Saturday, 18 June 2022 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Matthew 6 : 24-34

At that time, Jesus said to the people, “No one can serve two masters, for he will either hate one and love the other; or he will be loyal to the first and look down on the second. You cannot, at the same time, serve God and money.”

Therefore, I tell you, not to be worried about food and drink for yourself, or about clothes for your body. Is not life more important than food; and is not the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow, they do not harvest, and do not store food in barns; and yet, your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not more worthy than they are?”

“Can any of you add a day to your life by worrying about it? Why are you so worried about your clothes? Look at how the flowers in the fields grow. They do not toil or spin. But I tell you, that not even Solomon, in all his glory, was clothed like one of these. If God so clothes the grass in the field, which blooms today and is to be burnt in an oven tomorrow, how much more will He clothe you? What little faith you have!”

“Do not worry, and say : What are we going to eat? What are we going to drink? or : What shall we wear? The pagans busy themselves with such things; but your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. Set your heart, first, on the kingdom and righteousness of God; and all these things will also be given to you. Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Saturday, 18 June 2022 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Psalm 88 : 4-5, 29-30, 31-32, 33-34

I have made a Covenant with David, My chosen one; I have made a pledge to My servant. I establish his descendants forever; I build his throne for all generations.

I will keep My Covenant firm forever, and My love for him will endure. His dynasty will last forever; and his throne, as long as the heavens.

If his sons forsake My law and fail to follow My decrees, if they violate My statutes and do not keep My commandments.

I will punish their crime with the rod, and their offences, with the scourge; yet, I will not withdraw My love from him, nor will I withdraw My faithfulness.

Saturday, 18 June 2022 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

2 Chronicles 24 : 17-25

After the death of Jehoiada, the officials of Judah came to pay court to the king, and the king now turned to them for advice. The Judaeans abandoned the house of YHVH, the God of their ancestors, and worshipped the Asherah poles and idols. Because of this sinful activity, God was angry with Judah and Jerusalem. He sent them prophets to bring them back to YHVH, but when the prophets spoke, they would not listen.

The Spirit of God took control of Zechariah, son of Jehoiada the priest. He stood up before the people and said, “God says this : Why are you disobeying the commandments of YHVH? You cannot prosper. You have abandoned YHVH and He will abandon you.”

They then plotted against him and, by order of the king, stoned him in the court of YHVH’s house. King Joash forgot the kindness of Jehoiada, the father of Zechariah, and killed Jehoiada’s son who cried out as he died, “Let YHVH see and do justice!” When a year had gone by, the Aramaean army made war on Joash. They reached Judah and Jerusalem, and killed all the officials among the people, sending back to the king of Damascus all that they had plundered from them.

Though the Aramaean army was small, YHVH delivered into its power an army of great size, for they had abandoned Him, the God of their ancestors. The Aramaeans wounded Joash and when they withdrew they left him a very sick man; and his officers, plotting against him to avenge the death of the son of Jehoiada the priest, murdered him in his bed. So he died, and they buried him in the city of David, though not in the tombs of the king.

Friday, 17 June 2022 : 11th 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 to seek the true treasures of our lives, that we cannot find in the world, but in the Lord alone. Through our Scripture passages today, we are reminded that each one of us are called to be righteous and just, and to be good disciples and followers of our Lord, in all the things we say and do in life. We should learn from the past examples highlighted in the Scriptures that we may learn more about how not to live our lives in a sinful manner.

In our first reading today, taken from the Second Book of Kings, we heard of the story of the usurpation of queen Athaliah of Judah, who seized power unlawfully from the House of David, after her son, king Ahaziah of Judah was killed by the actions of Jehu, the one that God had appointed to be king over Israel. The death of Ahaziah prompted Athaliah to attempt seizing power for herself, and she initiated a great purge and elimination of all the heirs of Ahaziah and his relatives, so that she could secure herself in her position of power as the reigning queen of Judah.

However, God intervened and helped the House of David from extermination as He Himself had promised to David that his house would endure and would sit on the throne of Israel forever. He rescued the son of Ahaziah, Joash, who was then hidden with the help of Ahaziah’s sister, from the sight and knowledge of queen Athaliah. Athaliah was likely driven by greed and desire for power, which became her undoing as she committed great sins of murder and others in order to secure for herself the rulership and dominion over the kingdom of Judah.

That was what eventually led to her downfall, as Athaliah ruled Judah illegally and unlawfully, and continuing to promote the pagan worship of Baal and other idols. The time of reckoning and retribution finally came upon Athaliah when the forces loyal to the House of David, including the High Priest, Jehoiada, launched a counter-coup to restore Joash, the descendant and heir of David to his rightful throne. Athaliah was deposed and later on was executed, a justified end to her unlawful rule and the consequence of her crimes.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard of the Lord Jesus speaking to His disciples with regards to finding the treasures that are not of this world. He told them all not to seek the treasures of this world, but to seek rather the true treasures that can be found in the Lord alone. The Lord told His disciples not to seek and store up treasures of this world that can be destroyed by earthly means, and do not last. Instead, the true heavenly treasures that He wanted them all to seek, last for an eternity, and one that will not be lost from them, for those treasures will always be theirs, by God’s assurance.

This is related to what we heard in our first reading today. The example of what happened to Athaliah, her usurpation, reign and ultimate end are reminders for us not to be swayed and blinded by the pursuits for worldly glory and power. It was her greed and desire for power and glory that led her to her ultimate undoing, and those had also led her to committing sins and wicked deeds, in murdering the innocent children of the House of David. Her desire for power blinded her to reason and made her to be paranoid and afraid of losing her influence and hold onto the matters of the world, which led her to the heinous acts.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is also a reminder for each one of us that we have to be vigilant against the temptations of our desires, of the many vices and other things that can lead us away from the Lord and His path. These temptations are plenty all around us, and if we are not careful, we may end up being dragged in ever deeper and deeper into the path of darkness and sin, like what Athaliah and many others of our predecessors had experienced. The Lord had reminded us of all these, so that by these reminders we may be more vigilant and have the opportunity to turn away from the often steep and slippery path of sin and darkness. The Lord wants us all to live according to what He had taught us to do, and not in following the whims of our desires and wants.

May the Lord continue to guide us and strengthen us throughout our journey in life, so that we may always be faithful to Him, and that we may also be willing to lead a more Christian life, in obedience to God and His path, and distance ourselves from those things that may lead us down the path of sin and evil. May God empower us all with His Holy Spirit, and the ability to discern with wisdom, the right path in life, and help one another to come to the presence of God with faith. May God bless us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

Friday, 17 June 2022 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 6 : 19-23

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples and to the people, “Do not store up treasures for yourself here, on earth, where moth and rust destroy it; and where thieves can steal it. Store up treasures for yourself with God, where no moth or rust can destroy it, nor thief come and steal it.

For where your treasures are, there, also, will your heart be. The lamp of the body is the eye; if your eyes are sound, your whole body will be full of light. If your eyes are diseased, your whole body will be full of darkness. If, then, the light in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

Friday, 17 June 2022 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 131 : 11, 12, 13-14, 17-18

YHVH swore to David a promise, and He will remain true to it : “I will keep your descendants on your throne.”

“If your sons keep My Covenant and the decrees I have taught them; their sons, too, will sit forever upon your throne.”

For YHVH has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His dwelling : “This is My resting place forever; this I prefer; here, will I dwell.”

From here, a Saviour shall come forth, a Son of David; here, shall shine forever, the lamp of My Anointed. In shame will I clothe His enemies, but upon His head a crown shall shine.

Friday, 17 June 2022 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

2 Kings 11 : 1-4, 9-18, 20

When Athaliah, the mother of Ahaziah, saw that her son had died, she was determined to wipe out all the descendants of the king. But Jehosheba, the daughter of king Joram and sister of Ahaziah, took Joash, her nephew, and brought him away from among the king’s sons who were about to be killed, and put him with his wet nurse in the bedroom.

Thus she hid him from Athaliah, so that the boy was saved. And Joash remained hidden in the house of YHVH for six years while Athaliah reigned over the land. In the seventh year, Jehoiada the chief priest, summoned the officers of the royal guard and of the Carites to the house of YHVH. After concluding a pact with them under oath, he showed them the king’s son.

The commanders of the guards did what Jehoiada the priest had told them to do; and they showed up with all their men, those who were to go off duty on the Sabbath as well as those who were to come on duty on that day. Jehoiada entrusted to the officers the spears and shields of king David which were in the house of YHVH. And then the guards stood from the southern corner of the house to the north, surrounding the altar and the house of YHVH.

Then Jehoiada, the priest, brought out the king’s son, crowned him and put the bracelets on him, then proclaimed and consecrated him king. All clapped their hands, shouting and crying out, “Long live the king!” When Athaliah heard the noise of the people, she approached the crowd surrounding the house of YHVH.

The king was standing by the pillar, according to the custom, and the officers and the trumpeters were with him. The people were filled with joy and they were blowing trumpets. On seeing this, Athaliah tore her clothes and cried out, “Treason, treason!”

Jehoiada the priest commanded the officers, “Surround her and bring her out to the courtyard, and kill anyone who tries to defend her.” He gave this order, because he thought, “She should not die in the house of YHVH.” They brought her out, and when they reached the palace of the king, by the horses’ entrance, there, they killed her.

Jehoiada made a Covenant between YHVH and the king and the people so they would be the people of YHVH. All the citizens went to the temple of Baal and destroyed it. They broke the altars and the images into pieces, and killed Mattan, the priest of Baal, before his altar. Then Jehoiada, the priest, posted guards over the house of YHVH.

All the citizens were happy and the city was at peace. Now regarding Athaliah, she had died by the sword in the king’s palace.