Wednesday, 8 June 2022 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 5 : 17-19

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Do not think that I have come to annul the Law and the Prophets. I have not come to annul them but to fulfil them. I tell you this : as long as heaven and earth last, not the smallest letter or dot in the Law will change until all is fulfilled.”

Wednesday, 8 June 2022 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 15 : 1-2a, 4, 5 and 8, 11

Keep me safe, o God, for in You I take refuge. I say to YHVH, “You are my Lord.”

Those who run after foreign gods only have their sorrows multiplied.

Let me not shed blood for them, nor their names be heard on my lips.

O YHVH, my inheritance and my cup, my chosen portion – hold secure my lot. I keep YHVH always before me; for with Him at my right hand, I will never be shaken.

You will show me the path of life, in Your presence, the fullness of joy, at Your right hand, happiness forever.

Wednesday, 8 June 2022 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Kings 18 : 20-39

So Ahab sent for all the people of Israel and gathered the prophets at Mount Carmel. Then Elijah addressed the people and asked, “How long will you follow two ways at the same time? If YHVH is God, follow Him; but if Baal is God then follow him.” The people remained silent.

So Elijah continued, “I am the only prophet of YHVH left here to face Baal’s four hundred and fifty prophets. Get us two bulls. Let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it into pieces and lay it on the wood; and I will do the same with the other bull. But we will not set it on fire. Then you shall call on the name of your gods while I shall call on the Name of YHVH. The God Who answers with fire is the true one.” Then the people answered, “That is right.”

Then Elijah told the prophets of Baal, “Choose for yourselves one bull and prepare it first, for you are many. Then call on the name of your god lest you are left without fire!” So they took the bull and prepared it, and they called on the name of Baal, “Baal, answer us!” But there was no voice; and no one answered them while they went on, dancing on one foot around the altar they had built.

By noontime, Elijah began to mock them, “Shout out louder. Baal is a busy god; or he may have gone out, or perhaps he has gone on a trip, or he is sleeping and must be wakened.” So they shouted louder gashing their skin with knives, as they are used to doing, until they bled. It was already past noon and they were still raving on, until the time of the evening offering. But still there was no voice. No one answered or gave a sign of life.

Then Elijah said to the people, “Draw closer to me,” and the people drew closer to him. He then repaired the altar of YHVH which had been thrown down. He took twelve stones corresponding to the number of tribes of the sons of Jacob whom YHVH had addressed saying, “Israel shall be your name.” With these stones, he built an altar to the Name of YHVH; and dug a trench around it that would contain about thirty litres.

He then arranged the firewood, cut the bull in pieces and laid them on the wood. Then, he said, “Fill four jars with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the firewood.” He said, “Do it again;” and they did it again; “one more time,” and they did it a third time. The water ran around the altar and filled the trench.

When the time of the evening offering came, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O YHVH, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that You are God in Israel; and that I am Your servant, doing all these things at Your command. Answer me, o YHVH, answer me so that this people may know that You, o YHVH, are God; and that You are turning back their hearts to You.”

Then the fire of YHVH fell and consumed the burnt offering, together with the wood, the stones also, and the dust; the water also dried up in the trench. All the people witnessed this. Then they fell on their faces and said, “YHVH is God! YHVH is God!”

Tuesday, 7 June 2022 : 10th 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 Scriptures, we are all reminded that we are called to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world, that is to be good and active in living our lives as Christians, such that we may inspire one another and even more people to be faithful to God and to follow Him just as we have followed and loved Him as Christians, those who believe in God and accept Him as our Lord and Saviour. We are all called to reach out to those who have not yet known the Lord and touch their lives much as how our predecessors had done, as we heard from our Scriptures today.

In our first reading today, we heard the story of the prophet Elijah when he came to the region of Zarephath beyond the land of the Israelites, during the time of a great drought and famine that affected not just the land of Israel but also the surrounding regions. Elijah went to Zarephath and he met a widow whom the Lord had told him earlier on that she would provide him with food. The famine was of such great intensity that many must have perished without food and provisions, or from lack of water and other needs. The widow herself suffered, and she and her only son had almost nothing left on them, save for a little bit of flour and oil that were enough only for themselves as one last meal.

The prophet Elijah came to the widow and asked of some food from her, and while the widow hesitated due to her own predicaments, Elijah reassured her and comforted her with God’s love and providence, that if she did everything in accordance with God’s will, all would be taken care of, and as per the Lord’s words, her supply of flour and oil would not run out until the drought and famine ended. The widow hence took the flour and oil and made food for the prophet, and miraculously her supply of flour and oil continued to flow and did not stop as long as the famine and drought continued, as God provided her and her family, as well as Elijah, by His kindness and compassionate care.

In our Gospel passage today, as I mentioned earlier on, we heard of the Lord calling on His disciples to become the salt of the earth and the light of the world, and that they must truly have that flavour of the salt and not hide their light, for salt that had lost its saltiness and light that is not placed on a lampstand or hidden truly have no meaning and use at all. As the Lord’s disciples and followers, each and every one of us are called to be these same salt of the earth and the light of the world. We may not understand fully the reason why the Lord called us to be such unless we understand the context of these two very important commodities.

First of all, we live at a time when salt and light are no longer difficult to come by, and where salt and light are in such great abundance that we tend to dismiss them as trivial things and matter. But at the time of the Lord and His ministry, as it was for most of our human history, salt and light were extremely important commodities and I could not highlight or emphasise any less just how important and crucial they were to many people and communities. For salt was used in the preservation of food at the time when refrigeration and other methods of preservation were still non-existent. Salt was used in flavouring food that would have otherwise been bland and tasteless, and it was also used for the preservation of the bodies of the dead and many other purposes.

Not only that salt was very useful but as compared to the present day, the process of extraction and obtaining of salt was really time consuming and labour intensive, and hence, salt was a truly important and even expensive commodity back then, so much so that many countries imposed taxes and monopolised salt production to ensure the happiness and well-being of their people. When the Lord called on all of us to be the salt of the earth, He truly called on us to be full of this flavour of faith, to be precious to Him, and to be exemplary in our way of life, actions, words and deeds such that in everything we have, we will be great inspiration for others who witness us and our actions.

Then regarding light, in a world today where light is in abundance, due to the prevalence of electricity and electric-based lighting all over the world, we may not see the significance and importance of light. However, back then, light was supremely important just as salt was. Back when electricity was still non-existent, at night time when the Sun had set, except for the light from the Moon and the stars, darkness would have completely engulfed the whole land, and no one would have been able to see things clearly, unlike the often light-saturated streets and homes that we are familiar with today. Back then, many wild animals and other dangers lurked around in the darkness, and people truly treasured light wherever and whenever they could get hold of it, be it light from candles, torches, or any other natural sources of light present around them.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, hence when the Lord called on us all to be the light of the world, we are all called to be that source of inspiration, strength and hope for others who are still lost and searching for the way forward in the darkness. We are the beacons of God’s light and the bearers of His Good News, the Good News and hope that will illuminate the path of those who are still in the darkness of the world, and also strengthen and invigorate those who have not yet tasted and known the goodness of the Lord, His love, kindness and compassion. That is why the Lord called and challenged us to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us hence dedicate ourselves anew to the Lord and do whatever we can to glorify Him and to proclaim Him to our fellow brethren to the best of our abilities. Let us all inspire our fellow brothers and sisters, more and more people that they may also come to believe in the Lord just like we do. Let us always seek the Lord with a most loving heart, desiring to do our best to serve Him and to follow Him in each and every moments of our lives. May the Lord be with us always as well, and continue to strengthen each one of us in our faith. Amen.