Thursday, 29 July 2021 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martha, St. Mary and St. Lazarus (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 John 4 : 7-16

My dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves, is born of God and knows God. Those who do not love have not known God, for God is love. How did the love of God appear among us? God sent His only Son into this world, that we might have life, through Him.

This is love : not that we loved God, but that, He first loved us and sent His Son, as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, if such has been the love of God, we, too, must love one another. No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us, and His love comes to its perfection in us.

How may we know that we live in God and He in us? Because God has given us His Spirit. We ourselves have seen, and declare, that the Father sent His Son to save the world. Those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in them, and they in God. We have known the love of God and have believed in it. God is love. The one who lives in love, lives in God, and God in him.

Wednesday, 28 July 2021 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we listened to the Scripture passages, we are all reminded of the wonderful ‘treasure’ that all of us have received from the Lord, the truth and the blessings we have received from God, and all the graces we have been given. We have been blessed with generous love from the Lord and we should appreciate this and thank Him for all that He had done for us, all these while, seeking Him with all of our might and abilities.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of Exodus about the moment when Moses returned to the people after having met the Lord face to face within the Holy of Holies of the Holy Tent of Meeting. Moses went into the Holy Tent periodically to meet with God, to converse with Him and to know what it is that the Lord wanted to tell His people. The Lord spoke to Moses directly, and he saw the Lord in person, in all of His glory. Normally, no one would have been able to see the Lord face to face and live, but God gave Moses the special grace to be able to do so.

In that way, the people of God knew that Moses truly spoke God’s words and truth, as the glory of God was reflected and shown on his face whenever he finished speaking with God. That was how God led His people throughout the journey of the Exodus, keeping them in check throughout the many temptations and disobedient attitudes that they had shown Him. God was always ever patient in seeking His people even though they repeatedly again and again abandoned and betrayed Him. He chastised and punished them with justice, but also showed them compassion and guided them to the right path.

That is why we have to consider ourselves so fortunate that God has taken care of us so wonderfully all these time, and He has always ever patiently sought us and wanted us to be reconciled and reunited to Him, and He wants us to be good and to abandon our sinful ways, and that was why He gave us His Law and commandments, and sent us prophets and messengers, one after another in order to work with us, and to reveal to us God’s will and truth, all the truth about His generous love and mercy.

That is why, He sent us in the end, as He promised, the assurance of salvation through Christ, Our Lord, His own only begotten Son. Through Christ, all of us received the fullness of truth, as He revealed to His disciples and to the Church, through the Holy Spirit, the fullness of God’s truth and salvation, which He has brought into this world. And He taught the people through parables and other stories, which He used to explain this truth to them, including what we have also heard in our Gospel passage today.

The Lord told the people about what the kingdom of God is like, likening it to a pearl of great price and value, as well as to a great treasure that lies hidden in a field. The Lord said that just as how one would react upon discovering such a treasure, be it in the sea or on the land, that they would sell everything and leave everything behind and obtain that treasure, therefore it is a reminder to all of us the faithful people of God, that first and foremost, in all things, we have to seek the Lord with all of our strength and might, with all of our efforts and abilities.

The Lord should be the centre and focus of our lives and communities, our actions, activities and interactions. We have to put Him first in all things, and in all that we say and do, we should strive to do His will, in obeying the commandments and the Law which He had clarified and made known to us through the Church. We are all called to follow the Lord with all of our hearts, and today we heard those Scripture readings as reminders for us if we have not done so yet. The Lord has called us a lot of times, but it is often that we have shut ourselves off from Him, all these time.

Let us all therefore learn to trust in the Lord, open ourselves and our hearts and minds to receive the Lord into our midst, speaking with Him and communicating with Him through prayer and silence, just as how Moses once communicated with the Lord. Let us all be thankful of everything God had done for us, in His patience to love us and to forgive us our sins, and His ultimate gift to us in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, that by His suffering and death, He has set us free from the tyranny and bondage to sin and death, and leading us down the path to everlasting life and glory. Amen.

Wednesday, 28 July 2021 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

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.”

Wednesday, 28 July 2021 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 98 : 5, 6, 7, 9

Extol YHVH, our God; worship at His footstool. Holy is He! And mighty!

Among His priests were Moses and Aaron; and Samuel, among those who called on His Name. They called to YHVH, and He answered them.

In the pillar of cloud He spoke to them; and they kept His statutes and the decrees He gave them.

Extol YHVH our God; worship at His holy mountain. Holy is YHVH our God!

Wednesday, 28 July 2021 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Exodus 34 : 29-35

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that the skin of his face was radiant after speaking with YHVH. Aaron and all the sons of Israel saw that Moses’ face was radiant and they were afraid to go near him.

But Moses called them, and Aaron with all the leaders of the community drew near, and Moses spoke to them. Afterwards all the Israelites came near and he told them all that YHVH had commanded him on Mount Sinai. When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face.

Whenever Moses went before YHVH to speak with Him, he took off the veil until he came out again. And when he came out and told them what he had been commanded, the Israelites saw that his face was radiant. Moses would then replace the veil over his face until he went again to speak with YHVH.

Tuesday, 27 July 2021 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard from the Scriptures a reminder for each and every one of us to be truly faithful to God and to be righteous in our way of life and deeds, so that we are truly worthy of being Christians, as God’s chosen and beloved people. We have heard the story of Moses from our first reading today, proclaiming God’s love for His people, and all the obligations and commitment that they all need to make as part of the Covenant which God has lovingly made with them, as they were chosen and affirmed as God’s precious ones. And then we also heard the words of the Lord Jesus explaining the meaning of His parable of the weeds which I will elaborate a bit more later on.

In our first reading, we heard of the moment when Moses before the assembled people of Israel as they gathered before the Lord at the Holy Tent, entered the Tent to meet with God, Whose Presence came to reside within the Holy Tent, and Moses came to see God face to face, a privilege which few would ever have. God came to dwell among His people and Moses came to be the one to bear God’s will and commandments, words and advice to His people, a people who have often been wayward and disobedient, who preferred to follow their own paths rather than to follow the Lord and His Law.

We heard Moses then supplicating on behalf of the entire people, proclaiming the regret the people had for their sins, and sought God to be merciful and to forgive the people all of their sinful and wayward actions, which had angered Him and made them to be punished for their intransigence. The whole people were with Moses and worshipped the Lord, all bowing down themselves before Him, after what they had done in past events, as earlier in the week we have heard how the Israelites betrayed the Lord for the golden calf idol, abandoned His Covenant and walked in the path of sin. It was not just once that they did this, but many times, repeatedly over the years, again and again.

Yet, throughout all of that, God was most patient in His love and mercy for His people, as while He did admonish them and punish them to keep them in check and to remind them of what they ought to be doing as God’s chosen ones, He sent them numerous prophets and messengers to guide them and lead them down the right path, prophets such as Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos among many others. That God was so patient in dealing with His people and leading them to Him despite their rebellious and wayward attitude revealed just how beloved and fortunate all of us have been.

That is why we have to appreciate our blessings and the opportunities we have been given, all these while. The Lord Himself spoke to His disciples, telling them all the meaning of His parable of the wheat and the weeds, as that parable spoke of an enemy who sowed weeds among the wheat, growing together and cannot be separated until the day of harvest. It is a reminder for us all that we have to persevere and resist the temptations to sin, the pressure to conform to worldly desires and wickedness, the allures of evils and sins all around us.

Those things are the ‘weeds’ that are part of our lives and which often cannot be avoided as we live our lives daily. There will be lots of times when we will feel surrounded and even helpless in the face of all the opposition, temptations and evils, and that we may be discouraged and disheartened, weakened and have that wish to give up the struggle. However, the Lord wanted to reassure us all that He is with us, and He dwells among us, being with us, journeying with us. We are never alone throughout the journey, and just as He had been with the Israelites through thick and thin, through hardships and good times, He is also with us too.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all turn towards the Lord and see in Him a great love and compassion which He has shown to each and every one of us, out of the desire to be reconciled and reunited with us. And therefore, are we all willing to live our lives from now on in a more worthy manner, filled with faith and filled with ever greater love for God? Are we willing to let God guide us and show us the way going forward that we will not end up on the wrong path, and that we may be strengthened and encouraged to keep faithfully the way of the Lord?

Let us all discern these things carefully and consider how we can live our lives in a more Christ-like manner, as genuine and faithful Christians in all things. Let us all turn towards the Lord with renewed faith and with zeal, doing whatever we can, even in our smallest ways, to do the will of God and to be exemplary as best as we can in each and every moments of our lives and be inspiration to one another to remain truly faithful to God. May the Lord be with us all and may He give us the strength and courage to remain faithful at all times. May God bless us all, now and always, forevermore. Amen.