Wednesday, 18 August 2021 : 20th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 20 : 1-16a

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “This story throws light on the kingdom of heaven : A landowner went out early in the morning, to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay each worker the usual daily wage, and sent them to his vineyard.”

“He went out again, at about nine in the morning, and, seeing others idle in the town square, he said to them, ‘You also, go to my vineyard, and I will pay you what is just.’ So they went. The owner went out at midday, and, again, at three in the afternoon, and he made the same offer.”

“Again he went out, at the last working hour – the eleventh – and he saw others standing around. So he said to them, ‘Why do you stand idle the whole day?’ They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ The master said, ‘Go, and work in my vineyard.'”

“When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wage, beginning with the last and ending with the first.’ Those who had gone to work at the eleventh hour came up, and were each given a silver coin. When it was the turn of the first, they thought they would receive more. But they, too, received one silver coin. On receiving it, they began to grumble against the landowner.”

“They said, ‘These last, hardly worked an hour; yet, you have treated them the same as us, who have endured the heavy work of the day and the heat.’ The owner said to one of them, ‘Friend, I have not been unjust to you. Did we not agree on one silver coin per day? So take what is yours and go. I want to give to the last the same as I give to you. Do I not have the right to do as I please with what is mine? Why are you envious when I am kind?'”

“So will it be : the last will be first.”

Wednesday, 18 August 2021 : 20th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 20 : 2-3, 4-5, 6-7

The king rejoices in Your strength, o YHVH, and exults in Your saving help. You have granted him his desire; You have not rejected his request.

You have come to him with rich blessings; You have placed a golden crown upon his head. When he asked, You gave him life – length of days forever and ever.

He glories in the victory You gave him; You shall bestow on him splendour and majesty. You have given him eternal blessings, and gladdened him with the joy of Your presence.

Wednesday, 18 August 2021 : 20th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Judges 9 : 6-15

Then all the lords of Shechem and the whole council assembled together by the oak of the pillar in Shechem, and proclaimed Abimelech king. When Jotham was told about this, he went to the top of Mount Gerizim. There he cried out to them, “Listen to me, lords of Shechem, that God may listen to you!”

“The trees once set out to find and anoint a king. They said to the olive tree, ‘Be our king.’ The olive tree answered, ‘Am I going to renounce the oil by which – thanks to me – gods and people are honoured, to hold sway over the trees?'”

“The trees said to the fig tree : ‘Come and reign over us.’ The fig tree answered them, ‘Am I going to renounce my sweetness and my delicious fruit, to hold sway over the trees?'”

“The trees said to the vine : ‘Come and reign over us.’ The vine answered, ‘Am I going to renounce my juice which cheers gods and people to sway over the trees?'”

“Then the trees said to the bramble bush : ‘Come, reign over us.’ The bramble bush answered the trees, ‘If you come in sincerity to anoint me as your king, then come near and take shelter in my shade; but if not, let fire break out of the bramble bush to devour even the cedars of Lebanon.'”

Tuesday, 17 August 2021 : 20th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listened to the words of the Scripture detailing to us the calling of Gideon, one of the Judges of Israel, as the Lord called him to lead His people against the tyranny and rule of the Midianites. God called Gideon and he accepted God’s call, becoming a great Judge who led the Israelites to freedom. Meanwhile, in our Gospel passage today, we heard of how the Lord told His disciples that entering into His kingdom will not be an easy task, while reassuring them that those who had given themselves to His cause and dedicated themselves to Him shall not be disappointed.

In our first reading, as we heard of God’s calling to Gideon, at that time, the people of Israel had long been under the repeated attacks and tyranny by their neighbouring peoples, one of which being the Midianites. While the Israelites were likely to be more numerous and powerful, but it was their lack of faith in God and divisions that existed among them which led to their misery and troubles. God raised several servants to be the leaders of His people, to free them from the tyranny of their neighbours, all these despite their repeated infidelities and wicked behaviours. For God still loved His people after all.

Gideon initially hesitated and doubted, lamenting why they had to suffer under the regime of the Midianites if they had truly been beloved by God, who according to their ancestors had led the latter to leave their enslavement in Egypt, providing for them and caring for them all throughout their journey. But the Lord revealed to Gideon what He was about to do, through him, in saving the Israelites, even if Gideon came from the humblest of origins. God called him to follow His path, and after having seen God’s proof through His Angel, Gideon dedicated himself fully to the Lord, leading the Israelites to freedom from the Midianites.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard from it about how the Lord reminded the people and His disciples that following Him was going to be tough and challenging, and they would encounter persecutions and difficulties due to the opposition from the world and from all those who refused to believe in the Lord and His truth. St. Peter then represented the disciples in saying how they had given up everything in order to follow Him and then wondered what would it be in there for them in following the Lord.

The Lord then quickly reassured all of them that those who had wholeheartedly given themselves to Him, in responding to His call much like that of Gideon and the Judges, the prophets and many other faithful ones of God, all would receive just rewards in the end, and their glory and joy would be complete, for the Lord knows and remembers everything, and all who hold fast to their faith in Him, all will receive justification and grace, and be counted among the saints.

All these that we have heard today are therefore reminders for us, brothers and sisters in Christ, that each and every one of us as Christians have the solemn duty to remain faithful and to commit ourselves to the Lord in each and every moments of our lives. The question is, are we willing to answer God’s call and embrace His will and His commandments? And are we willing to make the effort to follow the Lord and to be faithful and good witnesses of His truth? Many of us have yet to respond to God’s call and many are still ignorant of our Christian duties and obligations.

Let us spend some time to reflect on this, brothers and sisters in Christ. Let us all consider what each and every one of us can do in order to be part of the Lord’s call to mission, and to be active in the Church’s outreach to the world. And we do not have to do massive or ambitious things, brothers and sisters. On the contrary, we should begin even from the smallest things, from our own families and our own interactions with one another, in every ordinary things and actions through life.

We are all called to be exemplary in our way of life, even to the simplest and smallest things that we may inspire many more people to follow the Lord and to believe and put their faith in Him. May the Lord be with us all, that we may persevere courageously in faith from now on, that in all things and at all times, we may always strive to be faithful and grow ever closer to the Lord. May God bless us all in our endeavours and efforts, now and always. Amen.