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.