Saturday, 30 July 2016 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

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

Matthew 14 : 1-12

At that time, the news about Jesus reached king Herod. And he said to his servants, “This Man is John the Baptist. John has risen from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in John.”

Herod had, in fact, ordered that John be arrested, bound in chains and put in prison, because of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip. For John had said to Herod, “It is not right for you to have her as your wife.” Herod wanted to kill him but he did not dare, because he feared the people, who regarded John as a prophet.

On Herod’s birthday the daughter of Herodias danced among the guests; she so delighted Herod that he promised under oath to give her anything she asked for. The girl, following the advice of her mother, said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a dish.”

The king was very displeased, but because he had made the promise under oath in the presence of his guests, he ordered it to be given to her. So he had John beheaded in prison, and his head brought on a dish and given to the girl. The girl then took it to her mother.

Then John’s disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went away to bring the news to Jesus.

Saturday, 30 July 2016 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

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

Psalm 68 : 15-16, 30-31, 33-34

Rescue me, lest I sink in the mire; deliver me from the storm and the deep waters. Let not the flood engulf me, nor the deep suck me in, let not the pit close its mouth on me.

But I myself am humbled and wounded; Your salvation, o God, will lift me up. I will praise the Name of God in song; I will glorify Him with thanksgiving.

Let the lowly witness this and be glad. You who seek God, may your hearts be revived. For the Lord hears the needy and does not despise those in captivity.

Saturday, 30 July 2016 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

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

Jeremiah 26 : 11-16, 24

Then the priests and the prophets said to the leaders of the people : “This man must die for he has spoken against the city as you have heard with your own ears!”

Jeremiah replied, “I have been sent by YHVH to prophesy against this House and this city all that you have heard. Hence, reform your ways and your deeds and obey YHVH your God that He may change His mind and not bring upon you the destruction He had intended.”

“As for me I am in your hands; do with me whatever you consider just and right. But know that I am innocent and if you take my life you commit a crime that is a curse on yourselves, on the city and the people. In truth it was YHVH Who sent me to say all that I said in your hearing.”

Then the leaders, backed by the people, said to the priests and the prophets, “This man does not deserve death; he spoke to us in the Name of YHVH.” As for Jeremiah, he was befriended by Ahikam, son of Shaphan, and was not handed over to those who wanted him put to death.

Friday, 29 July 2016 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martha (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the feast of St. Martha, one of the close friends of our Lord Jesus Christ, who went with Him and provided support to Him and His disciples. She was one of the holy women mentioned in the Gospels and in the Bible. But in the beginning, which story we heard today, she kind of lost her focus and attention on the Lord, when she welcomed the Lord for the first time into her house.

St. Martha was so busy with her chores, preparing everything for the benefit of her guests, while her sister Mary sat at the side of the Lord, listening to Him as He spoke and taught her and others there about the Lord. When St. Martha complained to the Lord that her sister was leaving her to do all the work and preparation alone, He rebuked her by saying that in her business, she had forgotten about the most important thing of all, as she was distracted by all the things she was doing.

It was not that St. Martha was doing something wrong or wicked in the sight of God, and neither was it that she intentionally ignored the Lord or refused to listen to His teachings, but rather, because of all the things that occupied her, all these things have distracted her, shut her off from the Lord, made her unable to appreciate and sense the importance of what the Lord is telling Mary and the other disciples.

Let us all ask ourselves, have we been like St. Martha? How many of us in our own lives have those occasions when the Lord called on us, and yet we ignored Him, tried to shut Him off, or trying to walk away from Him. God has been so kind to us so as to provide us with so many good things, including the best gift of all, the gift of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of all of our salvation and redemption.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, God has given us the best of everything, and He even provided us with all that we need. But we tend to surround ourselves, either intentionally or unintentionally with the many things and occupations in this world that distract us from our true goal in finding our way to the Lord. Be it money, pleasures of the flesh, the temptation of power and human praise, worldly fame and many other things, we are often distracted by them.

We are so busy in our pursuit for money, possessions and other things. Just think about it, brethren, how many times is it in our lives that we place our focus on the wrong things? We spend hours after many hours trying to get for ourselves ever more comfortable lives, and we desire many things, all the things that this world are pushing upon us, all the materialism weighing down upon us, and all the temptations that the devil is trying to drown us with.

Sometimes, it is good for us to take a step back and reflect. Yes, we should reflect about many things, not least of which is the actions we take in this life, and the choices which we made. Let us ask ourselves, do we choose what we want, or do we rather choose the Lord? Which one is more trustworthy, to put our trust in the Lord or to put our trust in our feeble human power?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we all live in this important time when all that we do and everything that we have are influenced heavily by how we choose our focus in life. We have to discern and be careful in thinking and deciding how we are to devote our time and attention. Do we want to put our trust in the untrustworthy and easily lost treasures of this world, or do we rather trust in the promise of salvation from the One Who is always forever faithful?

We should be like St. Martha, who was once so busied by the daily chores and routines, by worries and other things that she was not able to see the Lord and understand Him. But eventually, she became an ardent believer, that when her brother Lazarus died from an illness, she trusted that Jesus would heal him and bring him back even from death.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, may the Lord bless us and help us. May He keep us and strengthen our faith, so that we may draw ever closer to Him and find our way to His glory and presence. May we all receive worthily the promise of eternal salvation and life that God had promised all those who placed their trust in Him. Let the examples and lessons of St. Martha and the other holy saints of God be our guide and example. God bless us all. Amen.

Friday, 29 July 2016 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martha (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 11 : 19-27

At that time, many Jews had come to Martha and Mary, after the death of their brother, to comfort them. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet Him, while Mary remained sitting in the house.

And she said to Jesus, “If You had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that whatever You ask from God, God will give You.” Jesus said, “Your brother will rise again.”

Martha replied, “I know that he will rise in the resurrection, at the last day.” But Jesus said to her, “I am the Resurrection. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, shall live. Whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Martha then answered, “Yes, Lord, I have come to believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, He Who is coming into the world.”

Alternative reading

Luke 10 : 38-42

At that time, as Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He entered a village, and a woman called Martha welcomed Him into her house. She had a sister named Mary, who sat down at the Lord’s feet to listen to His words. Martha, meanwhile, was busy with all the serving, and finally she said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the work? Tell her to help me!”

But the Lord answered, “Martha, Martha, you worry and are troubled about many things, whereas only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the better part, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Friday, 29 July 2016 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martha (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 33 : 2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11

I will bless the Lord all my days; His praise will be ever on my lips. My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the lowly hear and rejoice.

Oh, let us magnify the Lord, together let us glorify His Name! I sought the Lord, and He answered me; from all my fears He delivered me.

They who look to Him are radiant with joy, their faces never clouded with shame. When the poor cry out, the Lord hears and saves them from distress.

The Lord’s Angel encamps and patrols to keep safe those who fear Him. Oh, see and taste the goodness of the Lord! Blessed is the one who finds shelter in Him!

Revere the Lord, all You His saints, for those who fear Him do not live in want. The mighty may be hungry and in need, but those who seek the Lord lack nothing.

Friday, 29 July 2016 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martha (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 John 4 : 7-16

My dear friends, let us love one another for love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Those who do not love have not known God, for God is love. How did the love of God appear among us? God sent His only Son into this world that we might have life through Him.

This is love : not that we loved God but that He first loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, if such has been the love of God, we, too, must love one another. No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us, and His love comes to its perfection in us.

How may we know that we live in God and He in us? Because God has given us His Spirit. We ourselves have seen and declare that the Father sent His Son to save the world. Those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in them and they in God. We have known the love of God and have believed in it. God is love. The one who lives in love, lives in God and God in him.