Thursday, 14 June 2018 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listened to the word of the Lord Jesus, reminding us that as Christians, each and every one of us ought to remember our obligation to obey and follow the way of the Lord as He had taught us through His Church. The Lord reminded us that we must be loving towards one another, and we must not hold any grudges or hatred towards our brethren.

The reality is that, many of us have grudges against each other, especially when we have conflicting desires and wishes, when our human ambitions clash, and we do not want to give in to each other. This is exactly why we bicker and fight, even within our families and our closest relationships. If we think that close friendship and family relationship prevent us from having all these, I am sure that all of us who fought our close friends and families, our spouses, children or parents will be able to realise the truth.

In the first reading today, we heard about how Elijah spoke to king Ahab of Israel about God Who finally was going to give rain to the land after three long years of absence, and the rain did come as He had promised. In the first place, the rain was held from the land of Israel as punishment for the people’s sins, which were caused by the sins of their king, Ahab and his wife, Jezebel.

Both of them had acted wickedly and committed sins abhorrent to God, by acting tyrannically and abusing the power and authority which had been given to them. One particular occasion was the murder of the vineyard owner Naboth, who refused to sell his vineyard, part of his ancestral land and rightful possession to the king. The king desired the vineyard as he wanted to turn it into his own vegetable farm.

The king was very angry and was emotionally affected after that refusal from Naboth, but his queen, Jezebel, inflamed his heart and encouraged him to act tyrannically by reminding him that as king, he could do whatever he wanted, and he could have whatever he wished to have. To that extent, they arranged a sham trial where Naboth was wrongly accused of blasphemy against God, and was stoned to death.

That was how power, human greed and ambition led man to sin against God. And unless we make the effort to resist the temptation of those worldly desires and power, we will end up falling into sin as king Ahab had done, and in doing so, he led many more people down the path of sin. And that is also because he had no faith in God, and God was not at the centre of his life, but rather himself and his selfish ambitions.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us are called to a holier life in our daily lives. And what does this mean? It means that as the Lord Jesus Himself had said, that as Christians, we must strive to be exemplary in our actions, forgiving those who have hurt us and not to hold grudges against each other. We are called to love one another, and even those who have not loved us or even hated us and persecuted us.

Remember that the Lord asked us to pray for our enemies and those who persecuted us? This is what we must then do, or else we risk holding grudges and hatred against each other, which eventually leads to sin. Is this what we want to happen to us? Surely, it is not. The Lord Jesus Himself forgave His enemies from the cross, all those who have condemned Him to death. If He has done so, then why can’t we?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore devote ourselves, our effort and attention to be ever more faithful to the Lord, our God, by loving more generously, and placing Him at the centre of our lives. May God bless us all and may He be with us, all the days of our lives. Amen.

Thursday, 14 June 2018 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 5 : 20-26

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “I tell you then, if you are not righteous in a much broader way than the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. You have heard that it was said to our people in the past : Do not commit murder; anyone who does kill will have to face trial. But now I tell you : whoever gets angry with a brother or sister will have to face trial.”

“Whoever insults a brother or sister deserves to be brought before the council. Whoever calls a brother or a sister, ‘Fool!’ deserves to be thrown into the fire of hell. So, if you are about to offer your gift at the altar, and you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar, go at once and make peace with him, and then come back and offer your gift to God.”

“Do not forget this : be reconciled with your opponent quickly when you are together on the way to court. Otherwise he will turn you over to the judge, who will hand you over to the police, who will put you in jail. There you will stay, until you have paid the last penny.”

Thursday, 14 June 2018 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 64 : 10abcd, 10e-11, 12-13

You water the land and care for it, enriching it with natural resources. God’s stream is filled with water.

So You prepare the earth to give us its fruits. You drench the furrows in the land and level the ridges; You soften the soil with showers and bless its crops.

You crown the year with Your goodness; abundance flows everywhere. The deserts have become pasture land, the hills are clothed with gladness.

Thursday, 14 June 2018 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Kings 18 : 41-46

Elijah then said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink, for the sound of rain is rushing in.” So Ahab went up to eat and drink. Elijah, in the meantime, went to the top of Carmel, bowed to the ground and put his face between his knees.

Then he said to his servant, “Go up and look in the direction of the sea.” The man went up, looked, and said, “There is nothing.” Then Elijah said, “Go again;” and seven times he went. At the seventh time, he perceived a little cloud, the size of a man’s hand, rising out of the sea. Elijah told him, “Go, tell Ahab : Prepare your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.”

A little later the sky grew dark with clouds and wind, and a strong rain fell. Ahab was riding on his way to Jezreel. As for Elijah, the hand of YHVH was on him, and tucking his cloak in his belt, he ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.