Friday, 5 June 2020 : 9th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Boniface, Bishop and Martyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

2 Timothy 3 : 10-17

You, instead, have closely followed my teaching, my way of life, my projects, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions and sufferings. You know what happened to me at Antioch, Iconium and Lystra. How many trials I had to bear! Yet, the Lord rescued me from them all. All who want to serve God, in Christ Jesus, will be persecuted; while evil persons and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

As for you, continue with what you have learnt, and what has been entrusted to you, knowing from whom you received it. Besides, you have known the Scriptures from childhood; they will give you the wisdom that leads to salvation, through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God, and is useful for teaching, refuting error, for correcting and training in Christian life. Through Scripture, the man of God is made expert and thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Thursday, 4 June 2020 : 9th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard from the Sacred Scriptures a very powerful and important reminder for each and every one of us of our supreme duty as Christians to be people of love, acting with love and dedicating ourselves to the cause of love, not love that is selfish but rather pure and self-giving, following the examples of none other than the Lord Himself, Who has shown us what love truly means for each one of us.

In our Gospel reading today, we heard of the conversation between the Lord Jesus and a teacher of the Law who was curious of the Lord’s teachings and words and wanted to find out more on His opinion regarding the Law of God. To the teachers of the Law, and also the Pharisees, the Law was a very important part of their lives and daily activities, and serve as the focus of their teachings and their way of life. However, in their often zealous and sometimes stubborn pursuit of such efforts, they became engulfed in obsession over the way of life they have preserved for years.

That was how the Lord Jesus and His disciples often ended up in conflict and disagreement with the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law who saw the actions and the teachings of the Lord Jesus to be contrary to the strict adherence and interpretation of the Law revealed through Moses. For over the centuries since the revelation of the Law, the people had lost sight over the true purpose and significance of why the Law was given to us from God.

What was meant to be the guide and help for the people in their journey towards the Lord, had become instead chains that kept them oppressed and pressured, living in strict and yet, empty and dead faith. What was meant to free mankind from their attachments and the chains of sin and wickedness, ended up being misused by those who failed to appreciate the real purpose and meaning of the Law of God, because they did not have real and genuine love for God.

But as we can see, there are those among the teachers of the Law and also the Pharisees who were touched by the truth that the Lord has brought into our midst. They wanted to know more about the Law, and the Lord helped them to understand what the Law truly means, not just the strict way of observing the Law that matters, but rather, why we need to obey the Law of God in the first place. Those who misunderstood the Law did so because they only see the Law in its ‘letters’ but fail to appreciate the ‘spirit’ of the Law.

The Law of God, as summarised by the Lord, is in its essence about love, love that is pure, selfless and giving, and first of all, to love the Lord our God, our Creator and Master, the One Who loves us all so perfectly that He had created us out of that love, and Who has given us His inheritance and blessings, that we may live our lives in this world, filled with every graces and heavenly blessings. God has loved us so much and yet, we mankind often overlook and ignore His love.

In the same way, the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law were so engrossed in trying to fulfil all the demands of their own strict interpretation and observance of the Law that they became distracted and ended up acting to preserve their own ego and pride, as they revelled in the respect and adulation they received for their efforts. They turned their gazes inward and into themselves rather than connecting themselves to the love of God as they should have done.

God has shown us His pure love, and there is no greater love indeed, in His own words, than for someone to give his or her life for his or her friends. And God showed this by His own concrete example, when He came down into this world Himself, born as the Son of Man through His mother Mary. And through His incarnation into this world, the Lord has shown His ultimate love for us, and which He carried on all the way to Calvary, as He bore His cross and died for us, the ultimate sacrifice of love.

As the Lord has showed us His love so amazingly and so wonderfully with such a great dedication, that we too, as Christians have to follow His examples, and show the same love to the Lord as He has loved us. Are we able to commit ourselves to love Him sincerely from now on? Are we able and willing to deepen our relationship with the Lord, putting Him as the priority over our lives? Let us all not be easily distracted by the many temptations present all around us, and let us not lose sight of the need for us to have a genuine loving relationship with God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, at the same time, just as the Lord said, then we must also show the same love towards our fellow brothers and sisters, caring and showing genuine love to them, wanting for the good of everyone. This is what we need to do in our actions and our lives as Christians. If we have not done so yet, then perhaps we need to do what we can to begin following the path that God has set before us.

Let us all therefore follow the true Law of God from now on, appreciating that through the Law, we are all called to show genuine and sincere love. Let us all be filled with love in all things, and devote ourselves to God and to the care of our fellow brethren, with all of our hearts from now on. May God bless us all in our good endeavours, now and always. Amen.

Thursday, 4 June 2020 : 9th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 12 : 28b-34

At that time, a teacher of the Law came up and asked Jesus, “Which commandment is the first of all?”

Jesus answered, “The first is : Hear, Israel! The Lord, our God is One Lord; and you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. And after this comes a second commandment : You shall love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these two.”

The teacher of the Law said to Him, “Well spoken, Master; You are right when You say that He is one, and there is no other besides Him. To love Him with all our heart, with all our understanding and with all our strength, and to love our neighbour as ourselves is more important than any burnt offering or sacrifice.”

Jesus approved of this answer and said, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that, no one dared to ask Him any more questions.

Thursday, 4 June 2020 : 9th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 24 : 4-5ab, 8-9, 10 and 14

Teach me Your ways, o Lord; make known to me Your paths. Guide me in Your truth and instruct me, for You are my God, my Saviour.

Good and upright, the Lord teaches sinners His way. He teaches the humble of heart and guides them in what is right.

The ways of the Lord are love and faithfulness for those who keep His covenant and precepts. The Lord gives advice to those who revere Him and makes His covenant known to them.

Thursday, 4 June 2020 : 9th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

2 Timothy 2 : 8-15

Remember Christ Jesus, risen from the dead, Jesus, Son of David, as preached in my Gospel. For this Gospel I labour, and even wear chains like an evildoer, but the word of God is not chained. And, so, I bear everything, for the sake of the chosen people, that they, too, may obtain the salvation given to us, in Christ Jesus, and share eternal glory.

This statement is true : If we have died with Him, we shall also live with Him; If we endure with Him, we shall reign with Him; If we deny Him, He will also deny us; If we are unfaithful, He remains faithful for He cannot deny Himself.

Remind your people of these things, and urge them, in the presence of God, not to fight over words, which does no good, but only ruins those who listen. Be for God, an active and proven minister, a blameless worker, correctly handling the word of truth.