Friday, 17 July 2020 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 12 : 1-8

At that time, it happened that, Jesus walking through the wheat fields on a Sabbath. His disciples were hungry; and they began to pick some heads of wheat, to crush and to eat the grain. When the Pharisees noticed this, they said to Jesus, “Look at Your disciples! They are doing what is prohibited on the Sabbath!”

Jesus answered, “Have you not read what David did, when he and his men were hungry? He went into the House of God, and they ate the bread offered to God, though neither he nor his men had the right to eat it, but only the priests. And have you not read in the law, how, on the Sabbath, the priests in the Temple desecrate the Sabbath, yet they are not guilty?”

“I tell you, there is greater than the Temple here. If you really knew the meaning of the words : It is mercy I want, not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the innocent. Besides, the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

Friday, 17 July 2020 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Isaiah 38 : 10, 11, 12abcd, 16

Once I said : In the noontime of my life I go; I am sent to the land of the dead, for the rest of my years.

I said : Never again shall I see YHVH in the land of the living; never again shall I see the inhabitants of the earth.

Like a shepherd’s tent, my dwelling has been pulled down and thrown away; like a weaver, You rolled up my life and cut it from the loom.

O Lord, give me back my health and give me back my life!

Friday, 17 July 2020 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Isaiah 38 : 1-6, 21-22, 7-8

In those days Hezekiah fell mortally ill and the prophet Isaiah, son of Amoz, went to him with a message from YHVH, “Put your house in order for you shall die; you shall not live.”

Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to YHVH, “Ah YHVH! Remember how I have walked before You in truth and wholeheartedly, and done what is good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

Then the word of YHVH came to Isaiah, “Go and tell Hezekiah what YHVH, the God of his father David, says : I have heard your prayer and I have seen your tears. See! I am adding fifteen years to your life and I will save you and this city from the power of the king of Assyria. I will defend it for My sake and for the sake of David My servant.”

Isaiah then said, “Bring a fig cake to rub on the ulcer and let Hezekiah be cured!” Hezekiah asked, “What is the sign that I shall go up to the House of YHVH?” Isaiah answered, “This shall be for you a sign from YHVH, that He will do what He has promised. See! I shall make the shadow descending on the stairway of Ahaz go back ten steps.”

So the sunlight went back the ten steps it had covered on the stairway.

Thursday, 16 July 2020 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Our Lady of Mount Carmel)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as all of us gather together to glorify the Lord, we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the Patroness of the Carmelite religious order, recalling the vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, to St. Simon Stock, one of the earliest members of the Carmelites. Our Lady of Mount Carmel appeared to St. Simon Stock and showed him the brown scapular, two pieces of cloth with holy image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on one side, and on the other side the promise that all who wear the scapular with devotion will be saved from the eternal fire of hell.

This was the promise that Our Lady of Mount Carmel showed to St. Simon Stock, and became the foundation for the famous devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the brown scapular associated with her. Through His mother Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the Lord wants each and every one of us to put our faith and trust in Him through her, and to put ourselves in her comforting embrace and care, as our blessed and loving mother, entrusted to us and given to us to be our guide and consolation.

That so many people came to follow in the devotion of the brown scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is a sign of mankind’s great desire to be healed from their hurts, problems and troubles, that they came to seek the mother of our Lord, for her guidance, her prayer and intercession, for solace and consolation during times of trouble and difficulties, trials and hardships as we are surely aware of, especially during these recent days, weeks and months when we have encountered so many problems and troubles in life.

But at the same time, we must make sure that through our devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, we are helped in our rejuvenation in faith, our reconciliation with God. We must not fall into blind devotion or merely hoping for miracles and for good things to happen to us because we demand it and want it. Instead, we must once again come back to the essence of this devotion, that is through the brown scapular, we are reminded of the holy life that each and every one of us are called to, and embrace it fully with our hearts.

Let us all remember that all of us are called to turn towards God in these most troublesome and darkest of moments. And we are called to turn to Him to look forward for a new hope that He is going to bring us, and His mother, Our Lady of Mount Carmel is by our side, showing us the way to reach her Son. And we are all called to follow her examples, her dedication and virtues, her commitment and love for her Son that we too may grow in our faith in Him and in our love for Him.

Today, therefore, we have all been reminded that we must neither be afraid or be fearful, for God Himself together with His blessed Mother, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and innumerable saints and Angels are standing by us, amidst the trials and challenges of life, and amidst all the fears, despairs and uncertainties of life. The Lord wants us to put our trust in Him rather than to put our trust in our own strength and in our own designs and powers. And all of us who trust in Him will soon learn that there is truly nothing that we need to fear of.

For in the end, if we are faithful, obedient to the will of God, and have committed our lives to Him, then as the promise of the Blessed Mother of God, Our Lady of Mount Carmel had spoken to St. Simon Stock, that those who have devoutly wore the brown scapular would be safe from the eternal fires of hell. No matter how great the trials and difficulties we may currently be facing and suffering, but nothing can compare to the eternal suffering and punishment to be endured in hell. We must not lose hope in despair of the darkness, but instead be hopeful of the Lord and His light through His mother.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all dedicate ourselves anew to the Lord, and by devoting ourselves to His blessed mother, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, let us all turn ourselves into a new, righteous and virtuous living, rejecting sin and the temptation to sin, persevering in faith and committing ourselves to a new life in God’s grace. Are we able and willing to commit ourselves to this, brothers and sisters in Christ? Let us all discern carefully the path and direction we are going to take in life, that we will not end up in the eternal darkness, but in God’s eternal light and true joy.

May the Lord continue to guide and strengthen us, and may His loving mother Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, our mother, continue to intercede and pray for us sinners, all still struggling in this world, that we may break free of the darkness by her Son’s grace and enter into the wonders of the kingdom of Heaven. Amen.