Tuesday, 6 July 2021 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Maria Goretti, Virgin and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Matthew 9 : 32-38

At that time, as the two blind men were going away, some people brought to Jesus a man who was dumb, because he was possessed by a demon. When the demon was driven out, the dumb man began to speak. The crowds were astonished and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.”

But the Pharisees said, “He drives away demons with the help of the prince of demons.”

Jesus went around all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom; and He cured every sickness and disease. When He saw the crowds, He was moved with pity; for they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are only few. Ask the Master of the harvest to send workers to gather His harvest.”

Tuesday, 6 July 2021 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Maria Goretti, Virgin and Martyr (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Psalm 16 : 1, 2-3, 6-7, 8 and 15

Hear a just cause, o YHVH, listen to my complaint. Give heed to my prayer, for there is no deceit on my lips.

Let my defence come forth from You; Your eyes see what is right. You have probed my heart, searched me at night, tested me by fire, and You have seen no wickedness in me.

I call on You, You will answer me, o God; incline Your ear and hear my word. For You do wonders for Your faithful, You save those fleeing from the enemy as they seek refuge at Your right hand.

Keep me as the apple of Your eye; under the shadow of Your wings hide me. As for me, righteous in Your sight, I shall see Your face and, awakening, gaze my fill on Your likeness.

Tuesday, 6 July 2021 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Maria Goretti, Virgin and Martyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Genesis 32 : 23-33

Jacob took his two wives, his two maidservants and his eleven sons, and sent them across the stream and likewise everything he had. And Jacob was left alone. Then a Man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the Man saw that He could not get the better of Jacob, He struck him in the socket of his hip and dislocated it as He wrestled with him.

The Man said, “Let Me go, for day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let You go until you have given me Your blessing.” The Man then said, “What is your name?” “Jacob” was the reply. He answered, “You will no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have been strong-with-God as you have been with men and have prevailed.”

Then Jacob asked Him, “What is Your Name?” He answered, “Why do you ask My Name?” And He blessed him there. So Jacob called the place Penuel, saying, “I have seen God face to face and survived.” The sun rose as he passed through Penuel, limping because of his hip. That is why to this day the Israelites do not eat the sciatic nerve which is in the hip socket because the sciatic nerve in Jacob’s hip had been touched.

Monday, 5 July 2021 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Anthony Zaccaria, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scripture, we are called to trust in the Lord and His words and promises to us, as He gave us all His reassurances, as He has given to His servants and people, such as what He has told Jacob, the grandson of Abraham, as He watched over him and guided him in his journey, and as He has done to the woman who was suffering from haemorrhages and the official synagogue whose daughter has passed away.

In our first reading today, we heard of the story of Jacob, the younger son of Isaac, son of Abraham, who was at Bethel in the midst of fleeing from the wrath of his elder brother Esau. At that time, Esau who was the elder brother of Jacob was supposed to be the one to inherit Isaac’s blessings and grace as the heir of Abraham, but Jacob took those blessings and inheritance from Esau. Jacob flee away from Esau, fearing his wrath, but God was with Jacob, and He showed this reassurance as he lay sleeping in Bethel.

As we heard in our first reading today, Jacob received a vision of heaven as he lay sleeping, and God spoke to him, reassuring him that He would be with him and also with his descendants, remembering the same Covenant and promise which He had made with Abraham and Isaac. Jacob promised God that if He would guide him and help him to return to the land one day, he would raise a great altar in His honour and stay faithful to Him, he and his descendants altogether. And God did guide Jacob and eventually He brought Jacob and his family back to the land promised to him and his descendants.

In our Gospel passage today we heard of the moment when the Lord healed two people from their troubles. There was a woman who had been suffering from bleeding and haemorrhages, and had sought for treatments without any success. She sought the Lord as she believed that the Lord would be able to to help her from her troubles. She touched the Lord’s cloak and was instantly healed. The Lord also reassured the woman for her faith, and strengthened her, reassuring her that she has been healed and made whole by her trust in Him.

Then, the Lord also raised the dead daughter of the synagogue official, who initially sought Him to heal her from her sickness. When she had passed on while the Lord was delayed on the way, the Lord reassured her father, the official, that he had nothing to worry about, and despite the ridicule and laughter from all others there who laughed at the Lord’s suggestion that the girl was only sleeping. The Lord raised the girl from the dead and restored her to life, showing to all the power and love of God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, having heard these things, are we still doubting the Lord and all that He can do for our sake, on our behalf? Are we still not sure of the things that we shall receive from Him, and all that we shall gain by putting our trust and faith in Him? We are all called to reflect on this, as we ought to consider what we can do in order to commit ourselves as good and faithful Christians in life. We should not just pay Him a lip service and live in manner that is against His laws and commandments.

Today therefore, we should follow the examples set by St. Anthony Zaccaria, a holy priest and dedicated servant of God, known as one of the leaders of the Counter-Reformation efforts and as the founder of the Barnabites order, who was remembered for his commitment and service to the people, especially to those who are poor and needy in the community, devoting much of his time and effort to serve the community of the faithful and encouraging devotions to the Lord such as the increasingly popular Forty Hours Devotion, among others.

St. Anthony Zaccaria did not live long as he passed away relatively young from the ravages of a disease, but he was credited with the foundation of several religious orders, through which his works and passion were continued on by all those who shared the same calling and missionary zeal. This is why we should also follow the examples and be inspired by the faith and dedication of St. Anthony Zaccaria, in how he spent his time and effort to serve the Lord, and to glorify the Name of the Lord among His people. After all, He has loved us so very much and given so much for our sake.

Let us all therefore do our very best and commit ourselves, to serve the people of God, to be inspiration to our fellow brothers and sisters, by entrusting ourselves wholeheartedly to the Lord from now on. Let us all turn towards Him and be the bearers of His light and truth in our community today, that through us, many more people may come to believe in the Lord as well. May God be with us and bless us all in our every efforts and good endeavours. Amen.

Monday, 5 July 2021 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Anthony Zaccaria, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Matthew 9 : 18-26

At that time, while Jesus was speaking to the disciples of John and the Pharisees, an official of the synagogue came up to Him, bowed before Him and said, “My daughter has just died, but come and place Your hands on her, and she will live.”

Jesus stood up and followed him with His disciples. Then a woman, who had suffered from a severe bleeding for twelve years, came up from behind and touched the edge of His cloak; for she thought, “If I only touch His cloak, I will be healed.”

Jesus turned, saw her and said, “Courage, my daughter, your faith has saved you.” And from that moment, the woman was cured. When Jesus arrived at the official’s house and saw the flute players and the excited crowd, He said, “Get out of here! The girl is not dead. She is only sleeping!” And they laughed at Him.

But once the crowd had been turned out, Jesus went in and took the girl by the hand, and she stood up. The news of this spread through the whole area.

Monday, 5 July 2021 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Anthony Zaccaria, Priest (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Psalm 90 : 1-2, 3-4, 14-15ab

You, who dwell in the shelter of the Most High, who rest in the shadow of the Almighty, say to YHVH, “My Stronghold, my Refuge, my God in Whom I trust!”

He will rescue you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His pinions and give you refuge under His wings.

“Because they cling to Me, I will rescue them,” says YHVH. “I will protect those who know My Name. When they call to Me, I will answer; in time of trouble, I will be with them.”

Monday, 5 July 2021 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Anthony Zaccaria, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Genesis 28 : 10-22a

Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran. When he reached a certain place the sun had set and he spent the night there. He took one of the stones that were there and using it as a pillow, he lay down to sleep.

While Jacob was sleeping, he had a dream in which a ladder stood on the earth with its top reaching to heaven and on it were Angels of God going up and coming down. And YHVH was standing there near him and said, “I am YHVH, the God of your father, Abraham, and the God of Isaac. The land on which you sleep, I give to you and your descendants.”

“Your descendants will be numerous like the specks of dust of the earth and you will spread out to the west and the east, to the north and the south. Through you and your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed. See, I am with you and I will keep you safe wherever you go. I will bring you back to this land and not leave you until I have done what I promised.”

Jacob woke from his dream and said, “Truly YHVH was in this place and I was not aware of it.” He was afraid and said, “How full of awe is this place! It is nothing less than a house of God; it is the Gate to Heaven!” Then Jacob rose early and took the stone he had put under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. He named that place Bethel although before that it was called Luz.

Then Jacob made a vow, “If YHVH will be with me and keep me safe during this journey I am making, if He gives me bread to eat and clothes to wear, and if I return in peace to my father’s house, then YHVH will be my God. This stone which I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house.”