Saturday, 7 August 2021 : 18th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Sixtus II, Pope and Martyr, and Companions, Martyrs, and St. Cajetan, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs) or White (Priests)

Matthew 17 : 14-20

At that time, when Jesus and His disciples came to the crowd, a man approached Him, knelt before Him and said, “Sir, have pity on my son, who is an epileptic and suffers terribly. He has often fallen into the fire, and at other times into the water. I brought him to Your disciples but they could not heal him.”

Jesus replied, “O you people, faithless and misled! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring him here to Me.” And Jesus commanded the evil spirit to leave the boy, and the boy was immediately healed. Later, the disciples approached Jesus and asked Him privately, “Why could we not drive out the spirit?”

Jesus said to them, “Because you have little faith. I say to you : if only you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could tell that mountain to move from here to there, and the mountain would obey. Nothing would be impossible for you.”

Saturday, 7 August 2021 : 18th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Sixtus II, Pope and Martyr, and Companions, Martyrs, and St. Cajetan, Priest (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs) or White (Priests)

Psalm 17 : 2-3a, 3bc-4, 47 and 51ab

I love You, o YHVH, my strength. YHVH is my Rock, my Fortress, my Deliverer and my God.

He is the Rock in Whom I take refuge. He is my Shield, my powerful Saviour, my Stronghold. I call on YHVH, Who is worthy of praise : He saves me from my enemies!

YHVH lives! Praised be my Rock! Exalted be my Saviour God. He has given victories to His king; He has shown His love to His anointed ones.

Saturday, 7 August 2021 : 18th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Sixtus II, Pope and Martyr, and Companions, Martyrs, and St. Cajetan, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs) or White (Priests)

Deuteronomy 6 : 4-13

Listen, Israel : YHVH, our God, is One YHVH. And you shall love YHVH, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength. Engrave on your heart the commandments that I pass on to you today.

Repeat them over and over to your children, speak to them when you are at home and when you travel, when you lie down and when you rise. Brand them on your hand as a sign and keep them always before your eyes. Engrave them on your doorposts and on your city gates.

Do not forget YHVH when He has led you into the land which He promised to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; for He will give you great and prosperous cities which you did not build, houses filled with everything good which you did not provide, wells which you did not dig, vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant.

So when you have eaten and have been satisfied, do not forget YHVH Who brought you out from Egypt where you were enslaved. Fear YHVH, your God, serve Him and call on His Name when you have to swear an oath.

Friday, 6 August 2021 : Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the great Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, remembering the moment when the Lord Jesus, Our Lord and Saviour, was revealed in all of His glory and splendour before His three closest disciples, Peter, James and John. The Lord Jesus brought them up to Mount Tabor to be witnesses of His glorification, as He revealed for the first time the true nature of His existence, as One Who not just a mere Man, but also fully Divine, as the Son of God, the Divine Word Incarnate.

The Lord revealed Himself before the three disciples to show them and to make them witnesses of the truth about Himself, which He had very carefully kept hidden most of the time. Many did not know Who the Lord truly was, and many thought that He was just a Prophet or Holy Man of God. Some others like many of the members of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law even doubted Him and questioned His authority and authenticity, and even accused Him of colluding with demons.

By revealing Himself to His disciples, which they later then revealed to others and written in the Scriptures, in an account for all of us to know the truth, therefore, the Lord had made Himself known to all so that everyone may see the Lord’s true intentions, by His coming into this world in fulfilling the Law and the various prophecies that had been made. Hence, we heard how the Lord met with Moses and Elijah on top of Mount Tabor, which is symbolic of the Law and the Prophets, that each of them represented.

Moses and Elijah were unique in that they were truly close to God, and both ended their earthly existence in manners unknown to us, as Moses was brought up to the Mount Nebo when he was about to die, and he died with the view of the land that the Israelites was to receive, at the end of their Exodus. Meanwhile the prophet Elijah was carried up into heaven on a flaming chariot in the full view of the prophet Elisha, his successor. Both Moses and Elijah therefore, were with God and as they came to meet up with the Lord, they symbolised the fulfilment of the Law, which Moses represented, having brought the Law of God to His people, and also the prophecies of the prophets, represented by Elijah, the greatest among the prophets of God.

These highlighted the Lord’s mission as He came to make the Law perfect and to make its full intentions and meaning known to us, as He taught His people and revealed to us through His Church. He Himself had said that He came not to destroy or override the Law, but to make it perfect and completely fulfilled, while mankind had erred in their interpretations and failed to recognise and appreciate the Law and its true purpose and significance. And His coming into this world also fulfilled the many prophecies that had been made about His coming, as the Lord came to save His people. The Lord has always been faithful to His Covenant, and He showed it to perfection in Christ, His Son.

But what is even more significant is what happened after the Transfiguration, as the Lord could have chosen to stay there in His glorious moment and majesty, just as Peter, His disciple had suggested, that they ought to stay there and to make tents to accommodate them on that mountain. The Lord then kindly rebuked His disciples, as His voice was heard, reaffirming yet again that Jesus was truly the Son of God and told them to listen to His words. The Lord returned to His original self, and then descended the mountain, to go to His Passion, suffering and death, which would then soon to come, facing His opponents and willingly embracing the weight and burden of the Cross.

How is all these significant to us, brothers and sisters in Christ? The Lord has shown us all that we are all called to holiness through Him and with Him. Just as the Lord Jesus, Who shared in our human nature and existence has been glorified, the Transfiguration reminds us and shows us of our glorified future, our renewed and blessed existence in God, should we remain faithful to Him and His commandments, obeying His Law and listening to Him. All of us are called to holiness, to be like the saints of God, all of whom were once sinners, but who abandoned and rejected their sinful ways and the path of evil for a new life in God.

But at the same time it does not mean that we are going to have instantaneous glory and joy, as we have to expect challenges and difficulties, and even sufferings and sorrows in our journey, just as the Lord endured through His Passion, His suffering and death, before His final triumph and glory in His Resurrection. We Who share in our humanity with Christ, have therefore shared in His Cross, and His suffering and in dying to our sins, and we shall also share in His glorious Resurrection, entering a new life with God in the end, for eternity.

What we all need to do now is to commit ourselves anew to a life that is in accordance with God and follow Him wholeheartedly from now on, if we have not yet done so. Are we willing to embrace this path, brothers and sisters in Christ? Are we willing to seek Him with all of our might and strength, and strive to be exemplary in our lives, in giving our very best for the greater glory of God in all things? These are the things that we have been reminded and called to do as we enter into this celebration of the Lord’s most glorious Transfiguration, His exaltation and revelation to all of us.

Let us all seek to live a virtuous life in God, and look forward to our own glorious transformation and transfiguration in time to come, that all of us, holding firmly to our faith, will receive the fullness of God’s grace and blessings. May God be with us always, and may He, our Transfigured Lord, bless us all in our every efforts and good works, in our every faithful endeavours, always. Amen.

Friday, 6 August 2021 : Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Mark 9 : 2-10

At that time, six days later, Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain. There, His appearance was changed before their eyes. Even His clothes shone, becoming as white as no bleach of this world could make them. Elijah and Moses appeared to them; the two were talking with Jesus.

Then Peter spoke and said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here; let us make three tents, one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” For he did not know what to say; they were overcome with awe. But a cloud formed, covering them in a shadow, and from the cloud came a voice, “This is My Son, the Beloved : listen to Him!”

And suddenly, as they looked around, they no longer saw anyone except Jesus with them. As they came down the mountain, He ordered them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept this to themselves, although they discussed with one another what ‘to rise from the dead’ could mean.