Tuesday, 3 August 2021 : 18th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 14 : 22-36

At that time, immediately, Jesus obliged His disciples to get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowd away. And having sent the people away, He went up the mountain by Himself, to pray. At nightfall, He was there alone.

Meanwhile, the boat was very far from land, dangerously rocked by the waves, for the wind was against it. At daybreak, Jesus came to them, walking on the sea. When they saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, thinking that it was a ghost. And they cried out in fear. But at once, Jesus said to them, “Courage! Do not be afraid. It is Me!”

Peter answered, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” Jesus said to him, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water to go to Jesus. But seeing the strong wind, he was afraid, and began to sink; and he cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Jesus immediately stretched out His hand and took hold of him, saying, “Man of little faith, why did you doubt?” As they got into the boat, the wind dropped. Then those in the boat bowed down before Jesus, saying, “Truly, You are the Son of God!”

They came ashore at Gennesaret. The local people recognised Jesus and spread the news throughout the region. So they brought to Him all the sick people, begging Him to let them touch just the hem of His cloak. All who touched it became perfectly well.

Alternative reading

Matthew 15 : 1-2, 10-14

At that time, some Pharisees, and teachers of the Law, who had come from Jerusalem, gathered around Jesus. And they said to Him, “Why do Your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders? For they, they do not wash their hands before eating.”

Jesus then called the people to Him, and said to them, “Listen and understand : What enters into the mouth does not make a person unclean. What defiles a person is what comes out of his mouth.”

After a while the disciples gathered around Jesus and said, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended by what You said?” Jesus answered, “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted shall be uprooted. Pay no attention to them! They are blind, leading the blind. When a blind person leads another, the two will fall into a pit.”

Tuesday, 3 August 2021 : 18th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 50 : 3-4, 5-6a, 6bc-7, 12-13

Have mercy on me, o God, in Your love. In Your great compassion blot out my sin. Wash me thoroughly of my guilt; cleanse me of evil.

For I acknowledge my wrongdoings and have my sins ever in mind. Against You alone, have I sinned.

What is evil in Your sight, I have done. You are right when You pass sentence; and blameless in Your judgement. For I have been guilt-ridden from birth; a sinner from my mother’s womb.

Create in me, o God, a pure heart; give me a new and steadfast spirit. Do not cast me out of Your presence nor take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Tuesday, 3 August 2021 : 18th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Numbers 12 : 1-13

Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman he had married and they said, “Has YHVH only spoken through Moses? Has He not also spoken through us?” And YHVH heard.

Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than any man on the face of the earth. Yet suddenly YHVH said to Moses, Aaron and Miriam, “Come out, all three of you, to the Tent of Meeting.” The three of them came out.

YHVH came down in the pillar of cloud and, standing at the door of the Tent, called Aaron and Miriam. They both went out and He said, “Listen carefully to what I say, ‘If there is a prophet among you, I reveal Myself to him in a vision and I speak to him in a dream. It is not so for My servant, Moses, My trusted steward in all My household.'”

“‘To Him I speak face to face, openly, and not in riddles, and he sees the presence of YHVH. Why then did you not fear to speak against My servant, against Moses?'” YHVH became angry with them and He departed. The cloud moved away from above the Tent and Miriam was there white as snow with leprosy. Aaron turned towards Miriam and he saw that she was leprous.

And he said to Moses, “My lord, I beg you, do not charge us with this sin that we have foolishly committed. Let her not be like the stillborn whose flesh is half-eaten when it comes from its mother’s womb.”

Then Moses cried to YHVH, “Heal her, o God, I beg of You.”

Monday, 2 August 2021 : 18th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Eusebius of Vercelli, Bishop, and St. Peter Julian Eymard, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops and Priests)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listened again to the love and kindness of God in providing for the needs of His people, as we heard the stories of God feeding and providing for them in the desert during their Exodus as described in our first reading today, and then the similar story in the well-known miracle of the feeding of the five thousand men and more by mere five loaves of bread and two fishes by the Lord Jesus, Who multiplied the food for them.

In that first reading passage today, we heard how the people were so ungrateful about the love and attention which the Lord had given them. They were complaining that they could not have the cucumber, leeks, garlic and other things that they used to eat in Egypt, a land that was fertile and bountiful, with all available produces, even when they were enslaved by the Egyptians and the Pharaoh. They were complaining that what they had was just the manna, which they detested.

In truth, the manna itself tasted quite fine, but the people were biased against it, despite the truth that it had been an immense honour and grace for all of them to even have any food at all throughout their journey throughout the desert. Instead of being appreciative of how the Lord had sent them manna, and not only just manna, but even flocks of birds daily to supplement their diet, as well as bountiful amount of water in the midst of the dry and lifeless desert, they chose to complain and refuse to obey the Lord.

They gave in to the temptations of their desires, their desire for good and pleasant life, a decadent and free life without restraint, which led them to wander off from the path that the Lord had shown them. They fell into sinful ways, and committed those sins against God. Moses himself, as the leader of the Israelites, was under great pressure all the time, as we can clearly see his distress as we heard in our first reading passage today.

And yet, the Lord was still ever patient with His people, providing for them ceaselessly and guiding them throughout their forty years of journey, even as He chastised and punished them for their sins, excesses and disobedience. God still loved His people very much, and this was why He showed love and compassion to them, and by feeding them as a very tangible and visible proof of this love, providing them with their essential physical and bodily needs.

As therefore we then heard in our Gospel passage today, how the Lord miraculously fed a multitude of five thousand men and many thousands of other women and children, with just five loaves of bread and two fishes, a story that many of us are surely very familiar with. God cared for all of them as they were hungry and were in need of sustenance after following Him and listening to His teachings for many days.

Through all of these, we are reminded that we are truly fortunate to have been beloved by God, Who wants to love us and care for us. Indeed, if it had not been for His love, we would have been crushed, destroyed and thrown into hellfire for our disobedience and sins. That the Lord still patiently tries, even to this day, in calling us to return to Him, sending countless prophets and messengers, and ultimately His own beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus to come and save us, are the ultimate proofs and signs of His everlasting love.

Therefore, all of us should be grateful for the Lord, and strive to do whatever we can to follow Him and obey His Law and commandments, which we can do by following the inspiring examples of the saints whose memories we recall and venerate today, namely St. Eusebius of Vercelli and St. Peter Julian Eymard. St. Eusebius of Vercelli was the bishop of Vercelli and a ardent defender of the true faith against the falsehoods of heresies which were plenty at his time. Meanwhile, St. Peter Julian Eymard was a holy and devoted priest well renowned for his piety and devotion to the Lord.

St. Eusebius of Vercelli was dedicated to his flock and endeavoured to keep them safe and faithful throughout the various challenges facing them, and he dedicated his time and effort to care for the spiritual needs of the people, living among them and showing true and genuine love for them. He endured trials and difficulties when persecutions and troubles come for the faithful, especially from those who believed in the heresies and followed the tenets of the heretics, and led to the persecution of those who remained true to the true faith. He endured exile and humiliations throughout his ministry, but those things did not deter him from his best for the sake of the Lord and His people.

St. Eusebius of Vercelli worked hard to reconcile the various divided factions of the Church, reaching out to the many people who had been feuding and been separated from one another due to misunderstandings and lack of guidance in faith. He visited many communities, and many were touched by his efforts, which brought the Lord to His people and helped many to turn away from their wrong paths and to be reconciled with their loving God and Father. His dedication and faith are things that we should be inspired to follow.

St. Peter Julian Eymard meanwhile was a faithful and dedicated priest whose devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and to Mary, the Mother of God inspired many to follow his examples, as he popularised the Forty Hours devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and established several congregations dedicated to the ministry of the Lord among the people of God. Many followed in his footsteps and committed themselves to the Lord in the same manner, abandoning their previous, sinful ways of life and embracing the path that St. Peter Julian Eymard has shown them. St. Peter Julian Eymard should be our inspiration in how we lived our own lives with faith.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore follow in the footsteps of our holy predecessors, and be worthy in all of our dealings and deeds, and do our best in all things, to glorify the Lord and His Name at all times. May God be with us all and may He bless us and all of our good endeavours, now and always, forevermore. Amen.