Thursday, 19 July 2018 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the prophet Isaiah mentioning both prayer to God and also the revelation of God’s promises in the book he wrote, which recounted what happened at that time during the life of the prophet. The prophet Isaiah lived during a time of uncertainty for the people of Israel, for at that time, the northern kingdom of Israel, the ten tribes of Jacob, had just been conquered by the Assyrians.

The Assyrians destroyed the Israelite kingdom and carried off most of its people into exile in faraway lands. And an Assyrian army led by its king also came up to Jerusalem, besieging it and almost captured it, if not for the great intervention by God, Who destroyed most of the Assyrian army through His Angel. In that event, what we heard in the passage from the prophet Isaiah’s book came to reality. When the people of God was in need of help and assistance, God came to their help and answered their needs.

That was the promise that the Lord gave to His people, that should they turn towards Him, filled with remorse for their sins and wickedness, and with renewed zeal and commitment to live their lives in accordance to His laws, then He would once again bless them and be with them, rejuvenating them and making them a great nation and a prosperous people once again. He would be their God and they would be His people once again.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, we should also listen to the words of the Lord in the Gospel passage today, when He told the people, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” The Lord showed His reassurance for us, telling us that it is in Him alone that we can find complete and total happiness, joy and satisfaction. The Lord alone can provide this satisfaction and nothing else in this world can do the same.

The Lord has shown us this great favour, and He wants us all to know of His love and mercy, the compassion which He shows to all those who sincerely seek His forgiveness and those who want to be reconciled to Him. He does not turn away those who are in need of His help, and He always makes Himself available to those who come seeking His forgiveness. This is our loving God, and this is just how much He loves all of us.

But at the same time, we also have to remember that as mentioned in the Gospel today, that the yoke and burden of the Lord is light, lighter than that of the world. This goes on to say that to be a follower and disciple of the Lord, as Christians, we must be ready to face trials, challenges and difficulties, and we cannot expect to be just bystanders or let the Lord to do everything for us while we just enjoy the fruits of His labour.

And often, we will find that the burden of the Lord, the crosses that we have to bear, are indeed heavy, heavier and less appealing than the burdens and the yoke that the world tempts us with. Why is that so? That is because, while the burdens of the world, of sin and its temptations are deceiving in their appearance, so that we fall for its sweet falsehoods and later on suffer the eternal consequences and sufferings, the Lord’s cross is something painful but rewarding in time to come.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, the choice is on our hands. The Lord has given us the free will to choose which path we want to take. But we must very well know the consequence of our choice. Do we want to enjoy our lives now and suffer later for eternity because we chose the wrong path? Or do we rather suffer now for a while, but through our perseverance gain the eternal glory from God?

May the Lord be with us always, and may He continue to guide us in our path, so that in all the things we do, we will seek not the glory of the world, which is temporary, just as the mighty Assyrians was utterly humiliated and defeated by God. Instead, let us go forth, glorifying the Lord by our lives, as mentioned in every conclusion and dismissal of the Holy Mass.

Let us go forth with courage and faith, knowing that God is always with us, and that with Him alone, lies true and eternal happiness. May God bless us all and our endeavours. Amen.

Thursday, 19 July 2018 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 11 : 28-30

At that time, Jesus said to the people, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart; and you will find rest. For My yoke is easy; and My burden is light.”

Thursday, 19 July 2018 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 101 : 13-14ab and 15, 16-18, 19-21

But You, o YHVH, You sit forever; Your Name endures through all generations. Arise, have mercy on Zion. For Your servants cherish her stones, and are moved to pity by her dust.

O YHVH, the nations will revere Your Name, and the kings of the earth Your glory, when YHVH will rebuild Zion and appear in all His splendour. For He will answer the prayer of the needy and will not despise their plea.

Let this be written for future ages, “YHVH will be praised by a people He will form.” From His holy height in heaven, YHVH has looked on the earth to hear the groaning of the prisoners, and free those condemned to death.