Wednesday, 4 August 2021 : 18th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John Vianney, Priest and Patron of All Priests (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 15 : 21-28

At that time, leaving that area, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from the area, came and cried out, “Lord, Son of David, have pity on me! My daughter is tormented by a demon.”

But Jesus did not answer her, not even a word. So His disciples approached Him and said, “Send her away! See how she is shouting after us.” Then Jesus said to her, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the nation of Israel.”

But the woman was already kneeling before Jesus, and said, “Sir, help me!” Jesus answered, “It is not right to take the bread from the children and throw it to puppies.”

The woman replied, “That is true, Sir, but even puppies eat the crumbs which fall from their master’s table.” Then Jesus said, “Woman, how great is your faith! Let it be as you wish.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

Alternative reading (Mass of St. John Vianney)

Matthew 9 : 35 – Matthew 10 : 1

At that time, 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.”

Jesus called His Twelve disciples to Him, and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to drive them out, and to heal every disease and sickness.

Wednesday, 4 August 2021 : 18th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John Vianney, Priest and Patron of All Priests (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 105 : 6-7a, 13-14, 21-22, 23

We have sinned like our ancestors; we have done wrong and acted wickedly. When they were in Egypt, our ancestors had no regard for Your wondrous deeds.

But soon they forgot His works and did not wait for His counsel. They gave way to wanton craving and tempted God in the desert.

They forgot their Saviour God, Who had done great things in Egypt, wonderful works in the land of Ham, and awesome deeds by the Sea of Reeds.

So He spoke of destroying them, but Moses, His chosen one, stood in the breach before Him to shield them from destruction.

Alternative reading (Mass of St. John Vianney)

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.

Wednesday, 4 August 2021 : 18th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John Vianney, Priest and Patron of All Priests (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Numbers 13 : 1-2, 25 – Numbers 14 : 1, 26-30, 34-35

YHVH then spoke to Moses, saying, “Send men to explore the land of Canaan that I am giving to the Israelites; send one man from each of the ancestral tribes, all of them leaders.”

After forty days of exploration, they returned. They went and met Moses, Aaron and the whole community of Israelites in the wilderness of Paran at Kadesh. They gave an account to them and the whole community and showed them the fruit of this land.

And they said, “We entered the land where you sent us, truly a land flowing with milk and honey and here is the fruit. But how strong are the people who inhabit the land! The cities are fortified with walls and bars, and we even saw there descendants of the Anakites. Amalekites live in the region of the Negeb; Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; the Canaanites are by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan.”

Caleb then quieted the people who rose up against Moses and said, “We should go up and take over the land, for we shall surely overcome it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We cannot advance against these people for they are stronger than we are.”

And they spread an unfavourable report about the land that they had explored, saying to the Israelites, “The land we went through to explore is a land that devours its inhabitants and all the people we saw there are men of great size. We even saw giants (these giants were the Anakites). We felt like grasshoppers before them, and to them we must have seemed the same.”

Then all the community broke out in loud cries and wept during the night. Then YHVH spoke to Moses and Aaron saying, “How long will this wicked community grumble against Me? I have heard the grumblings of the people of Israel against Me. Say to them : As truly as I live, it is YHVH Who speaks, I will do to you what you have said in My hearing.”

“All of you of twenty years and more, numbered in the census, who grumbled against Me, your corpses will fall in the desert. You will not enter the land where I swore to settle you, except Caleb, son of Jephunneh and Joshua, son of Nun. According to the number of days spent in exploring the land – forty days, for every day a year – for forty years you shall bear the guilt of your sins and you shall know what it is to oppose Me.”

“I, YHVH, have spoken. Surely this is what I will do to this wicked community that has conspired against Me. In this wilderness they shall be destroyed and this is where they shall die.”

Alternative reading (Mass of St. John Vianney)

Ezekiel 3 : 16-21

After seven days, the word of YHVH came to me : “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. With the word you hear from My mouth you will warn them in My Name. When I say to the wicked, ‘You will surely die,’ if you do not speak to warn the wicked man, to give up his evil ways, and so live, he shall die for his sin, and I will hold you responsible for his death.”

“But if you have warned the wicked man, and he has not given up his wickedness and evil ways, he shall die for his sin, but you will save yourself. When the righteous man turns from what is good to do evil, I shall put an obstacle in his path : he shall die. Since you did not warn him, he will die for his sin. His good deeds will not be remembered; and I shall hold you responsible for his death.”

“But when you have warned the righteous man to keep him from sinning, and he has not sinned, he will live for sure, for he was warned; and you will save your life.”

Tuesday, 3 August 2021 : 18th 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 Lord, speaking to us about the faith that all of us must have in Him, we are reminded that we should not allow our desires and the temptations of the flesh to distract us in our faith and in our way of believing in God. Otherwise, we may end up falling into sin, and ended up like what some of our predecessors had experienced.

In our first reading today, we heard the unfortunate occurrence when the brother and sister of Moses, Aaron and Miriam ended up in a sort of power struggle with Moses, as the two of them grumbled that Moses alone had the opportunity to speak with the Lord and to speak on behalf of all the Israelites and to deliver God’s truth and messages to them. Aaron and Miriam desired that they too could be the ones who spoke of God’s words and truth just like Moses. They did not want to remain in the shadows of Moses and desired influence and limelight.

It was mentioned then that Moses himself was a very unassuming and humble leader, who did not take much of a fuss of things, including these rivalries and the disagreements over who ought to lead the Israelites. To Moses, he served the Lord and did everything for the greater glory of God. And yet, as we heard, there were those who were displeased and unhappy with his leadership, including those who were closest to him, his own siblings no less.

Thus we heard how Aaron and Miriam sought for power and attempted to seize control, only to face God’s wrath as God reaffirmed before all that Moses was indeed His chosen one, and it was not man who chose for themselves to be worthy of God but rather God Who chose those who are considered as worthy. God punished Aaron and Miriam, and yet, Moses asked God to be merciful and to show clemency to his siblings. Indeed, you can really see why God chose Moses to be the leader of His people, for his great virtues, his humility and patience.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard the account of the moment when the Lord came to His disciples as they were battered by great storm, by the waves and the wind in the middle of the raging waters, as He went to pray on His own and the disciples were in the boat. The Lord appeared before the disciples amidst the waves, and they were all afraid, thinking that they were seeing a ghost, only for the Lord to rebuke them and to tell them that it was truly Him that they had seen.

Then we heard how St. Peter asked the Lord that if it was really Him, then He would allow him to walk towards Him on the water. And St. Peter truly stepped out of the boat into the water, and walked on the water for a while before beginning to sink, when his fears of the wind and the waves made him to doubt and stumble. The Lord rescued St. Peter and while making comment on his doubt and lack of faith, reassured him and all the other disciples, that He was with them, and calmed the storm before them all.

What is then the significance of the readings that we have heard today, brothers and sisters in Christ? It is to remind us that God chose us among the nations, and called us all to be His disciples. And if we think that we have to be great and worthy, and are capable to be His disciples, or on the contrary that we feel that we are unworthy of Him then we have to remember that God did not call the worthy, and rather, He made worthy those whom He had called to follow Him.

As Christians, we are all called to follow in the footsteps of the faithful servants of God like Moses and the prophets, and to follow His Apostles and the other disciples, all those who have given and dedicated themselves to the cause of the Lord. Are we willing to commit ourselves to the Lord, brothers and sisters? Are we willing to dedicate our time and effort, giving our contributions to God and to our fellow men, to the very best of our abilities?

Let us all therefore reflect on these words from the Scripture and on what we have listened and received today, from the Lord. May the Lord be our guide and may He continue to strengthen us in our journey of life, that we may always be ever faithful to His commandments and obedient to His will. May God bless us all in our every efforts and endeavours, from now on, always. Amen.