Monday, 15 June 2020 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we heard from the readings of the Scripture in which we are reminded of the important obligation for all of us as Christians to be filled with virtue and love, Christian love following what the Lord Himself had shown us and taught us, that is to be genuine in our love, first of all towards God and then our love towards our fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord.

In our first reading today, we heard about the story of the king of Israel, Ahab and his interaction with the vineyard owner Naboth, whose land was coveted by the king who wanted to get the land for his own use and purpose. But when the king told Naboth to sell his land to him, Naboth refused to do so, saying that the land belonged to him and had been passed down to him as inheritance from his ancestors. As someone who was likely to be righteous and even God-fearing and obedient to the Law, Naboth obeyed the Law of God which stated that the inheritance of the land is sacred.

But the king became angry because he could not get what he had wanted, and with the instigation of his wife, Jezebel, a pagan who was even worse and more wicked than king Ahab was, ended up with Naboth being implicated and wrongly accused of blasphemy against God, with false witnesses and efforts put in place to condemn him to death with the blatant and deliberate support from the king and the queen. It was truly a very wicked, evil and selfish action, a great sin before God and man alike.

Queen Jezebel encouraged her husband to misuse his power and authority, to be a tyrant who did not care about the well-being of his people or about righteousness and justice. Instead of doing what he had been entrusted to do, the king misled his people into sin and showed it himself by his wicked and selfish attitude, his unlawful and terrible seizure of the vineyard of Naboth among many other irresponsible and sinful attitudes, which thus brought about divine judgment.

In our Gospel reading today then we heard the Lord speaking to His disciples on the matter of the Law, in which it was once said that those who committed sins and mistakes must pay according to what they have committed, that in literal words, if they caused someone to lose an eye, then they too had to lose an eye as a result, a hand for a hand, and ultimately, a life lost is to be repaid with the life of the one who had caused such a loss of life. This was the law of reciprocity as interpreted and followed by the Jews at the time of the Lord.

But the Lord Jesus then showed the true meaning and intention of the Lord, in which the old interpretation of the Law was no longer to be valid. The old interpretation of the Law was such that in order to discipline and make sure that the people of God obeyed the Law and followed the path of virtue and righteousness, a harsh interpretation of the Law was followed. Yet, this ended up in them taking the interpretation to the extreme and losing sight on the real meaning and purpose of the Law.

The Lord wants us all as Christians to know that the Law is all about love, the love first and foremost, that we must have and show towards the Lord, our God and Master, and then the same love which we also have to show towards our fellow brethren. If we have no love in us, no matter how many great things we do, and how mighty or great we are, then we will have no real life within us. God calls on us all as Christians to show love in our every actions and deeds, in our every interactions.

Through what He has told His disciples, we heard how He said that if someone were to strike them on one side, offer the other side to be struck, and then if someone were to tell them to go forth one mile, then, go forth for even one mile further. In all of these, we can see how the Lord called us all to a new life and existence, one that is filled not with the selfishness of man, contrary to what the examples of king Ahab, his wickedness and evil had shown us. Instead, we are called to focus our attention on God and His love.

God ought to be the centre of our lives and we ought to follow His own examples, in how He has loved us so much that He was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, by suffering for our sake on the Cross. He has shown us the willingness to give everything out of His love for us, as contrasted with the selfishness and ego shown by king Ahab in his unbridled desire and ambition, leading to him sinning ever further and more against God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all from now on turn away from the way of evil, the path of selfishness and worldly desires. Let us instead entrust ourselves to the Lord’s care and loving providence, and let us all be genuine in living our Christian faith with zeal and dedication from now on. May the Lord be our guide and may He give us the strength to be faithful to Him from now on, and be inspiration for one another, in our virtuous life and actions. Amen.

Monday, 15 June 2020 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 5 : 38-42

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “You have heard, that it was said : An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I tell you this : do not oppose evil with evil; if someone slaps you on your right cheek, turn and offer the other. If someone sues you in court for your shirt, give him your coat as well.”

“If someone forces you to go one mile, go two miles with him. Give when asked, and do not turn your back on anyone who wants to borrow from you.”

Monday, 15 June 2020 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 5 : 2-3, 5-6, 7

O YHVH, listen to my words and hear my complaint, give heed to my sighs, my King and my God.

You are not a God Who delights in wickedness; evil has no place in You. The arrogant cannot stand before You. You hate all who do evil.

You destroy all who speak falsehood, who thirst for blood and live on lies; all of them YHVH detests.

Monday, 15 June 2020 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Kings 21 : 1-16

Now Naboth, a man from Jezreel, owned a vineyard just beside the palace of Ahab, king of Samaria. Ahab asked Naboth, “Give me your vineyard which is near my house that I may use it for a vegetable garden. I will give you a better vineyard in exchange. Or, if you prefer, I will pay you its price.”

But Naboth said to Ahab, “YHVH forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers.” So Ahab went home angry and sad because of what Naboth had told him, that he would not give him the inheritance of his fathers. So he lay down on his bed with his face turned toward the wall and refused to eat.”

His wife Jezebel came to him and said, “Why are you so angry that you refuse to eat?” He answered, “I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite and asked him to sell me his vineyard or to exchange it for another one in exchange; but he answered : I will not give you my vineyard.”

His wife Jezebel said to him, “Are you not king of Israel? Get up and eat and be joyful, for I will give you the vineyard of Naboth of Jezreel.” So Jezebel wrote letters using Ahab’s name and sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters to the elders and important persons living near Naboth. This is what she wrote in the letters : “Declare a fast and put Naboth on trial. Get two scoundrels to accuse him in this way : ‘You have cursed God and the king.’ Then take him out and stone him to death.”

The people, the elders and the important persons who lived in his city did as Jezebel had instructed them in the letters she sent to them. They declared a fast and put Naboth on trial. The two worthless fellows came in and sat facing him, accusing Naboth before the people, “Naboth cursed God and the king!” So the people took him outside the city and stoned him to death. They then sent word to Jezebel that Naboth had been stoned and was dead.

As soon as Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned and was dead, she told Ahab, “Now take possession of the vineyard of Naboth, the man of Jezreel who refused to sell it to you, for Naboth is now dead.” As soon as Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, he went down to the vineyard of Naboth and took possession of it.