Thursday, 12 August 2021 : 19th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John Frances de Chantal, Religious (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Religious)

Matthew 18 : 21 – Matthew 19 : 1

At that time, Peter asked Jesus, “Lord, how many times must I forgive the offences of my brother or sister? Seven times?” Jesus answered, “No, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

“This story throws light on the kingdom of Heaven : A king decided to settle accounts with his servants. Among the first of them was one who owed him ten thousand pieces of gold. As the man could not repay the debt, the king commanded that he be sold as a slave with his wife, his children and all his goods, as repayment.”

“The servant threw himself at the feet of the king and said, ‘Give me time, and I will pay you back everything.’ The king took pity on him, and not only set him free, but even cancelled his debt. When this servant left the king’s presence, he met one of his fellow servants, who owed him a hundred pieces of silver. He grabbed him by the throat and almost choked him, shouting, ‘Pay me what you owe!'”

“His fellow servant threw himself at his feet and begged him, ‘Give me time, and I will pay everything.’ But the other did not agree, and sent him to prison until he has paid all his debt. Now the servants of the king saw what had happened. They were extremely upset, and so they went and reported everything to their lord.”

“Then the lord summoned his servant and said, ‘Wicked servant, I forgave you all that you owed me when you begged me to do so. Were you not bound to have pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?’ The lord was now angry. He handed the wicked servant over to be punished, until he had paid the whole debt.”

Jesus added, “So will My heavenly Father do with you, unless you sincerely forgive your brothers and sisters.” When Jesus had finished these sayings, He left Galilee and arrived at the border of Judea, on the other side of the Jordan River.

Thursday, 12 August 2021 : 19th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John Frances de Chantal, Religious (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Religious)

Psalm 113A : 1-2, 3-4, 5-6

Alleluia! When Israel came out of Egypt, the family of Jacob, from a people of foreign language. Judah became His Sanctuary; Israel, His possession.

At His sight, the sea fled and the Jordan retreated; the mountains skipped like rams, the hills frolicked like lambs.

Why is it, sea, that you flee? Jordan, that you turn back? Mountains, that you skip like rams? Hills, that you frolic like lambs?

Thursday, 12 August 2021 : 19th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John Frances de Chantal, Religious (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Religious)

Joshua 3 : 7-10a, 11, 13-17

Then YHVH said to Joshua : “Today I will begin to make you great in the eyes of Israel and they shall known that I am with you as I was with Moses. Give this order to the priests who carry the Ark of the Covenant : As soon as you come to the banks of the Jordan, stand still in the river.”

And Joshua said to the Israelites : “Come nearer and listen to the words of YHVH, our God. Do you want a sign that YHVH, the living God, is in your midst? See, the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord of all the earth is going to cross the Jordan before you. When the priests who carry the Ark of the Lord of all the earth put their feet into the water of the Jordan, the water coming from the upstream shall stop flowing and stand in one single mass.”

When the people set out from their camp to cross the Jordan, the priests who carried the Ark of the Covenant went before them. There was much water in the Jordan, for it was overflowing its banks at this time of the barley harvest. Nevertheless, when those who carried the Ark went down to the river and their feet touched the edge of the water, the water from upstream stopped flowing.

The water stood still, forming something like a dam very far from that place, near Adam, the neighbouring city of Zarethan. The water flowing down to the Dead Sea was completely cut off, and so the people could cross opposite Jericho. The priests who carried the Ark of the Covenant remained in the middle of the river which dried up, until all the Israelites had crossed the Jordan.

Wednesday, 11 August 2021 : 19th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Clare, Virgin (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are all called to remember our duties as Christians, to be wholeheartedly faithful to the Lord in all things. We are all called to be genuine in our faith and devotion to God, and to seek harmony and peace among us all, as members of the same Body of Christ, the Church of God.

In our first reading today we heard the account of the passing of Moses, God’s most faithful servant who was sent to the people of Israel in order to lead them out from the land of Egypt and into the land of their ancestors, the lands promised to them as the descendants of Jacob, or Israel. Moses had faithfully led the people of Israel for the entire forty years of their Exodus through the desert, enduring much sorrow and sufferings from all the stubbornness and rebelliousness of the Israelites, who repeatedly disobeyed the Lord again and again.

It was Moses who repeatedly brought peace and reconciliation to the people of God, calling on them to turn away from their sins and wickedness, to abandon their rebelliousness and stubborn attitude, and be reconciled with God, their loving Lord and Master. Moses pleaded before God not just once, but many times, to spare the Israelites when their waywardness led them to abandon the Lord and committed sins and evil deeds in God’s sight.

Moses made peace between God and His people, and exhorted the people to remain faithful to the Lord, and to be committed to the Law and the commandments of God. He reminded the people, both young and old, of the need to obey and trust in the Lord, and this is the same reminder that the Lord then told to all the people as we heard it in our Gospel passage today, when the Lord told all of them to seek peace with one another and then with God, to be reconciled in love and peace, to be forgiven their sins and trespasses.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Lord, we are all called to contemplate on our lives and our attitudes, on whether we have truly been faithful to Him all these while. Have we lived our lives in disobedience against God by our refusal to follow His Law and commandments? Have we allowed the temptations of our desires and the allures of worldly pleasures to misguide and mislead us down the wrong path in life, as they had done to the Israelites?

That is why today we are all called to reflect on all these, and think of how we can better live our lives that we may truly be faithful to the Lord in all things and at all times as we should. And perhaps we should also model ourselves on the inspiration and examples of the saints, one of whom whose feast day we celebrate today is a great example to follow. St. Clare of Assisi was a renowned saint and devout servant of God, who committed herself and her life thoroughly to a life dedicated to God.

At that time, St. Clare was one of the first followers of St. Francis of Assisi, as a member of the associates of the Franciscans, as she founded the Order of Poor Ladies, the female counterpart of the Franciscan order established by St. Francis of Assisi, committed to the same principles and ideals of St. Francis, and dedicating themselves to the Lord and leading a holy and virtuous life. St. Clare has been pious since early in her life, and when she gave herself fully to the Lord, she had no hesitation, embracing together with other women, a life of poverty and charity, and dedication to God.

St. Clare then became the Abbess of the monastery of San Damiano, in charge of the other religious sisters who have committed themselves to the life and the way of St. Francis. She showed exemplary leadership and faith, and inspired her fellow sisters and others by her dedication to God. And in a miraculous event often remembered about her, St. Clare defended her monastery through the Blessed Sacrament when a rogue army of the Holy Roman Emperor attacked the town of Assisi and the convent where St. Clare lived in. She prayed before the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, and as the soldiers came in, she lifted the Blessed Sacrament up, and it was told that great light came forth, blinding and making the soldiers to flee in fear.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, having listened to the story of St. Clare, all of us should learn to commit ourselves to the Lord in the same manner as well. We are all called to follow the Lord wholeheartedly, and we should turn towards Him with genuine faith and dedication, from now on. Let us all seek the Lord with ever greater zeal and desire to love Him and to serve Him to the best of our abilities. And may the Lord bless us all and keep us in His love, and may He guide us through the challenges and persevere through this journey of our faith in life. Amen.