Friday, 14 June 2019 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture speaking to us about the treasure that is our faith, and what we need to do in order to preserve this faith that is within each and every one of us. We carry in us this faith in the Lord Jesus which is necessary for us to endure through the many temptations and challenges of this world, all of which are obstacles for us in being faithful to God.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard of how the Lord Jesus exhorted to His disciples that they ought to be careful in their lives that they did not give in to the temptation to sin, as sin is something that is very dangerous and corrupting, and if we are not careful, we will end up being corrupted by those sins. We should not even contemplate the idea of sin, for when we allow sin to enter into our hearts and minds, it is too late for us.

What the Lord mentioned in today’s Gospel passage was not to be taken literally for surely it must have been horrifying for us to even contemplate the thought of cutting out one’s own eye or to cut out one’s own limb in the case when these led us into sin. In fact, the Lord was just making a point and comparison, of using those body parts as a metaphor for sin, as the limbs, eyes and our body organs are by themselves blameless.

It is the heart that leads one into sin, heart filled with sin and the desire to sin will cause our actions to be ones that lead us down the path of sin. On the contrary, should our hearts and minds be filled with righteousness and good things from God, not only that it would have been much more difficult for us to commit sin, but our actions and our bodies will be used for the greater glory and purpose of God.

Therefore, today, in fact all of us to reflect on how we are to carry on living our lives from now on. Are we going to continue to allow ourselves to be tempted and swayed by sin? Or are we going to try our best to resist those temptations and seek to remain pure at all times despite the challenges and the pressures to do otherwise? God has given us all the free will to choose between goodness and wickedness, between obedience and disobedience.

In our first reading today, again, as I mentioned, all of us have received the gift of faith, kept in the treasures of clay, a reference to our own bodies and selves, made from the dust of the earth. But that treasure of our faith is truly a great treasure indeed, waiting to be unveiled and shown to all. The choice is ours whether we want to keep this treasure inside us and leave it as it is, or to allow that treasure to be shown forth and to grow.

Let me refer to the example of the parable of the silver talents that the Lord Jesus taught His disciples, in which a master presented three servants with the silver talents for them to make use of during his absence. Two of the servants made good use of the silver talents, invested them and worked with them, and made double the result as compared to the initial amount entrusted to them by their master.

On the contrary, the lazy servant hid the silver talent and did nothing with it, and returned the silver talent to the master exactly as how he had been entrusted with it. The ones who were praised and commended were those two servants who had willingly and diligently made good use of their silver talents. In the same way, therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, each and every one of us have been entrusted by God with different talents and abilities.

But are we willing and able to make good use of those abilities and talents? Let us all think about this and reflect how we can be ever more faithful and be more dedicated to God, with each and every moments of our lives, and with every faithful and dedicated actions we do for the sake of the greater glory of God. Let us all renounce our sinful ways and reject any further temptations to sin from now on. May God bless us all, now and always. Amen.

Friday, 14 June 2019 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 5 : 27-32

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “You have heard that it was said : Do not commit adultery. But I tell you this : anyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent, has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

“So, if your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away! It is much better for you to lose a part of your body, than to have your whole body thrown into hell. If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away! It is better for you to lose a part of your body, than to have your whole body thrown into hell.”

“It was also said : Anyone who divorces his wife, must give her a written notice of divorce. But what I tell you is this : if a man divorces his wife, except in the case of unlawful union, he causes her to commit adultery. And the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

Friday, 14 June 2019 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 115 : 10-11, 15-16, 17-18

You, family of Aaron, trust in YHVH; He is your help and your shield! You who fear YHVH, trust in Him; He is your help and your shield!

May you be blessed by YHVH. Maker of heaven and earth. Heaven belongs to YHVH, but the earth He has given to humans.

It is not the dead who praise YHVH, for they have gone down to silence; but it is we, the living who praise YHVH, from now on and forever.

Friday, 14 June 2019 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

2 Corinthians 4 : 7-15

However, we carry this treasure in vessels of clay, so that this all-surpassing power may not be seen as ours, but as God’s. Trials of every sort come to us, but we are not discouraged. We are left without answer, but do not despair; persecuted but not abandoned, knocked down but not crushed.

At any moment, we carry, in our person, the death of Jesus, so, that, the life of Jesus may also be manifested in us. For we, the living, are given up continually to death, for the sake of Jesus, so, that, the life of Jesus may appear in our mortal existence. And as death is at work in us, life comes to you.

We have received the same Spirit of faith referred to in Scripture, that says : I believed and so I spoke. We also believe, and so we speak. We know that He, Who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us, with Jesus, and bring us, with you, into His presence. Finally, everything is for your good, so that grace will come more abundantly upon you, and great will be the thanksgiving for the glory of God.

Thursday, 13 June 2019 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture speaking to us about the importance for us to be truly faithful in our lives, in how we carry on with our lives and actions, in everything that we say and do, so that we truly show our faith not just in words, but in our every actions, in every parts of our beings, that everyone who see us, will see God being present in our lives.

As what St. Paul wrote to the Church and the faithful in Corinth in our first reading passage today, all of us reflect the glory of God and the truth of God has been revealed to us, His faithful ones, like light shining in the darkness, illuminating everything by the wonders of God’s light. And through us, God’s wonderful love and truth is reflected unto the world, just as He has done so through His saints, all those holy men and women who had been obedient to God and lived their lives virtuously.

In conjunction with this, I would like to compare all these to the stained glasses in our churches and parishes, where we see the stained glasses beautifully adorned and arranged with the imageries of the life of Our Lord and the imageries of the saints and martyrs, the lives of all those who have given themselves to the service of God. And all these stained glasses are truly the epitome of what we have been discussing so far today, as stained glasses gain their beauty not from themselves but from the light that illuminates them.

Without light, the stained glass will remain dark and invisible, as the stained glass does not produce light on its own. Similarly, the saints did not glorify their own power and greatness, they did not proclaim their own wisdom or understanding, or their own ways and paths, but instead, they glorified the Lord by their lives, devoting their whole lives and their whole entire being to be the hands, the feet, the living examples of the Lord’s glory and good works among His people.

That is what the saints had done, making use of their examples and their whole lives to bring glory to God, and by all their actions, their dedications, their tireless giving of their time and effort, everyone who have seen them, witnessed their good works, listened to them and followed them came to know of God and His truth, His love and care for each and every one of them. Truly, like the beautiful stained glass illuminated by the light, the Light of Christ illuminates His saints like wonderful beacons for us all to see.

Today, we celebrate the feast of one of those saints, namely St. Anthony of Padua, a renowned saint whose life is truly an example for each and every one of us. St. Anthony of Padua was born into a wealthy Portuguese family who entered into the priesthood and eventually became one of the Franciscans. He wanted to be a missionary but a serious sickness changed the course of his life. Instead, he worked and preached among the people.

St. Anthony of Padua made wonderful speeches and preached eloquently, teaching numerous people about the faith. And many were moved and inspired by his sermons, as well as his generous and caring nature, in how he spent many hours and days taking care of them and also the younger members of his own Franciscan community. The people of God came to be inspired by the life of this saint, whose life has become an embodiment of God’s glory.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, are we inspired by the good examples of St. Anthony of Padua? Are we capable of devoting our lives in the same way as St. Anthony had done with his? Let us all therefore from now on strive to be good reflections of God’s truth and love, by our own exemplary and faithful actions in life. Let us devote our whole effort and time from now on, for the greater glory of God. May the Lord bless us all, now and always. Amen.