Thursday, 27 June 2019 : 12th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Cyril of Alexandria, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Matthew 7 : 21-29

At that time, Jesus said to the people, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of My heavenly Father. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not speak in Your Name? Did we not cast out devils and perform many miracles in Your Name?’ Then I will tell them openly, ‘I have never known you; away from Me, you evil people!’”

“Therefore, anyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts according to them, is like a wise man, who built his house on rock. The rain poured down, the rivers flooded, and the wind blew and struck that house. But it did not collapse, because it was built on rock. But anyone who hears these words of Mine, and does not act accordingly, is like a fool who built his house on sand. The rain poured, the rivers flooded, and the wind blew and struck that house; it collapsed, and what a terrible collapse that was!”

When Jesus had finished this discourse, the crowds were struck by the way He taught, because He taught with authority, unlike their teachers of the Law.

Thursday, 27 June 2019 : 12th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Cyril of Alexandria, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Psalm 105 : 1-2, 3-4a, 4b-5

Alleluia! Give thanks to YHVH, for He is good, for His love endures forever. Who can count YHVH’s mighty deeds, or declare all His praises?

Blessed are they who always do just and right. Remember me, o YHVH, when You show favour to Your people.

Rescue me when You deliver them; let me see the triumph of Your faithful; let me share the joy of Your nation; and join Your people in praising You.

Thursday, 27 June 2019 : 12th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Cyril of Alexandria, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Genesis 16 : 1-12, 15-16

Sarai, Abram’s wife had not borne him a child, but she had an Egyptian servant named Hagar, and she said to Abram, “Now, since YHVH has kept me from having children, go to my servant; perhaps I shall have a child by her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said.

Abram had been in the land of Canaan ten years when Sarai, his wife, took Hagar, her Egyptian maid, and gave her to Abram her husband as wife. He went in to Hagar and she became pregnant. When she was aware of this, she began to despise her mistress. Sarai said to Abram, “May this injury done to me be yours. I put my servant in your arms and now that she knows she is pregnant, I count for nothing in her eyes. Let YHVH judge between me and you.”

Abram said to Sarai, “Your servant is in your power; do with her as you please.” Then Sarai treated her so badly that she ran away. The Angel of YHVH found her near a spring in the wilderness and said to her, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am running away from Sarai, my mistress.”

The Angel of YHVH said to her, “Go back to your mistress and humbly submit yourself to her.” The Angel of YHVH said to her, “I will so increase your descendants, that they will be too numerous to be counted.” Then the Angel of YHVH said to her, “Now you are with child and you will have a son, and you shall name him Ishmael, for YHVH has heard your distress. He shall be a wild ass of a man, his hand against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, defiant towards all his brothers.”

Hagar gave birth to a son and Abram called the child Hagar bore him, Ishmael. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar gave birth to Ishmael.

Alternative reading (shorter version)

Genesis 16 : 6b-12, 15-16

Then Sarai treated Hagar so badly that she ran away. The Angel of YHVH found her near a spring in the wilderness and said to her, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am running away from Sarai, my mistress.”

The Angel of YHVH said to her, “Go back to your mistress and humbly submit yourself to her.” The Angel of YHVH said to her, “I will so increase your descendants, that they will be too numerous to be counted.” Then the Angel of YHVH said to her, “Now you are with child and you will have a son, and you shall name him Ishmael, for YHVH has heard your distress. He shall be a wild ass of a man, his hand against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, defiant towards all his brothers.”

Hagar gave birth to a son and Abram called the child Hagar bore him, Ishmael. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar gave birth to Ishmael.

Wednesday, 26 June 2019 : 12th 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 Lord speaking to us about the Covenant which He has made with His people, beginning with Abraham, our father in faith, who is a righteous and upright man, a model for each and every one of us in how we ought to live our lives. And we are urged by the Lord Himself to bear good fruits in our lives, so that our lives may truly be worthy of Him.

In our first reading today, we heard of the moment when the Lord made the Covenant with His servant Abraham, calling him into a new existence, one that is blessed and filled with God’s grace, as his faithfulness, dedication and uprightness have been found to be good and worthy by God, as a man whose life has been filled with good faith and bear truly good fruits, in his commitment to God, in his obedience to His call and in adherence to His will, and in his loving and compassionate attitudes to his fellow men.

For example, Abraham, then called Abram came from the faraway land of Ur in lower Mesopotamia, which was then a great centre of civilisation. Surely Abram had a good life in his ancestral lands, judging by the large amount of wealth and possessions that he had. Yet, the Lord called him out of that land to follow His lead into the land He promised to him and his descendants, and Abram obeyed the Lord faithfully.

Leaving his ancestral lands behind, Abram came to the land promised to him, and there, he laboured and suffered, yes, he did suffer quite a lot, having to travel from places to places, and even sojourning for a while in Egypt during a bad famine, and yet, he remained faithful and committed, and showed his great faith, commitment and dedication in his generosity, his compassionate love for his fellow men.

In one example, when the Lord said to Abraham that he would destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their wickedness, Abraham, who knew that Lot and his family, his relatives stayed in that city, and how there might have been some other people who were righteous and might be caught in the destruction, begged the Lord a few times to spare the whole towns just for the sake of even the few righteous ones who were there, including Lot and his family.

This is what Our Lord said in the Gospel passage today, when He spoke of the parable using the example of a good tree that produces good fruits, and how bad trees produce bad fruits. Abraham is an example of a good tree that produces good fruits, which refers to his good, compassionate and kind heart, his loving and faithful self, which is shown in his actions, filled with love and compassion, with faith and commitment to God, in his sincerity to be a righteous man of God.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, how about us then? We are all in fact the children of Abraham through faith, as he is truly our father in faith. We are therefore, the partakers of the same Covenant which God has promised with Abraham, and which He has renewed over and over, and finalised with the Eternal Covenant that He had made with us all through the loving sacrifice of His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross.

Therefore, all of us are also expected to follow the good examples of Abraham, in how he had lived faithfully and dedicated his whole life to serve the Lord and in being righteous in all of his actions. Are we able to do that, brothers and sisters in Christ? Are we able to commit ourselves in the way that Abraham had done, in how he trusted God completely and devoted himself to walk in God’s ways?

Let us all reflect on this today, and see how we can be better disciples and followers of Christ from now on. Let our lives be living and real examples of faith, of righteousness, so that our lives will truly bear good fruits of our faith, and we may be worthy to receive the eternal glory and inheritance that God has promised Abraham, our father in faith, and all of us, God’s beloved children and people. Amen.

Wednesday, 26 June 2019 : 12th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 7 : 15-20

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Beware of false prophets : they come to you in sheep’s clothing; but inside, they are voracious wolves. You will recognise them by their fruits. Do you ever pick grapes from thorn bushes; or figs, from thistles?”

“A good tree always produces good fruit. A rotten tree produces bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit; and a rotten fruit cannot bear good fruit. Any tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruit.”

Wednesday, 26 June 2019 : 12th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 104 : 1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9

Give thanks to YHVH, call on His Name; make known His works among the nations. Sing to Him, sing His praise, proclaim all His wondrous deeds.

Glory in His holy Name; let those who seek YHVH rejoice. Look to YHVH and be strong; seek His face always.

You descendants of His servant Abraham, you sons of Jacob, His chosen ones! He is YHVH our God; His judgments reach the whole world.

He remembers His Covenant forever, His promise to a thousand generations, the Covenant He made with Abraham, the promise He swore to Isaac.

Wednesday, 26 June 2019 : 12th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Genesis 15 : 1-12, 17-18

After Abram met with Melchizedek, the word of YHVH was spoken to Abram in a vision : “Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; your reward will be very great!” Abram said, “My Lord YHVH, where are Your promises? I am still childless and all I have will go to Eliezer of Damascus. You have given me no children, so a slave of mine will be my heir.”

Then the word of YHVH was spoken to him again, “Eliezer will not be your heir, but a child born of you (your own flesh and blood) will be your heir.” Then YHVH brought him outside and said to him, “Look up at the sky and count the stars if you can. Your descendants will be like that.”

Abram believed YHVH Who, because of this, held him to be an upright man. And He said, “I am YHVH Who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land as your possession.” Then Abram asked, “My Lord, how am I to know that it shall be mine?” YHVH replied, “Bring Me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtle dove and a young pigeon.”

Abram brought all these animals, cut them in two, and laid each half facing its other half, but he did not cut the birds in half. The birds of prey came down upon them, but Abram drove them away. As the sun was going down, a deep sleep came over Abram, and a dreadful darkness took hold of him.

When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot and a flaming torch passed between the halves of the victims. On that day YHVH made a Covenant with Abram, saying, “To your descendants I have given this country from the river of Egypt to the Great River, the Euphrates.”