Tuesday, 7 June 2016 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 5 : 13-16

At that time, Jesus spoke to the people and to His disciples, “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt has lost its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It has become useless. It can only be thrown away and people will trample on it.”

“You are the light of the world. A city built on a mountain cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and covers it; instead it is put on a lampstand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine before others, so that they may see the good you do and praise your Father in heaven.”

Tuesday, 7 June 2016 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 4 : 2-3, 4-5, 7-8

Answer when I call, o God, my justice! When I was in distress, You gave me solace. Have compassion on me and hear my plea. And you people, how long will you harden your hearts? How long will you delight in deceit and go in search of falsehood?

But you must know that the Lord has shown His kindness to me. When I call to Him, He hears me. Be angry, but do not offend. Keep your words to yourself, when you are in bed, and be still.

Many ask, “Who will give us a happy time? Would that His favour shine upon us!” You, o Lord, have put joy in my heart; more than by giving me wine and food.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Kings 17 : 7-16

After a while, the brook dried up because no rain had fallen in the land. Then YHVH spoke to Elijah, “Go to Zarephath of the Sidonites and stay there. I have given word to a widow there to give you food.”

So Elijah went to Zarephath. On reaching the gate of the town, he saw a widow gathering sticks. He called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel that I may drink.”

As she was going to bring it, he called after her and said, “Bring me also a piece of bread.” But she answered, “As YHVH your God lives, I have no bread left but only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am just now gathering some sticks so that I may go in and prepare something for myself and my son to eat – and die.”

Elijah then said to her, “Do not be afraid. Go and do as you have said, but first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me; then make some for yourself and your son. For this is the word of YHVH, the God of Israel, ‘The jar of meal shall not be emptied nor shall the jug of oil fail, until the day when YHVH sends rain to the earth.”

So she went and did as Elijah told her, and she had food for herself, Elijah and her son from that day on. The jar of flour was not emptied nor did the jug of oil fail, in accordance with what YHVH had said through Elijah.

Monday, 6 June 2016 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Norbert, Bishop (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard about the famous Beatitudes in the Gospel, where Jesus taught His disciples and the people on the mountain, where He preached them a sermon of blessings. In the Beatitudes are the series of blessings and graces that God revealed to His people, as hope for those who have been faithful to Him and yet faced challenges because of the world and its ways which is often against the ways of the Lord.

In the Beatitudes, we see the profile of a model Christian, whom God had alluded in all the blessings He pronounced. The Lord showed us the way to go forward in our faith, and how we ought to behave as a disciple of our Lord, to be merciful and forgiving, to be just and to be righteous in all of our actions, to be poor in spirit and to be gentle, and to be persevering even in the midst of the toughest persecutions.

In the Beatitudes, we see how God is rewarding the merciful, those who show mercy to their brethren, as He will be merciful to them as well. This is in fact is what we also pray in the Lord’s Prayer, the Pater Noster. We ask God to forgive us our sins just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us. If we want to be forgiven, then we have to forgive first.

And those who stood up for their faith in God would not be disappointed, for God is with them, as He promised in the Beatitudes. If someone stood up for their faith and they were persecuted because of that faith, they would receive God’s approval and grace. And in this matter, we have an example in our first reading from the Book of Kings, when the prophet Elijah was on the run from king Ahab of Israel, who wanted to kill him.

As the background story goes, the prophet Elijah had just contested the priests of Baal, the pagan god who king Ahab and many in Israel at that time worshipped at Mount Carmel, where he decisively proved that Baal and his priests were frauds, as they worshipped the false god who were in fact a myth and had no power whatsoever, as opposed to YHVH, the one True God Who listened to the prayers of Elijah and showed the people His might.

And when king Ahab was angry and hunted down Elijah after that event, looking for his death, God rescued him and brought him to the desert, where He took good care of him, feeding him and giving him drinks daily, to sustain him through the difficult times until when the time comes for Elijah to come out of hiding. In this we see how God for His people, those who are faithful to Him, those who show the qualities as listed in the Beatitudes.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, perhaps we should also look at the examples of the saint whose feast we are celebrating today, namely that of St. Norbert, a renowned German bishop and saint, who lived during the time of the Medieval era Europe. He was also known by the name of St. Norbert of Xanten, a city where he grew up in about nine centuries ago.

St. Norbert was known for his great piety from his youth, and served the Lord and His Church in various ways, and after a life-changing experience he encountered, he deepened his faith and committed his life more to the Lord. He adopted a holy and devoted lifestyle, practicing the virtues of the Beatitudes in his life, and many others followed his example to become what is now known as the Canons Regular of Premontre.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us should be inspired by the examples, the holiness and the exemplary lifestyle and actions shown by St. Norbert and his followers. All of us should walk in the same way as they have done, and be righteous in all the things which we do. All of that so that when the Lord comes again, He will find us worthy and just, worthy of His blessings and grace, and He will welcome us into His everlasting life.

May God bless us all, and may His grace remain shining upon us, and may all of us remain true and faithful to His ways, and not be disturbed or be tempted by the many falsehoods and lies of the devil. May God be with us all, now and forever. Amen.

Monday, 6 June 2016 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Norbert, Bishop (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Matthew 5 : 1-12

At that time, when Jesus saw the crowds, He went up the mountain. He sat down and His disciples gathered around Him. Then He spoke and began to teach them :

“Fortunate are those who are poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Fortunate are those who mourn, they shall be comforted. Fortunate are the gentle, they shall possess the land. Fortunate are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied.”

“Fortunate are the merciful, for they shall find mercy. Fortunate are those with a pure heart, for they shall see God. Fortunate are those who work for peace, they shall be called children of God. Fortunate are those who are persecuted for the cause of justice, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

“Fortunate are you, when people insult you and persecute you and speak all kinds of evil against you because you are My followers. Be glad and joyful, for a great reward is kept for you in God. This is how the people persecuted the prophets who lived before you.”

Monday, 6 June 2016 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Norbert, Bishop (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Psalm 120 : 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8

I lift up my eyes to the mountains – from where shall come my help? My help comes from the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth.

Will He let your foot slip, the One watching over you? Will He slumber? No, the Guardian of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps.

The Lord is your Guardian, the Lord is at your side and you in His shade; sunstroke will not be for you by day, nor the spell of the moon by night.

The Lord guards you from every evil; He will protect your life. The Lord watches over your coming and going both now and forever.

Monday, 6 June 2016 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Norbert, Bishop (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

1 Kings 17 : 1-6

Now Elijah, the prophet from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As YHVH, the God of Israel Whom I serve lives, neither dew shall drop nor rain fall except at my command.”

Then the word of YHVH came to Elijah, “Leave this place and go eastward. Hide yourself by the brook Cherith, east of the Jordan. You shall drink from the brook and, for your food, I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.”

So Elijah obeyed the word of YHVH and went to live by the brook Cherith, east of the Jordan. There the ravens brought him bread in the morning and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook.