Thursday, 9 July 2020 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Augustine Zhao Rong, Priest and Companions, Martyrs, Holy Chinese Martyrs (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Psalm 79 : 2ac and 3bc, 15-16

Listen, o Shepherd of Israel, You, Who sit enthroned between the Cherubim. Stir up Your might and come to save us.

Turn again, o YHVH of hosts, look down from heaven and see; care for this vine, and protect the stock Your hand has planted.

Thursday, 9 July 2020 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Augustine Zhao Rong, Priest and Companions, Martyrs, Holy Chinese Martyrs (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Hosea 11 : 1-4, 8c-9

I loved Israel when he was a child; out of Egypt I called My Son. But the more I have called, the further have they gone from Me – sacrificing to the Baals, burning incense to the idols. Yet, it was I Who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; yet, little did they realise that it was I Who cared for them.

I led them with cords of human kindness, with leading strings of love, and I became for them as One Who eases the yoke upon their neck and stoops down to feed them. My heart is troubled within Me and I am moved with compassion. I will not give vent to My great anger; I will not return to destroy Ephraim, for I am God and not human. I am the Holy One in your midst; and I do not want to come to you in anger.

Wednesday, 8 July 2020 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day all of us are reminded of the coming of God’s salvation and liberation because of His love for each and every one of us, and He has been calling on us to return towards Him, seeking His mercy and forgiveness, that we will not end up in destruction due to our sinfulness and rebelliousness. For the path of sin leads only to damnation, and all of us must be fully aware of that.

In our first reading today, all of us heard about the words of the prophet Hosea in which continuing from our previous weekdays’ discourse, we heard of the Lord reminding the people of Israel of just how they had sinned against Him, and how they had committed sin by their refusal to obey God’s laws, and by following the lead of their kings who disobeyed God and did not act in the way that God had wanted them to act.

For those kings ruled over Israel in truth only as regent for the one true King, that is the Lord Himself. Yet, their greed and ego, their pride and worldly desires led them to crave for power and glory, and it all ended up with them following the desires of their own hearts rather than obedience towards God and His will. Instead of following God and leading the people towards Him, the kings instituted pagan idols and worship, committed sins like that of king Ahab in murdering the innocent Naboth the vineyard owner, among many others, and in their constant refusal to accept the words of the prophets.

That was why, the Lord sent the prophet Hosea, right about at the end of the kingdom of the north in Israel, just approximately a mere twenty years or so before its destruction, to remind the people of all the sins they had committed, telling them of their impending suffering and destruction for all those sins they had done, and yet, at the same time, God also still showed His most amazing patience and love for His people, that despite all the wickedness and sorrow they had brought Him, He was still yet faithful to the Covenant that He had made with them and their ancestors.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard how the Lord Jesus called His Twelve Apostles from among His many disciples, and together all of them were sent out to evangelise and to proclaim the words of the Lord, first of all to the descendants of the Israelites, again as a sign that God was indeed still faithful to the same Covenant which He had established with their ancestors so long ago. And He sent them their salvation through His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, as the concrete example and evidence of His love for them.

But just like the prophets of old, the Lord and His disciples encountered many difficulties and obstacles, their paths faced with opposition and stubbornness from the people. There were many of those who were willing to listen to the truth and be converted, but there were equally many of those who insisted with their own paths and refused to convert. The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law in particular made the Lord’s work difficult and arduous.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today therefore first of all each and every one of us are reminded to open ourselves, our hearts and minds to the Lord, listening to Him and His words of truth that we should not harden them against Him. Are we willing to do this, brethren? Are we willing to turn away from sin and make God once again the true Lord and King over our lives? This requires commitment and dedication from our side, and as we have been called and chosen, then we must also realise just how we have a lot of things to be done.

We have been called like the Twelve Apostles and the other disciples of the Lord. And to us have been given the grace and blessings of many talents and abilities, and the Lord has provided us with ample opportunities in which we are able to make good use of those talents and abilities for good use. Are we open and ready to become God’s own wonderful instruments and to show His love and truth in the midst of our own communities? Are capable of being genuine witnesses for the Lord?

Let us all show by our words, faith and action, in our every living moments so that through us, many more will come to believe in God and be saved through the same Christ, our Lord, King and Saviour. May all of us be wonderful instruments of God’s love and mercy, His compassion and forgiveness in our world today. And particularly, amidst the difficult challenges we may be encountering during these dark and challenging times, as the whole world is still reeling from the terrible effects of a great pandemic, economic chaos and collapse, conflicts between nations among others.

May the Lord be our guide and may He inspire us to do ever more diligently, to be more committed to following Him in each and every moments of our lives, that we may indeed become shining beacons of God’s hope and light in this darkened world, calling more and more people to trust and have more faith in the Lord, through us. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

Wednesday, 8 July 2020 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 10 : 1-7

At that time, Jesus called His Twelve disciples to Him, and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to drive them out, and to heal every disease and sickness.

These are the names of the Twelve Apostles : first Simon, called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew, the tax collector; James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon, the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, the man who would betray Him.

Jesus sent these Twelve on mission, with the instruction : “Do not visit pagan territory and do not enter a Samaritan town. Go, instead, to the lost sheep of the people of Israel. Go, and proclaim this message : The kingdom of Heaven is near.”