Monday, 18 July 2022 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, as we listened to the words of the Scriptures today, we are reminded of the great issue that is facing many of us, God’s people in this world, and that is the issue of faithlessness, infidelity and the general lack of faith and commitment that many of us have exhibited and shown in our lives. Many of us have not truly believed in the Lord wholeheartedly, and many among us are lukewarm in our faith life, not living our lives in the manner that we are expected to live them as active and committed Christians. Instead of following God and His path, we chose to follow our own paths.

In our first reading today, we heard from the prophet Micah speaking the words of God to His people, who was ministering to the people of the southern kingdom of Judah during its later years of its existence. The prophet Micah brought the words of the Lord to His people, who have often disobeyed Him, erred in their ways and chose to worship the pagan idols and gods, persecuting His prophets and messengers sent to them to remind them of their wicked ways. Hence, Micah often spoke of the upcoming destruction of both Jerusalem and Judah, and also that of Samaria and the northern kingdom of Israel, all due to the people’s lack of faith and sins.

In today’s first reading passage, we heard the Lord admonishing His people for their sins, and reminding them at the same time of all that He had done for them, in liberating them from slavery in the days of their ancestors, all the blessings and graces that He had given them among many other things He did for them, and how they had spurned and rejected that love, preferring to live their lives in their own way, choosing to obey worldly ways and disobeying the Law and commandments that God has placed before them. At the same time, through Micah, God also told His people that He still loved them nonetheless, and was calling them towards reconciliation with Him.

That was when we heard the famous phrase from the Book of the prophet Micah, ‘to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.’ That in essence, summarised what each and every one of us, as God’s beloved people, need to do in order to walk in God’s path faithfully as we have been called to do. More often than not, it was always our pride and ego which led us to disobey the Lord, His Law and commandments. That was what happened to the people of Judah and also as we heard in our Gospel passage today, to the people of the time of the Lord Jesus and His ministry.

In the Gospel today, we heard how the people asked the Lord publicly for miraculous signs, which the Lord replied to with great astonishment and disbelief, because we have to understand that, as the Lord had performed many miracles and signs, throughout all the time that He was going around Galilee and all those places He had publicly shown His power and miracles. However, the people still refused to believe in Him and they would not open their hearts and minds to welcome Him. God had shown them many signs and wonders, but because the people had hardened their hearts and closed their minds against Him, that was why they lacked faith.

It was the same attitude which they had shown the Lord in the past as well. The people to whom the prophet Micah spoke to also hardened their hearts against God, and all of these were because they were too proud to admit their mistakes and imperfections. The people at the time of the Lord Jesus, particularly those belonging to the intellectual and societal elite, the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, all were too proud to admit that they could have been wrong, and they constantly asked the Lord to prove Himself, because to them, they had placed themselves in that mindset, that the Lord, His actions and teachings were wrong while they were right.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, if we allow ourselves to be swayed by our pride and ego, our selfish attitude and more, then it will be easy for us to fall into the wrong paths, as our predecessors had done. That is why through what we have heard in our Scripture passages today, we are all reminded to get rid from ourselves all traces of this pride and ego, this attitude which prevented us from reaching out towards the Lord and finding the path towards Him. We have to instead humble ourselves before God and before one another, and cultivate in ourselves the strong desire to love the Lord and to commit ourselves to Him. We have to open our hearts and minds to welcome the Lord into our midst.

Let us hence do our best in our lives, to live our lives full of faith, with virtue and justice, and to walk with humility in the path that God has shown us. Let us allow God to lead us down the right path, and allow Him to bring us into His eternal kingdom, by our exemplary and faithful lives. May God bless us all and our good works, efforts and endeavours, now and always. Amen.

Monday, 18 July 2022 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 12 : 38-42

At that time, some teachers of the Law and some Pharisees spoke up, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.” Jesus answered them, “An evil and unfaithful people want a sign; but no sign will be given them except the sign of the prophet Jonah. In the same way, as Jonah spent three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of Man spend three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

“At the judgment, the people of Nineveh will rise with this generation, and condemn it; because they reformed their lives at the preaching of Jonah, and here, there is greater than Jonah. At the judgment, the Queen of the South will stand up and condemn you. She came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and here, there is greater than Solomon.”

Monday, 18 July 2022 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 49 : 5-6, 8-9, 16bc-17, 21 and 23

I lie prostrate in the midst of lions that greedily devour people; their teeth are pointed spears and arrows; their tongues, sharpened swords. Be exalted, o God, above the heavens! Your glory be over all the earth!

Not for your sacrifices do I reprove you, for your burnt offerings are ever before Me. I need no bull from your stalls, nor he-goat from your pens.

What right have you to mouth My laws, or to talk about My covenant? You hate My commands and cast My words behind you.

Because I was silent while you did these things, you thought I was like you. But now I rebuke you and make this charge against you. Those who give with thanks offerings honour Me, but the one who walks blamelessly, I will show him the salvation of God.

Monday, 18 July 2022 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Micah 6 : 1-4, 6-8

Listen to what YHVH said to me, “Stand up, let the mountains hear your claim, and the hills listen to your plea.” Hear, o mountains, YHVH’s complaint! Foundations of the earth, pay attention! For YHVH has a case against His people, and will argue it with Israel.

“O My people, what have I done to you? In what way have I been a burden to you? Answer Me. I brought you out of Egypt; I rescued you from the land of bondage; I sent Moses, Aaron and Miriam to lead you.”

“What shall I bring when I come to YHVH and bow down before God the Most High? Shall I come with burnt offerings, with sacrifices of yearling calves? Will YHVH be pleased with thousands of rams, with an overabundance of oil libations? Should I offer my firstborn for my sins, the fruit of my body for my wrongdoing?”

“You have been told, o man, what is good and what YHVH requires of you : to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”