Sunday, 26 July 2020 : Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 13 : 44-52

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure, hidden in a field. The one who finds it, buries it again; and so happy is he, that he goes and sells everything he has, in order to buy that field.”

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a trader, who is looking for fine pearls. Once he has found a pearl of exceptional quality, he goes away, sells everything he has and buys it.”

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a big fishing net, let down into the sea, in which every kind of fish has been caught. When the net is full, it is dragged ashore. Then they sit down and gather the good fish into buckets, but throw the bad away.”

“That is how it will be at the end of time; the Angels will go out to separate the wicked from the just, and to throw the wicked into the blazing furnace, where they will weep and gnash their teeth.”

Jesus asked, “Have you understood all these things?” “Yes,” they answered. So He said to them, “Therefore, every teacher of the Law, who becomes a disciple of the kingdom of heaven, is like a householder, who can produce from his store things both new and old.”

Alternative reading (shorter version)

Matthew 13 : 44-46

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure, hidden in a field. The one who finds it, buries it again; and so happy is he, that he goes and sells everything he has, in order to buy that field.”

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a trader, who is looking for fine pearls. Once he has found a pearl of exceptional quality, he goes away, sells everything he has and buys it.”

Sunday, 26 July 2020 : Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Romans 8 : 28-30

We know that in everything, God works for the good of those who love Him, whom He has called, according to His plan. Those whom He knew beforehand, He has also predestined, to be like His Son, similar to Him, so, that, He may be the Firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

And so, those whom God predestined, He called; and those whom He called, He makes righteous; and to those whom He makes righteous, He will give His glory.

Sunday, 26 July 2020 : Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 118 : 57 and 72, 76-77, 127-128, 129-130

You are my portion, o YHVH; I have promised to obey Your word. Your law is more precious to me than heaps of silver and gold.

Comfort me then with Your unfailing love, as You promised Your servant. Let Your mercy come, to give me life; for Your law is my delight.

I love Your commandments more than gold – the finest gold. Because my steps are guided by Your precepts, I hate all false ways.

Wonderful are Your decrees; my soul cannot but keep them. As Your words unfold, light is shed, and the simple-hearted understand.

Sunday, 26 July 2020 : Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Kings 3 : 5, 7-12

It was in Gibeon, during the night, that YHVH appeared to Solomon in a dream and said, “Ask what you want Me to give you.”

Solomon said, “And now, o YHVH, my God, You have made Your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a young boy who does not know how to undertake anything. Meantime, Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen – a people so great that they can neither be numbered nor counted.”

“Give me, therefore, an understanding mind in governing Your people that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to govern this multitude of people of Yours?”

YHVH was pleased that Solomon had made this request. And He told him, “Because you have requested this rather than long life or wealth or even vengeance on your enemies; indeed, because you have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, I shall grant you your request. I now give you a wise and discerning mind such as no one has had before you nor anyone after you shall ever have.”

(Usus Antiquior) Eighth Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 26 July 2020 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Communion and Post-Communion Prayer

Liturgical Colour : Green

Offertory

Psalm 17 : 28, 32

Populum humilem salvum facies, Domine, et oculos superborum humiliabis : quoniam quis Deus praeter Te, Domine?

 

English translation

You will save the humble people, o Lord, and will bring down the eyes of the proud, for who is God but You, o Lord?

 

Secret Prayer of the Priest

Suscipe, quaesumus, Domine, munera, quae Tibi de tua largitate deferimus : ut haec sacrosancta mysteria, gratiae Tuae operante virtute, et praesentis vitae nos conversatione sanctificent, et ad gaudia sempiterna perducant. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

Receive, we beseech You, o Lord, the gifts which out of Your own bounty we bring to You, that these most holy mysteries may, by the operation of the power of Your grace, both sanctify us in the conduct of our present lives and lead us unto everlasting joys. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

 

Communion

Psalm 33 : 9

Gustate et videte, quoniam suavis est Dominus : beatus vir, qui sperat in Eo.

 

English translation

Taste and see that the Lord is sweet. Blessed is the man who hopes in Him.

 

Post-Communion Prayer

Sit nobis, Domine, reparatio mentis et corporis caeleste mysterium : ut, cujus exsequimur cultum, sentiamus effectum. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

Let the heavenly mystery be to us, o Lord, the restoration of soul and body, that as we perform its worship, we may experience its effect. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

(Usus Antiquior) Eighth Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 26 July 2020 : Holy Gospel

Liturgical Colour : Green

Sequentia Sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam – Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke

Luke 16 : 1-9

In illo tempore : Dixit Jesus discipulis Suis parabolam hanc : Homo quidam erat dives, qui habebat villicum : et hic diffamatus est apud illum, quasi dissipasset bona ipsius. Et vocavit illum et ait illi : Quid hoc audio de te? Redde rationem villicationis tuae : jam enim non poteris villicare.

Ait autem villicus intra se : Quid faciam, quia dominus meus aufert a me villicationem? Fodere non valeo, mendicare erubesco. Scio, quid faciam, ut, cum amotus fuero a villicatione, recipiant me in domos suas.

Convocatis itaque singulis debitoribus domini sui, dicebat primo : Quantum debes domino meo? At ille dixit : Centum cados olei. Dixitque illi : Accipe cautionem tuam : et sede cito, scribe quinquaginta. Deinde alii dixit : Tu vero quantum debes? Qui ait : Centum coros tritici. Ait illi : Accipe litteras tuas, et scribe octoginta.

Et laudavit dominus villicum iniquitatis, quia prudenter fecisset : quia filii hujus saeculi prudentiores filiis lucis in generatione sua sunt. Et ego vobis dico : facite vobis amicos de mammona iniquitatis : ut, cum defeceritis, recipiant vos in aeterna tabernacula.

 

English translation

At that time, Jesus spoke to His disciples this parable, “There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods, and he called him, and said to him, ‘How is it that I hear this of you? Give an account of your stewardship, for now you cannot be steward any longer.'”

“And the steward said within himself, ‘What shall I do, because my lord takes away from me the stewardship? To dig I am not able, to beg I am ashamed. I know what I will do, that when I shall be put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.'”

“Therefore calling together every one of his lord’s debtors, he said to the first, ‘How much did you owe my lord?’ But he said, ‘A hundred barrels of oil.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ Then he said to another, ‘And how much did you owe?’ Who said, ‘A hundred quarters of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.'”

“And the Lord commended the unjust steward, for as much as he had done wisely, for the children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light. And I say to you, make unto you friends of the mammon of iniquity, that when you shall fail, they may receive you into everlasting dwellings.”

(Usus Antiquior) Eighth Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 26 July 2020 : Gradual and Alleluia

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 30 : 3, Psalm 70 : 1 and Psalm 47 : 2

Esto mihi in Deum protectorem, et in locum refugii, ut salvum me facias.

Response : Deus, in Te speravi : Domine, non confundar in aeternum.

Alleluja, Alleluja.

Response : Magnus Dominus, et laudabilis valde, in civitate Dei nostri, in monte sancto Ejus. Alleluja.

 

English translation

You are unto me a God, a Protector and a place of refuge, to save me.

Response : In You, o God, have I hoped. O Lord, let me never be confounded.

Alleluia, Alleluia.

Response : Great is the Lord and exceedingly to be praised, in the city of our God, in His holy mountain. Alleluia.

(Usus Antiquior) Eighth Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 26 July 2020 : Epistle

Liturgical Colour : Green

Lectio Epistolae Beati Pauli Apostoli ad Romanos – Lesson from the Epistle of Blessed Paul the Apostle to the Romans

Romans 8 : 12-17

Fratres : Debitores sumus non carni, ut secundum carnem vivamus. Si enim secundum carnem vixeritis, moriemini : si autem spiritu facta carnis mortificaveritis, vivetis.

Quicumque enim Spiritu Dei aguntur, ii sunt filii Dei. Non enim accepistis spiritum servitutis iterum in timore, sed accepistis spiritum adoptionis filiorum, in quo clamamus : Abba (Pater).

Ipse enim Spiritus testimonium reddit spiritui nostro, quod sumus filii Dei. Si autem filii, et heredes : heredes quidem Dei, coheredes autem Christi.

 

English translation

Brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh, for if you live according to the flesh, you shall die, but if by the spirit you mortify the deeds of the flesh, you shall live.

For whosoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For you have not received the spirit of bondage again in fear, but you have received the spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry Abba (Father).

For the Spirit Himself gives testimony to our spirit, that we are the sons of God, and if sons, heirs also. Heirs indeed of God, and joint heirs with Christ.

(Usus Antiquior) Eighth Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 26 July 2020 : Introit and Collect

Liturgical Colour : Green

Introit

Psalm 47 : 10-11, 2

Suscepimus, Deus, misericordiam Tuam in medio templi Tui : secundum Nomen Tuum, Deus, ita et laus Tua in fines terrae : justitia plena est dextera Tua.

Magnus Dominus, et laudabilis nimis : in civitate Dei nostri, in monte sancto Ejus.

Response : Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto, sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper : et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

We have received Your mercy, o God, in the midst of Your Temple, according to Your Name, o God, so is also Your praise unto the ends of the earth. Your right hand is full of justice.

Great is the Lord and exceedingly to be praised, in the city of our God, in His holy mountain.

Response : Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

 

Collect

Largire nobis, quaesumus, Domine, semper spiritum cogitandi quae recta sunt, propitius et agendi : ut, qui sine Te esse non possumus, secundum Te vivere valeamus. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

Ever graciously bestow upon us in abundance, we beseech You, o Lord, the Spirit of thinking and doing what things are right, that we, who cannot exist without You, may have the strength to live in conformity with You. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

Saturday, 25 July 2020 : Feast of St. James, Apostle (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the great feast of one of the Lord’s holy Apostles, namely St. James the Apostle, also known as St. James the Greater to distinguish him from St. James the Lesser, who was either referring to St. James son of Alpheus or St. James, one of the first leaders of the Church of Jerusalem and brother of the Lord. St. James the Apostle was the elder brother of St. John the Apostle and Evangelist, both sons of Zebedee the fisherman.

St. James was called together with his younger brother when they were fishing at the lake of Galilee, likely near Capernaum where the Lord began His ministry after His baptism. Consequently, he was among the first of the Apostles to be called by the Lord, together with St. Peter and St. Andrew, who were also brothers and fishermen. He followed the Lord together with the others who were called and left everything behind, beginning a life of faithful service to God.

St. James was also considered to be among the closest ones to the Lord as showed throughout the Gospels that during many occasions in the ministry of the Lord, he together with St. Peter and St. John, his younger brother, were often by the side of the Lord, during His Transfiguration, during the time when He raised the dead daughter of an official, as well as during the last moments before His arrest during His agony in the Gardens of Gethsemane.

As such, it was not surprising that as we heard in our Gospel passage today, the mother of both St. James and St. John came up to the Lord and asked Him for special favours and positions of honour for her sons. At that time, as it is still today, to be able to sit at the left and right hand side of an important person is truly a great honour, one that is not easily earned or given, and usually is a sign of immense honour or relationship with the person being mentioned.

The other disciples were angry when they heard of this seemingly unfair power-grabbing effort from the two Apostles and their mother, but the Lord firmly revealed what it truly meant to be His followers and disciples, both to the mother of St. James and St. John, to the two Apostles themselves, and to the other disciples. To be a follower of Christ is not like being followers of the other lords, kings and leaders of this world, as the latter sought for power and influence, for fame and glory, and for other worldly pursuits.

The Lord Himself told St. James and St. John, that if they follow Him, then they must be ready to drink from the cup that He was to drink, and at that time, the two of them did not truly understand what the Lord meant by this expression. In truth, this cup is the cup of suffering that the Lord also spoke of again just before He was to be arrested and suffered the pain of crucifixion, the suffering of the rejection of the world, the persecution from those who refused to believe in Him, and the agony of enduring the burden of the sin of the whole world.

And the Lord said to the two Apostles, that indeed, they would share in the cup that He was to drink, and this was a brief but important revelation that to follow the Lord is not meant for the pursuit of fame, influence, worldly glory, power, wealth, and many other things we usually desire when we follow someone. Instead, to follow the Lord meant suffering, to be prepared to endure the sufferings that may come our way, and following the Lord may also mean difficulties and challenges may come our way as we carry out the will of God.

St. James himself was the one who experienced this firsthand at the earliest opportunity, for according to the Acts of the Apostles and also Church tradition, St. James was the first if not among the earliest ones of the Twelve Apostles to suffer martyrdom for the sake of the Lord. In the Acts of the Apostles, it was mentioned that king Herod Agrippa arrested St. James and put him to death in prison, before arresting St. Peter seeing that this action pleased the Pharisees and many among the Jews.

But before St. James was martyred, approximately a decade after the Lord’s death and resurrection, he had managed to do wonderful works for the Lord, and he was credited with the evangelisation of faraway lands, as far away as the Iberian peninsula, what is now parts of Portugal and Spain. St. James’ most famous shrine, the great Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain, was where this Apostle once preached to the local pagans and sowed the seeds of faith among them.

And we see how this Apostle of the Lord had been transformed from a humble mere fisherman, and from a man of the world probably seeking favour and glory of the world, into a faithful and devoted servant of God, who did all that he could do to bring the Good News of God’s salvation, His truth and love to all the people, even in faraway lands, a work that is without worldly honour and glory, and not just that, but also filled with danger and difficulties, and he himself suffered martyrdom for this cause he truly believed in and devoted himself wholeheartedly in. His brother, St. John the Apostle, although was the only one of the Twelve not to be martyred, but he endured decades of trials and challenges, exiles and prisons, for his equally great dedication to the Lord.

What then, is the significance of this to us all, brothers and sisters in Christ? St. James reminds us that each and every one of us have also been called by the Lord to follow Him, and by what we have discussed earlier, following the Lord means for us to walk in His path and put Him at the centre of our lives, and not to seek worldly glory and power, or fame or influence, or pleasure and convenience for us. Instead, following God is indeed not about ourselves, but about how we can serve Him and obey His will through our every words, actions and deeds in life.

Are we willing and able to follow in the footsteps of St. James the Apostle? Are we willing to follow him in his dedication to serve the Lord, to evangelise the people we h in life, not just through words, but more importantly, through our every actions and deeds? We need to devote our time and effort to be genuine Christians, not just in name but also in deed, and inspire many others to follow our example, that by our actions and examples, we may bring more and more people closer to God.

May the Lord be with us and guide us in our journey of faith that each and every one of us, that through the inspiration and intercession of St. James the Apostle, we may be stronger in faith and be more Christ-like and be more faithful in our every day living. Let us all be transformed from creatures of desire and greed, of ego and pride, into faithful and devout children of God, from now on. May the Lord bless us and our endeavours, our efforts and good works, now and forevermore. Amen.