Wednesday, 20 July 2016 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Apollinaris, Bishop and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Matthew 13 : 1-9

At that time, on the 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!”

Wednesday, 20 July 2016 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Apollinaris, Bishop and Martyr (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Psalm 70 : 1-2, 3-4a, 5-6ab, 15ab and 17

In You, o Lord, I seek refuge; let me not be disgraced. In Your justice help me and deliver me, turn Your ear to me and save me!

Be my Rock of refuge, a stronghold to give me safety, for You are my Rock and my Fortress. Rescue me, o my God, from the hand of the wicked.

For You, o Lord, have been my hope, my trust, o God, from my youth. I have relied on You from birth : from my mother’s womb You brought me forth.

My lips will proclaim Your intervention and tell of Your salvation all day. You have taught me from my youth and until now I proclaim Your marvels.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Apollinaris, Bishop and Martyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Jeremiah 1 : 1, 4-10

These are the words of Jeremiah, son of Hilkiah, one of the priests at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin.

A word of YHVH came to me, “Even before I formed you in the womb I have known you; even before you were born I had set you apart, and appointed you a prophet to the nations!”

I said, “Ah, Lord YHVH! I do not know how to speak; I am still young!” But YHVH replied, “Do not say; ‘I am still young’, for now you will go whatever be the mission I am entrusting to you, and you will speak of whatever I command you to say. Do not be afraid of them, for I will be with you to protect you – it is YHVH Who speaks!”

Then YHVH stretched out His hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “Now I have put My words in your mouth. See! Today I give you authority over nations and over kingdoms, to uproot and to pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”

Tuesday, 19 July 2016 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard what God wanted from all of us, from what we heard in the Gospel, where Jesus laid out what is expected from all of us, whom He has deemed as His brothers and sisters, as the members of His own Body, the Church. And by establishing the Church, He has made all of us, all those who have given themselves to the Lord and who embrace His ways and obey His laws to be those whom He regards as His own.

In the first reading today, taken from the book of the prophet Micah, we heard the prophet Micah relating to us all how our God is a loving and caring God, He Who shepherds His people and guides them to His presence, that they may not perish or lose their way, but instead find their way to Him and receive the richness of grace and mercy which has been promised to all those who would follow the Lord.

And in the Gospel, Jesus showed us that in order to be truly faithful to Him, and to belong truly in His Church, then all of us have to do just one thing, which is easy to be said and yet difficult to be done and implemented. It is to obey the Law of God, to obey the will of God our Lord and Father, and do it in all the aspects and parts of our lives. If we do not do these, then we will have no part in the inheritance and grace which our Lord gives only to those who are faithful.

Yes, indeed, it is easy to say that we have obeyed the Lord, or to make it in statement that we have listened to Him and obeyed His laws. However, are we truly embodying that faith which we ought to have for the Lord? Are we truly devoted and committed to Him in all things and not just paying lip service alone? If we are able to attune all of our dealings and actions to align with His will, then we are on the right path, otherwise we are not.

It is by starting and doing the simple things we can do through which we are then able to devote ourselves to love Him in the way that He wants us to. We should not think that just because we are only one person, or a small group of people, then we are not able to make a difference after all, since the impact of our action is limited. The Church and its efforts to make a difference for the salvation of many peoples cannot happen without us.

In fact, if we look at what happens when we pick up a piece of stone and throw it into a lake, we will see that the stone will bounce a few times, and each bounce will produce ripples that will become even stronger if we throw more stones into the lake. It means that if we start doing something in our lives that is in accordance with what God wants us to do, and begin with our immediate surroundings, we may not feel the effect immediately, but if everyone is to also put their effort into such works, in the end, the effect will be really great.

All of us as Christians have to work together, brothers and sisters in Christ, and all of us must put aside our differences and learn to work together as one people, and as all the same members of the same Church, the Body of Christ. It is only then that we will be able to help the efforts of the Church in bringing the goodness and the love of God into this world.

May God help us in our endeavours, and may He bless us always with His grace, that we may always be faithful to Him, and walk faithfully in His ways, resisting the temptations to do otherwise. May He help us to be truly active and devoted in our faith. God bless us all. Amen.