Thursday, 19 August 2021 : 20th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John Eudes, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Matthew 22 : 1-14

At that time, Jesus continued speaking to the people in parables : “This story throws light on the kingdom of heaven : A king gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to call the invited guests to the banquet, but the guests refused to come.”

“Again, He sent other servants, instructing them to say to the invited guests, ‘I have prepared a banquet, slaughtered my fattened calves and other animals, and now, everything is ready. Come to the wedding!’ But they paid no attention and went away, some to their farms, and some to their work. Others seized the servants of the king, insulted them and killed them.”

“The king was furious. He sent his troops to destroy those murderers and burn their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is prepared, but the invited guests were not worthy. Go instead to the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding feast.'”

“The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, good and bad alike, so that the hall was filled with guests. The king came in to see the wedding guests, and he noticed a man not wearing a wedding garment. So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in without the wedding clothes?'”

“But the man remained silent. So the king said to his servants, ‘Bind his hands and feet and throw him into the outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Thursday, 19 August 2021 : 20th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John Eudes, Priest (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Psalm 39 : 5, 7-8a, 8b-9, 10

Blessed is the one who relies on YHVH and does not look to the proud, nor go astray after false gods.

Sacrifice and oblation You did not desire; this, You had me understand. Burnt offering and sin offering You do not require. Then I said, “Here I come!”

“As the scroll says of me. To do Your will is my delight, o God, for Your Law is within my heart.”

In the great assembly I have proclaimed Your saving help. My lips, o YHVH, I did not seal – You know that very well.

Thursday, 19 August 2021 : 20th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John Eudes, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Judges 11 : 29-39a

The Spirit of YHVH came upon Jephthah. He went through Gilead and Manasseh, passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and then entered the territory of the Ammonites.

Jephthah made a vow to YHVH : “If You make me victorious, I shall sacrifice to You whoever first comes out of my house to meet me when I return from battle. He shall be for YHVH and I shall offer him up through the fire.”

Jephthah crossed the territory of the Ammonites to fight against them, and YHVH gave him victory. He pursued them from the city of Aroer to the entrance of Minnith and Abel Keramim, seizing twenty towns. So he defeated the Ammonites.

When Jephthah returned home to Mizpah, his daughter came out to meet him. She was so happy to see her father that she danced to the sound of her tambourine. She was an only child; besides her he had no other daughter or son. When Jephthah saw her, he tore his clothes and cried out, “My daughter, you have shattered me; you have brought me misfortune. For I have made a foolish vow to YHVH. And now I cannot take it back.”

She answered him, “Father, even if you have made such a foolish vow, you have to do to me just as you promised, for YHVH has avenged you and crushed your enemies. I only beg of you to give me two months to live with my companions in the mountains. There I shall lament because I will never marry.”

Jephthah said to her, “Go then.” And he sent her away for two months. She and her companions went to the mountains and wept because she would never marry. At the end of two months, she returned to her father and he fulfilled the vow he had made.

Wednesday, 18 August 2021 : 20th 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 Scripture, we are reminded that God has called on all of us to follow Him and be His disciples, as we heard in our Gospel passage today how the Lord used a parable to highlight this fact to all of us and all of His disciples at that time. He used the parable to explain His intentions to them, to make known to them that God called all men and women alike, all to follow Him to do His will.

How is that so, brothers and sisters in Christ? Let us all discern carefully the parable which we ourselves have heard, and remind ourselves of the need for us to answer the Lord’s call, to heed His words and to follow Him. The owner of the vineyard in the parable is none other than the Lord, Who called on all the people in the streets and in the backyards, namely all of us, to work in His vineyard.

That the owner of the vineyard came out and sought people to work in his vineyard from time to time, even to the very last hour is a reminder of the great patience and love by which God sought us out, from time to time, again and again, to the very end. God had called on us all to rescue us and to bring us forth into the light. He has called on us all to follow Him to His kingdom, to be His followers and disciples.

And many thus came to answer the call of the owner of the vineyard, just as many of us responded to God’s call and followed Him. Some of us answered His call earlier and some others yet answered His call later on. And indeed, there are some who never answers His call at all, those who rejected the Lord and continued to live in sin, and perish in those sins all the same. But among those of us who have responded to God’s call and become His followers, what we heard today is something important for us to discern.

In the parable, when those workers had finished their work and gained their reward, those who came earlier scoffed and were unhappy that they received the same reward and remuneration as those who came in as late as the last hour. But then, the owner of the vineyard said to them that he had agreed with them to have that amount of pay, the reward which had been promised and then thereafter paid to all the workers at the end of their labour.

What does this mean, brothers and sisters in Christ? It means that our lives and faithful labours through life all will end with the promise of eternal glory and true joy with God, and all of us shall receive the same reward come the end, and it does not mean that the earlier we came to respond to God’s call and be saved that we merit greater honour, reward or glory. All of us shall share the same joy that each and every one of us have been promised by God, without exception.

That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, we must be careful lest we may be tempted by the desire for glory, honour, fame and accolades, for praise and adulation which can mislead us and misguide us down the path of elitism, exclusivism and the refusal to embrace our fellow brethren in faith, and we end up being no better than those like the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law who looked and thought highly of themselves while looking down on others whom they deemed to be inferior and less worthy than they were.

This is an attitude that we should not have, and instead of being proud and haughty, or in seeking for our own salvation and benefits, we should be concerned about each others’ well-being, and learn to show care and concern to one another. That is why the Lord called on all of us to follow Him wholeheartedly and for the right reasons, that is not because of personal ambitions and desires. Unless we understand this truth, we will end up doing things in the wrong way. As Christians, we should put God first and foremost in all things, and not to bargain our faith in seeking rewards and pleasures in life.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore seek the Lord with renewed faith and do our very best to serve Him wholeheartedly from now on. Let us all be exemplary in our actions and way of life, so that each and every one of us may inspire one another and help each other in the journey towards the Lord, in the labour of faith in this world, our Lord’s vineyard, that by our endeavours bearing rich product of fruits, we may receive grace and new life in God. May God be with us always, and may He bless us all in our every efforts and endeavours, now and always. Amen.