Friday, 15 July 2016 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 12 : 1-8

At that time, it happened that Jesus walked through the wheat fields on a Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and began to pick some heads of wheat and crush them to eat the grain. When the Pharisees noticed this, they said to Jesus, “Look at Your disciples! They are doing what is prohibited on the Sabbath!”

Jesus answered, “Have you not read what David did, when he and his men were hungry? He went into the house of God, and they ate the bread offered to God, though neither he nor his men had the right to eat it, but only the priests. And have you not read in the Law, that on the Sabbath the priests in the Temple break the Sabbath rest, yet they are not guilty?”

“I tell you, there is greater than the Temple here. If you really knew the meaning of the words : It is mercy I want, not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the innocent. Besides, the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

Friday, 15 July 2016 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Isaiah 38 : 10, 11, 12abcd, 16

Once I said : In the noontime of my life I go; I am sent to the land of the dead, for the rest of my years.

I said : Never again shall I see YHVH in the land of the living; never again shall I see the inhabitants of the earth.

Like a shepherd’s tent, my dwelling has been pulled down and thrown away; like a weaver, You rolled up my life and cut it from the loom.

O Lord, give me back my health and give me back my life!

Friday, 15 July 2016 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Isaiah 38 : 1-6, 21-22, 7-8

In those days Hezekiah fell mortally ill and the prophet Isaiah, son of Amoz, went to him with a message from YHVH, “Put your house in order for you shall die; you shall not live.”

Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to YHVH, “Ah YHVH! Remember how I have walked before You in truth and wholeheartedly, and done what is good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

Then the word of YHVH came to Isaiah, “Go and tell Hezekiah what YHVH, the God of his father David, says : I have heard your prayer and I have seen your tears. See! I am adding fifteen years to your life and I will save you and this city from the power of the king of Assyria. I will defend it for My sake and for the sake of David My servant.”

Isaiah then said, “Bring a fig cake to rub on the ulcer and let Hezekiah be cured!” Hezekiah asked, “What is the sign that I shall go up to the house of the Lord?” Isaiah answered, “This shall be for you a sign from YHVH, that He will do what He has promised. See! I shall make the shadow descending on the stairway of Ahaz go back ten steps.” So the sunlight went back the ten steps it had covered on the stairway.

Thursday, 14 July 2016 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Camillus de Lellis, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard a message of hope from the Gospel and the other passages from the Holy Scriptures. If for the past few days we have been warned and shown how those who lacked faith in the Lord will eventually fall and face destruction, but those who put their trust in the Lord shall not be disappointed.

God will eventually bring His peace, the everlasting peace and rest for all of His faithful ones, just as the prophet Isaiah had mentioned. The sufferings and pains of the people of God had reached the attention of our Lord Who loves us all, and certainly, He will not abandon us to our own fate. But it does not mean that we will immediately enjoy the fruits of peace and can enjoy all the things promised to us immediately.

For to be followers of the Lord means that we are likely to encounter resistance and opposition from all those who do not wish to see us receive the salvation from God, and those who wished to keep us chained to the enthralment and slavery to our sinfulness. And these are those who will be the most vocal in their opposition to us, causing us troubles and challenges ahead of us.

Yet this does not mean that we should give up our struggle or be fearful of what is to come. God Himself told us that His yoke is light and bearable, in the Gospel where He reassured His people that He will help them on their way to Him. He did not mention that there will be no yoke, and indeed, challenges and suffering will still be part of us and our lives when we choose to follow Him but what differentiates that with the alternative is that, He promised us all the promise of eternal life and eternal liberation from suffering and harm.

It is that promise which is our hope, the strength and guiding light which has been provided to us in order to help guide us on our journey to the Lord. We have to learn to put our trust in God, for it is in Him alone that we can truly find true support and strength. To trust in God is like building our houses on solid foundation while to trust in our own strength is like building upon shaky and untrustworthy foundations that is likely to fail and topple.

Today, let us all look at the example of St. Camillus de Lellis, a holy priest and saint of God, whose feast we commemorate today. He was an Italian priest who was thoroughly committed to the care of the sick and the less privileged among those who were in his society and community at the time. He helped establish the religious order dedicated to the care of the sick, and he devoted himself and his time to their care all the time.

He placed his faith completely in God, and while he lived a difficult and challenging life, resisting temptations and the challenges he faced in such a difficult life. But he was not always faithful to the Lord since the beginning. While he was young, St. Camillus de Lellis was just like the many other people of his time, as he pursued many worldly things, and joined the military in the pursuit of worldly glory and achievements.

But all these things eventually did not satisfy him, and he found emptiness in whatever he had been doing. And as a result, he had a profound change of heart and found his refuge in God. And from there, we came to what we have just discussed about him, his devotions and works to those who were sick and dying, those who were less privileged and living in great disadvantage.

Let us all, brothers and sisters in Christ, learn from the examples of St. Camillus de Lellis. Let us learn how to give of ourselves to the Lord in the same manner as that holy saint and the many other holy servants of God had done. May God help us in this endeavour, and may He bless us on our journey, and keep us faithful in His path for now and forevermore. Amen.