Friday, 2 July 2021 : 13th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 9 : 9-13

At that time, as Jesus moved on from where He healed the paralytic man, He saw a man named Matthew, at his seat in the custom-house; and He said to him, “Follow Me!” And Matthew got up and followed Him.

Now it happened, while Jesus was at table in Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners joined Jesus and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is it, that your Master eats with sinners and tax collectors?”

When Jesus heard this, He said, “Healthy people do not need a doctor, but sick people do. Go, and find out what this means : What I want is mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Friday, 2 July 2021 : 13th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 105 : 1-2, 3-4a, 4b-5

Alleluia! Give thanks to YHVH, for He is good, for His love endures forever. Who can count YHVH’s mighty deeds, or declare all His praises?

Blessed are they who always do just and right. Remember me, o YHVH, when You show favour to Your people.

Rescue me when You deliver them; let me see the triumph of Your faithful; let me share the joy of Your nation; and join Your people in praising You.

Friday, 2 July 2021 : 13th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Genesis 23 : 1-4, 19 and Genesis 24 : 1-8, 62–67

Sarah lived a hundred and twenty-seven years. She died at Kiriatharba – that is Hebron – in the land of Canaan, and Abraham went in to weep and mourn for Sarah. Abraham left his dead one and spoke to the Hittites, “I am only a stranger among you; give me a burial place among you, so that I may bury my dead.”

After this Abraham buried his wife Sarah in the cave of Machpelah. Abraham was now old and well on in years, and YHVH had blessed him in every way. Abraham said to his senior servant, who was his steward, “Put your hand under my thigh and you will swear to me by YHVH, God of heaven and earth, that you will not choose a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites among whom we live; rather it is to my country and my kinsfolk that you will go to choose a wife for my son, Isaac.”

The servant said to him, “Perhaps the woman will not want to follow me to this country. In that case should I take your son to the country you came from?” Abraham said to him, “In no way will you take my son back. For YHVH, God of heaven and God of earth, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my birth, spoke to me and swore to me that He would give this country to my race.”

“He will send His Angel before you, that you may find a wife for my son. But if the woman is unwilling to follow you, you will be free of this oath. In any case you are not to take my son down there.”

Now Isaac had come from the well of Lahai-roi, for he was living in the Negeb. As Isaac went out in the early evening to meditate in the field, he looked up and saw camels coming. Rebekah also looked up and when she saw Isaac she alighted from her camel and said to the servant, “Who is this man in the field coming to meet us?”

He replied, “It is my master!” She then covered her face with her veil. The servant related to Isaac all that he had done, and Isaac brought Rebekah into the tent of Sarah, his mother. He made her his wife, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.

Thursday, 1 July 2021 : 13th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are called to remember the love of God by which He has reached out to us and called us into His loving embrace. In return, all of us should also love the Lord wholeheartedly, and let us all commit ourselves to the Covenant which He has established with each and every one of us.

In our first reading today we heard of how the Lord called His servant Abraham, our father in faith and asked him to bring his beloved son Isaac, the son whom God had promised to Abraham, to Mount Moriah to be offered to the Lord as a sacrificial offering. Such a command by the Lord, especially what he was to do with Isaac, his own beloved and long awaited son must have come as a great shock to Abraham and must have saddened him greatly, considering just how long and how much he has expected the coming of Isaac.

Nonetheless, Abraham obeyed without question, and faithfully and dutifully performed everything as the Lord had commanded him to do. He brought Isaac to Mount Moriah just as the Lord asked for, and he brought him up the mountain, with full faith and entrusting everything to the Lord. We can see clearly here the great faith which Abraham had in the Lord, and how he entrusted himself so completely to the Lord. This is something that all of us as Christians should be inspired from. Many of us have not been as faithful as Abraham had been in the way he dedicated himself.

Abraham gave everything to the Lord, even his most precious one, Isaac. And the Lord blessed Abraham for his faith and obedience, as He saw how Abraham gave everything, even his most beloved one and did not spare Isaac. Of course God did not actually wish to have Isaac offered as a sacrifice, and hence, He stopped Abraham and showed him a ram that He sent as the replacement offering instead of Isaac. He reaffirmed His Covenant with Abraham and his descendants, and showed His faithfulness to all of us this way.

And then, linking to this story of Abraham and Isaac at Mount Moriah, we then come to the Lord Jesus, in our Gospel reading today, as He healed a paralysed man who was brought to Him on a stretcher. He showed the love of God expressed through none other than the same Christ, the Son of God and Saviour of the whole world, born into this world to be the Saviour of all. He forgave the sins of the paralysed man and healed him from his afflictions, allowing him to move and walk freely once again.

The Lord said that to the paralysed man, despite the protests of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law who were there among the assembled people and refused to believe that the Lord Jesus could have forgiven the man from his sins. Yet, they had seen all that happened, and saw how the man was healed from all of his troubles, and became whole once again. Through this, the Lord Jesus in fact also revealed the Lord’s true intentions, that is to offer His own Son, the Lord Jesus, to be the sacrificial Victim for the salvation of the world, for the forgiveness of all sins.

Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ, the sacrifice of Our Lord at Calvary mirrored closely the sacrifice of Mount Moriah, with Mount Moriah itself having often been identified as the site of the Crucifixion outside of Jerusalem, and just as the Lord obeyed His Father’s will so completely just as Isaac obeyed his father, Abraham and as Abraham himself obeyed his Lord and Master. The Lord Jesus willingly took up the wood of the Cross and bore it up the hill of Calvary, so that by His Passion, His suffering and death, and having shouldered upon Himself the multitudes of the burdens of our sins and transgressions, He may deliver us all from the fate of destruction due to our sins.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, are we still not convinced of God’s love and compassion for us? God has given us His only Begotten Son, His most beloved One to suffer and die for our sake. If He has always loved us and has always been faithful to the Covenant which He had made with us, then we should also love Him and commit ourselves to Him in the same way, following the examples of Abraham, our father in faith. Let us all turn towards the Lord and dedicate ourselves to Him, each and every moments of our lives. May God be with us all, and may He empower us all to live ever more faithfully in His presence, with each and every passing moments in life. Amen.

Thursday, 1 July 2021 : 13th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 9 : 1-8

At that time, Jesus got back into the boat, crossed the lake again, and came to His hometown. Here, they brought to Him a paralysed man, lying on a bed. Jesus saw their faith and said to the paralytic, “Courage, my son! Your sins are forgiven.”

Some teachers of the Law said within themselves, “This Man insults God.” Jesus was aware of what they were thinking; and said, “Why have you such evil thoughts? Which is easier to say : ‘Your sins are forgiven’ or ‘Stand up and walk’? But that you may know, that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins,” He said to the paralysed man, “Stand up! Take your stretcher and go home!”

The man got up, and went home. When the crowds saw this, they were filled with awe, and praised God for giving such power to human beings.

Thursday, 1 July 2021 : 13th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 114 : 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9

Alleluia! I am pleased that YHVH has heard my voice in supplication, that He has not been deaf to me, the day I called on Him.

When the cords of death entangled me, the snares of the grave laid hold of me, when affliction got the better of me, I called upon the Name of YHVH : “O YHVH, save my life!”

Gracious and righteous is YHVH; full of compassion is our God. YHVH protects the simple : He saved me when I was humbled.

He has freed my soul from death, my eyes from weeping, my feet from stumbling; I will walk before YHVH in the land of the living.

Thursday, 1 July 2021 : 13th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Genesis 22 : 1-19

Some time later God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he answered, “Here I am.” Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I shall point out to you.”

Abraham rose early next morning and saddled his donkey and took with him two of his young men and his son Isaac. He chopped wood for the burnt offering and set out for the place to which God had directed him. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance, and he said to the young men, “Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I will go over there to worship and then we will come back to you.”

Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. He carried in his hand the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke to Abraham, his father, “Father!” And Abraham replied, “Yes, my son?” Isaac said, “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for the sacrifice?” Abraham replied, “God Himself will provide the lamb for the sacrifice.”

They went on, the two of them together, until they came to the place to which God had directed them. When Abraham had built the altar and set the wood on it, he bound his son Isaac and laid him on the wood placed on the altar. He then stretched out his hand to seize the knife and slay his son. But the Angel of YHVH called to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”

And he said, “Here I am.” “Do not lay your hand on the boy; do not harm him, for now I know that you fear God, and you have not held back from Me your only son.” Abraham looked around and saw behind him a ram caught by its horns in a bush. He offered it as a burnt offering in place of his son. Abraham named the place ‘The Lord will provide.’ And the saying has lasted to this day.

And the Angel of YHVH called from heaven a second time, “By myself I have sworn, it is YHVH Who speaks, because you have done this and not held back your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the lands of their enemies. All the nations of the earth will be blessed through your descendants because you have obeyed Me.”

So Abraham returned to his servants, and they set off together for Beersheba and it was there that Abraham stayed.