(Usus Antiquior) Sixth Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 4 July 2021 : Holy Gospel

Liturgical Colour : Green

Sequentia Sancti Evangelii secundum Marcum – Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. Mark

Mark 8 : 1-9

In illo tempore : Cum turba multa esset cum Jesu, nec haberent, quod manducarent, convocatis discipulis, ait illis : Misereor super turbam : quia ecce jam triduo sustinent me, nec habent quod manducent : et si dimisero eos jejunos in domum suam, deficient in via : quidam enim ex eis de longe venerunt.

Et responderunt ei discipuli sui : Unde illos quis poterit hic saturare panibus in solitudine? Et interrogavit eos : Quot panes habetis? Qui dixerunt : Septem. Et praecepit turbae discumbere super terram. Et accipiens septem panes, gratias agens fregit, et dabat discipulis suis, ut apponerent, et apposuerunt turbae.

Et habebant pisciculos paucos : et ipsos benedixit, et jussit apponi. Et manducaverunt, et saturati sunt, et sistulerunt quod superaverat de fragmentis, septem sportas. Erant autem qui manducaverant, quasi quatuor milia : et dimisit eos.

English translation

At that time, when there was a great multitude with Jesus, and they had nothing to eat, calling His disciples together, He said to them, “I have compassion on the multitude, for behold they have now been with Me for three days, and have nothing to eat, and if I shall send them away fasting to their home they will faint in the way, for some of them came from afar off.”

And His disciples answered Him, “From where can any one fill those who are here with bread in the wilderness?” And He asked them, “How many loaves do you have,” and they answered, “Seven.” And He commanded the people to sit down on the ground. And taking the seven loaves, giving thanks He broke them, and gave them to His disciples to set before them, and they set them before the people.

And they had a few little fishes, and He blessed them, and commanded them to be set before them. And they did eat, and were filled, and they took up those that were left of the fragments and filled seven baskets, and those who had eaten were about four thousand. And He sent them away.

(Usus Antiquior) Sixth Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 4 July 2021 : Gradual and Alleluia

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 89 : 13, 1 and Psalm 30 : 2-3

Convertere, Domine, aliquantulum, et deprecare super servos Tuos.

Response : Domine, refugium factus es nobis, a generatione et progenie.

Alleluja, Alleluja.

Response : In Te, Domine, speravi, non confundar in aeternum : in justitia Tua libera me et eripe me : inclina ad me aurem Tuam, accelera, ut eripias me. Alleluja.

English translation

Return, o Lord, a little, and be entreated in favour of Your servants.

Response : Lord, You have been our refuge from generation to generation.

Alleluia, Alleluia.

Response : In You, o Lord, I have hoped, let me never be confounded, deliver me in Your justice, and release me. Bow down Your ear to me, make haste to deliver me. Alleluia.

(Usus Antiquior) Sixth Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 4 July 2021 : Epistle

Liturgical Colour : Green

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

Romans 6 : 3-11

Fratres : Quicumque baptizati sumus in Christo Jesu, in morte ipsius baptizati sumus. Consepulti enim sumus cum illo per baptismum in mortem : ut, quomodo Christus surrexit a mortuis per gloriam Patris, ita et nos in novitate vitae ambulemus. Si enim complantati facti sumus similitudini mortis ejus : simul et resurrectionis erimus.

Hoc scientes, quia vetus homo noster simul crucifixus est : ut destruatur corpus peccati, et ultra non serviamus peccato. Qui enim mortuus est, justificatus est a peccato. Si autem mortui sumus cum Christo : credimus, quia simul etiam vivemus cum Christo : scientes, quod Christus resurgens ex mortuis, jam non moritur, mors illi ultra non dominabitur.

Quod enim mortuus est peccato, mortuus est semel : quod autem vivit, vivit Deo. Ita et vos existimate, vos mortuos quidem esse peccato, viventes autem Deo, in Christo Jesu, Domino nostro.

English translation

Brethren, all of us who are baptised in Christ Jesus are baptised into His death. For we are buried together with Him by baptism unto death, that as Christ is risen from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection.

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin may be destroyed, and that we may serve sin no longer. For he who is dead is justified from sin. Now if we are dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live together with Christ. Knowing that Christ, rising again from the dead, dies no more, death shall no longer have dominion over Him.

For in that He died to sin, He died once, but in that He lives, He lives unto God. So if you also reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God, in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(Usus Antiquior) Sixth Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 4 July 2021 : Introit and Collect

Liturgical Colour : Green

Introit

Psalm 27 : 8-9, 1

Dominus fortitudo plebis suae, et protector salutarium Christi sui est : salvum fac populum Tuum, Domine, et benedic hereditati Tuae, et rege eos usque in saeculum.

Ad Te, Domine, clamabo, Deus meus, ne sileas a me : ne quando taceas a me, et assimilabor descendentibus in lacum.

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

English translation

The Lord is the strength of His people, and the protector of the salvation of His anointed. Save, o Lord, Your people, and bless Your inheritance, and rule them forever.

Unto You I will cry, o Lord, o my God, may You be not silent to me, lest if You are silent to me, I become like those who go down into the pit.

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

Deus virtutum, cujus est totum quod est optimum : insere pectoribus nostris amorem Tui Nominis, et praesta in nobis religionis augmentum; ut, quae sunt bona, nutrias, ac pietatis studio, quae sunt nutrita, custodias. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

O God of virtues, to Whom belongs every excellent things, implant in our hearts the love of Your Name, and bestow upon us the increase of religion, fostering what things are good, and, by Your loving care, guarding what You have fostered. 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, 3 July 2021 : Feast of St. Thomas, Apostle (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast day of one of Our Lord’s Twelve Apostles, namely St. Thomas the Apostle, also known as Thomas Didymus or the Twin, and as we may have known quite well, that he was one who often doubted the Lord and even publicly questioned His decisions and actions. Yet, later on he would become one of the Lord’s most fervent evangelisers and workers of faith, dying as a martyr in a distant land and glorifying the Lord.

St. Thomas was always the most skeptical among the Lord’s disciples, as he did not appear to fully trust in the Lord, and was pessimistic when the Lord wanted to go to Jerusalem to fulfil His mission, despite the advice against doing so by His disciples. St. Thomas publicly said before all of them that, in a rather sarcastic way, they should all follow the Lord so that they could also suffer with Him and die along with Him.

When the Lord was risen from the dead, St. Thomas happened to be not among the other disciples, and did not witness the Lord appearing for the first time in His Risen glory before all the other disciples. And we heard from our Gospel passage today, how St. Thomas again refused to believe and even then publicly declared before the other disciples how he would not believe unless he could prove that the Risen Lord is truly the same One crucified, by touching His wounds and putting his hand into the Lord’s pierced side.

And the Lord then appeared again before all the disciples and St. Thomas included, and asked him directly to do as he said he would do to prove that the Lord had indeed risen from the dead. From what we have heard in the Gospel passage, we can clearly see how dumbfounded and surprised St. Thomas was, as his doubt was proven to be wrong, and the Lord Himself appeared in the flesh before him. He humbled himself utterly and proclaimed before all, ‘My Lord and my God.’

These are the same words that we utter whenever the Lord’s Most Precious Body and Blood in the Eucharist are elevated and raised in the most solemn occasion, as the celebrant uttered the words of consecration, proclaiming the presence of the Lord before all the faithful, truly present in the bread and wine which the priest, by the power and authority of the Lord, had transformed completely into the matter, essence and reality of the Lord’s own Holy Body and Blood.

Then, do we all recall the Lord’s words after St. Thomas uttered those words? He said, ‘Happy are those who believe because they have seen, but even happier and more blessed are those who have not seen, and yet believed.’ This is truly significant for us because, while we have not seen the Lord in the human form as the disciples like St. Thomas had seen, but we still believe that the Eucharist is the Lord Himself, in the flesh, the Real Presence of Our Lord.

Yet, there are also still so many of us who doubted this truth, and many of us who refused to believe in the Real Presence, especially among some of our separated brethren in faith. And within the Church, there are sadly still many of those who outwardly profess to believe in the Real Presence of God in the Eucharist, but behaved in the manner that is contradictory to that belief, in how they treated the Eucharist, by receiving the Eucharist in an unworthy state, or treating it as no more than just mere bread and wine, without proper decorum, respect and honour, less still worship and adoration.

Then in that manner, we are also no better than how St. Thomas was before he turned wholeheartedly to the Lord at the moment when he fully acknowledged Him as his Lord and Master. And now, we are called to reflect on our own attitudes in life, and also our perception and attitude towards the Lord in the Eucharist. Have we been truly faithful to the Lord? Or have we allowed our doubts and lack of faith and understanding of this faith to mislead us and make us to doubt the Lord and His truth and love for us?

Many of us often do not realise that we are doing exactly what St. Thomas had been doing in doubting the Lord earlier in his life, by our own lack of reverence and adoration for the Holy Eucharist, as well as our own sinful and wayward lifestyle, in contrast with the righteousness of God. We are often stubborn in walking down the path of sin rather than the path of righteousness. This is why, we should then be like St. Thomas, who turned away from his doubts and embraced the Lord wholeheartedly.

He would go on to preach the Christian faith in many places, most famously and significantly in what is now the southern regions of India, where he established the firm foundations of Christian communities there, which lasted till this very day, often known as the ‘St. Thomas Christians’. He brought God’s truth to all these people, and revealed Him to them so that through this, more and more people can be saved from their sins and wicked ways. St. Thomas would suffer and die a martyr’s death in the end of his missionary journey, obedient and faithful to the very end.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us also therefore cast off the shade and veil of doubt from our eyes and from our minds, and from our hearts. Let us entrust ourselves fully from now on to the Lord, and commit ourselves, each and every moments of our lives, that we may always walk in the path of His light and truth, and we may always be faithful and righteous in all things, that everyone who see us and witness our works and actions, will know that we belong to the Lord and that God lives within us.

May God bless us always and may He remain with us in our journey of faith and life. May He strengthen each one of us with courage and hope, to endure and persevere through the challenges and trials we are facing daily, for His sake, and for the greater glory of His Name. Amen.

Saturday, 3 July 2021 : Feast of St. Thomas, Apostle (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

John 20 : 24-29

At that time, Thomas, the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with the other Eleven when Jesus came. The other disciples told Him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he replied, “Until I have seen in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in His side, I will not believe.”

Eight days later, the disciples were again inside the house and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see My hands; stretch out your hand, and put it into My side. Do not continue in your unbelief, but believe!”

Thomas said, “You are my Lord and my God.” Jesus replied, “You believe because you see Me, do you not? Happy are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

Saturday, 3 July 2021 : Feast of St. Thomas, Apostle (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 116 : 1, 2

Alleluia! Praise YHVH, all you nations; all you peoples, praise Him.

How great is His love for us! His faithfulness lasts forever.

Saturday, 3 July 2021 : Feast of St. Thomas, Apostle (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Ephesians 2 : 19-22

Now, you are no longer strangers or guests, but fellow citizens of the holy people : you are of the household of God. You are the house, whose foundations are the Apostles and prophets, and whose cornerstone is Christ Jesus. In Him, the whole structure is joined together, and rises, to be a holy Temple, in the Lord.

In Him, you, too, are being built, to become the spiritual Sanctuary of God.

Friday, 2 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 Scripture, we are reminded that the Lord remembers all of us and loves each and every one of us without exception, from saints to sinners, and all whether they are rich or poor, powerful or weak, be it whether they belong to that race or having any particular backgrounds. He loves each and every one of us equally, and all of us have a share in His love and grace, provided that we first allow Him to touch our lives and love us.

In our first reading today we heard of the story of the passing of Sarah, the wife of Abraham, our father in faith. Sarah passed away in her old age and was buried in peace by Abraham, who had been blessed with a son, Isaac, the one whom God had promised to him, to be the one to bear his name and to be the father of many descendants who would thereafter call Abraham as their forefather. And God blessed Isaac in the same way that He has blessed Abraham, as we heard how Isaac managed to get a wife from among his own relatives.

We heard how God gave Rebekah to be Isaac’s own wife, to be the one to console Isaac after the loss of his own mother Sarah. Through this, we can see yet again how God had always put each and every one of us foremost in His mind and His care. He sought to console us and help us, whenever He could. He is always concerned about us and wants nothing else but our happiness. Yet, it is often we ourselves who refused Him and distanced ourselves from Him. This is what kept us away from Him and prevented us from being fully reconciled to Him.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard the Lord calling on a tax collector, who was later to be known as Matthew. Matthew would become the Lord’s follower and one of His chosen Twelve, a dramatic turn from once being a tax collector into a most faithful and devoted servant of God. Matthew abandoned everything and followed the Lord, and not just that, but as he was about to follow the Lord, he invited the Lord to have dinner with him and his other fellow tax collectors, who were very eager to meet the Lord and listen to Him.

The tax collectors back then were very hated and reviled by most of the community, especially by the elites such as the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law. They were seen as traitors and sinners simply because of the nature of their work, as the ones who collected the taxes on behalf of the Roman overlords who ruled over the Jewish peoples. They were hated as a group simply because of the hate that many of the Jews had against the Romans, and their hatred on the tax imposed on them. As a result, they were often ostracised and rejected by the general community.

Yet, the Lord showed what was most unconventional and surprising to all who had witnessed His actions, by not only calling one of these tax collectors to be His own disciple, but to even have a meal in the house of the tax collectors, in the company of the other tax collectors. To the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, this was an act of ultimate defilement, as none of them would even want to come near to the tax collectors, deemed as sinners and unclean, less still to have a meal in their house and dwelling place.

Through this occasion, the Lord wants to remind us all yet again that we are all beloved and precious to Him, without exception. Not even those whom others considered to be great sinners could be far away from God and His love. On the contrary, even if we are separated from God, but if we are willing to seek God and His mercy, and are humble enough to admit our sinfulness and wicked lives, and willing to embrace His mercy and love, we shall be blessed and strengthened, and we shall be forgiven from our sins.

May the Lord continue to love each and every one of us as He has always loved us all these while, and may He awaken in us the love which we ourselves should have for Him. May He bring us all ever closer to Him, and encourage us all to live as faithful Christians, now and always, in all occasions. Let us also never be judgmental or be prejudiced against our fellow brethren, and instead, learn to love one another just as the Lord has loved us, and help each other on the path towards God’s grace and salvation. Amen.