Friday, 8 July 2022 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 10 : 16-23

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Look, I send you out like sheep among wolves. You must be as clever as snakes and as innocent as doves. Be on your guard with people, for they will hand you over to their courts, and they will flog you in their synagogues. You will be brought to trial before rulers and kings because of Me, so that you may witness to them and the pagans.”

“But when you are arrested, do not worry about what you are to say, or how you are to say it; when the hour comes, you will be given what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father, speaking through you.”

“Brother will hand over his brother to death, and a father his child; children will turn against their parents and have them put to death. Everyone will hate you because of Me, but whoever stands firm to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next. I tell you the truth, you will not have passed through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.”

Friday, 8 July 2022 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 50 : 3-4, 8-9, 12-13, 14 and 17

Have mercy on me, o God, in Your love. In Your great compassion blot out my sin. Wash me thoroughly of my guilt; cleanse me of evil.

I know You desire truth in the heart; teach me wisdom in my inmost being. Cleanse me, with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, I shall be whiter than snow.

Create in me, o God, a pure heart; give me a new and steadfast spirit. Do not cast me out of Your presence nor take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Give me again the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. O Lord, open my lips, and I will declare Your praise.

Friday, 8 July 2022 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Hosea 14 : 2-10

Return to your God YHVH, o Israel! Your sins have caused your downfall. Return to YHVH with humble words. Say to Him, “Oh You Who show compassion to the fatherless forgive our debt, be appeased. Instead of bulls and sacrifices, accept the praise from our lips. Assyria will not save us : no longer shall we look for horses nor ever again shall we say ‘Our gods’ to the work of our hands.”

I will heal their wavering and love them with all My heart for My anger has turned from them. I shall be like dew to Israel like the lily will he blossom. Like a cedar he will send down his roots; his young shoots will grow and spread. His splendour will be like an olive tree. His fragrance, like a Lebanon cedar.

They will dwell in My shade again, they will flourish like the grain, they will blossom like a vine, and their fame will be like Lebanon wine. What would Ephraim do with idols, when it is I Who hear and make him prosper? I am like an ever-green cypress tree; all your fruitfulness comes from Me.

Who is wise enough to grasp all this? Who is discerning and will understand? Straight are the ways of YHVH : the just walk in them, but the sinners stumble.

Thursday, 7 July 2022 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we all heard from the readings of the Scriptures the words of the Lord proclaiming yet again His love and generous compassion for each and every one of us. The Lord has shown us His generosity and kindness, even though we have often sinned against Him, disobeyed Him and refusing to listen to Him. He still loves us no matter what, but at the same time, is calling us to turn away from our path of sin and evil, and to embrace once again His ways, to return to Him with contrite heart filled with love for Him.

In our first reading today, we heard from the prophet Hosea, the words of the Lord reassuring His people of the love that He has always had for them, and how He would continue to love them and provide for them, as He had done in the past even though they had disobeyed and transgressed against Him. God highlighted the sins and wickedness that the people had done, in worshipping the pagan gods and idols, in persecuting the prophets and servants whom the Lord had sent to their midst to remind them and to guide them back to the right path. Despite all these, God still loved them and desired for them to be reconciled with Him.

However, as I mentioned earlier, the people’s sins and transgressions still had to be addressed and resolved. They could not continue to remain in sin, and as long as they still stubbornly remained on their path, they would have to suffer the consequences. If we remember what the prophet Hosea spoke in the other occasions throughout this week’s passages, in other parts of his book, then we should also remember that God also told His people of the consequences of their continued sins and transgressions, that they would be uprooted from the lands of their ancestors, their cities destroyed and them scattered throughout the nations.

Through what we have heard in our first reading today, we can see that God is indeed like a Father to all of us, His people. As as our Father, He certainly loves us all, just as He showed the Israelites through the words of the prophet Hosea and the actions He had done for their ancestors in the past. But at the same time, as a Father Who truly loves His children, He also does not want any of us His children to fall into the wrong path. Hence, as any fathers should rightly do, at times, there is a need for us to be disciplined and to understand and feel, to experience the consequences for our mistakes.

And God did not do so because He hated us. Instead, it was exactly because of that love He has for us that He has reached out to us with that same love. He loves us such that He wants us all to learn that in order for us to be truly worthy to be called His children and His people, then each and every one of us must do what we can, in our respective areas and capacities, in whatever callings and vocations we have in life, to be active in living up to our faith, and be exemplary in our every words, actions and deeds, in our interactions with one another so that everyone can indeed recognise God being present through us.

That is why all of us are called as we heard in our Gospel passage today, to be His faithful disciples and witnesses, like the ones whom the Lord Jesus Himself sent out before Him, to go forth to the many places that He Himself was to visit, and others, so that they might proclaim the Good News of truth to more and more of the people who have not yet known them. The Lord called on those disciples to do His will, and they went forth, dedicating themselves to their ministry. In the same manner, all of us are also called by God in the same way, to turn our backs against our old ways of sin, and to embrace wholeheartedly His path and righteousness.

The Lord has called on us all, His children and His people to follow Him and to reach out to others who have not yet known Him. And the best way for us to do it, is by living our lives faithfully to the best way we can do it. We have to lead good examples so that we may become inspiration for all others whom we encounter in life, or else, if we do not do so, or worse still, doing things that are contrary to our faith, then we may end up turning people away from God and preventing them from finding their way towards God’s salvation and grace.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore strive to live good Christian lives from now on. Let us all no longer be swayed easily by the corruptions of sin, and by the many temptations of worldly desires. May God help us and strengthen us so that each and every one of us may draw ever closer to Him, and we may grow ever stronger in our faith, now and always, evermore. Amen.