this creates a mental block that prevent us from proceeding on our way to salvation.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, that is why we need to balance, between our fear of God, and our love for God. God is both merciful and wrathful, the former for our love and repentance, and the latter for our rebelliousness and sins. We must not fall into the trap of fear, that is so much fear that we are afraid to seek God’s forgiveness and therefore end up falling deeper into sin and darkness.

We cannot be lax in our life either, as if we end up too lax with ourselves, then we may fall into the other trap of Satan, that is temptation. If we do not have a certain discipline in our life and in our faith, we will stumble and fall in the face of the constant onslaught of the devil. We must be ever vigilant and ready to resist the devil, and follow always in the ways of our Lord.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, the key lies in our readiness and focus in this life, and in our obedience and constant devotion to the Lord. Let us all change our ways so that we may reflect better our Lord’s ways. Let us ask God, who is enthroned among the seraphim and the cherubim, that He may send His angels to help us and guide us on our way, that we may remain well within God’s love and grace.

May Almighty God be with us, and may He strengthen our faith so that we may not fall into temptation and sin, and that we may also walk faithfully in His ways. God bless us all. Amen.

Saturday, 12 July 2014 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of our Lady)

Matthew 10 : 24-33

A student is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. A student should be glad to become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If the head of the family has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of the family! So, do not be afraid of them.

There is nothing covered that will not be uncovered, and nothing hidden that will not be made known. What I am telling you in the dark, you must speak in the light. What you hear in private, proclaim from the housetops.

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body, but have no power to kill the soul. Rather be afraid of him who can destroy both body and soul in hell. For only a few cents you can buy two sparrows, yet not one sparrow falls to the ground without your Father knowing.

As for you, every hair of your head has been counted. Do not be afraid : you are no less worthy than many sparrows! Whoever acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before My Father in heaven. Whoever rejects Me before others I will reject before My Father in heaven.

Saturday, 12 July 2014 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of our Lady)

Psalm 92 : 1ab, 1c-2, 5

The Lord reigns, robed in majesty; the Lord is girded with strength.

The world now is firm, it cannot be moved. Your throne stands from long ago, o Lord, from all eternity You are.

Your decrees can be trusted; holiness dwells in Your house day after day without end, o Lord.