Wednesday, 20 July 2022 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Apollinaris, Bishop and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Matthew 13 : 1-9

At that time, that same day, Jesus left the house and sat down by the lakeside. Many people gathered around Him. So He got into a boat, and sat down, while the crowds stood on the shore; and He spoke to them in parables about many things.

Jesus said, “The sower went out to sow; and, as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path; and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where there was little soil, and the seeds sprouted quickly, because the soil was not deep. But as soon as the sun rose, the plants were scorched; and they withered, because they had no roots.”

“Again, other seeds fell among thistles; and the thistles grew and choked the plants. Still, other seeds fell on good soil and produced a crop : some a hundredfold, others sixty, and others thirty. If you have ears, then hear!”

Wednesday, 20 July 2022 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Apollinaris, Bishop and Martyr (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Psalm 70 : 1-2, 3-4a, 5-6ab, 15ab and 17

In You, o Lord, I seek refuge; let me not be disgraced. In Your justice help me and deliver me, turn Your ear to me and save me!

Be my Rock of refuge, a Stronghold to give me safety, for You are my Rock and my Fortress. Rescue me, o my God, from the hand of the wicked.

For You, o Lord, have been my Hope, my Trust, o God, from my youth. I have relied on You from birth : from my mother’s womb You brought me forth.

My lips will proclaim Your intervention and tell of Your salvation all day, little though it is what I can understand. You have taught me from my youth and until now I proclaim Your marvels.

Wednesday, 20 July 2022 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Apollinaris, Bishop and Martyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Jeremiah 1 : 1, 4-10

The words of Jeremiah, son of Hilkiah, of a priestly family in Anathoth, in the land of Benjamin.

A word of YHVH came to me, “Even before I formed you in the womb I have known you; even before you were born I had set you apart, and appointed you a prophet to the nations!”

I said, “Ah, Lord YHVH! I do not know how to speak; I am still young!” But YHVH replied, “Do not say; ‘I am still young’, for now you will go, whatever be the mission I am entrusting to you, and you will speak of whatever I command you to say. Do not be afraid of them, for I will be with you to protect you – it is YHVH Who speaks!”

Then YHVH stretched out His hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “Now I have put My words in your mouth. See! Today I give you authority over nations and over kingdoms to uproot and to pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”

Tuesday, 19 July 2022 : 16th 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, speaking to us about God Who leads all of His people back to Himself as our Shepherd, as He showed us all the path to return to Him and to once again be worthy of His grace and love. The Lord has always reached out to us, and ceaselessly tried to be reconciled with us. He seeks for us to turn away from the path of sin and ruination, revealing to us His truth and love, so that hopefully we may embrace Him wholly and completely, and renewed once more in faith.

In our first reading today, we heard of the words of the prophet Micah speaking of the Lord’s love for His people, as the Shepherd for them, guiding them once again throughout their lands, providing and caring for them as He has always done. The prophet Micah spoke of the Lord’s great and generous love, His mercy and compassion which He has always shown to the people. At that time, the people of God were wayward and unfaithful, preferring to follow their own paths and ways rather than obeying and listening to God. The Lord sent Micah and other prophets to help them all find their way towards Him.

The prophet therefore reminded the people of God’s love and at the same time also presented their petitions and prayers, asking the Lord for the forgiveness and mercy, that He might once again look favourably upon them, though they all had sinned against Him, rejected Him and been stubborn in their rebellion against Him. The prophet was also calling on all the people to embrace the right path, abandoning their sinful and wicked way of life. And the Lord Himself told us the same thing when He came info our midst, through His Son, Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, that we heard in our Gospel passage today.

In that passage today, we heard the Lord speaking to His disciples and followers regarding the matter of obedience to God and in following Him and the Law of God wholeheartedly. And while His family was waiting outside for Him, the Lord uttered those words. On a glance, it may seem that the Lord was being rude to His parents and family, but in fact, what He was saying was that while He honoured and respected His mother and His family, but it does not mean that He was restricted and limited by the ties He had with His family. He made Himself available to all of us, and called us all to follow Him, and to do the will of God. That way, we become the brothers and sisters in God’s great family, the Church.

All of us are reminded to turn towards the Lord with renewed faith and commitment, doing whatever we can to glorify Him by our lives. If we are faithful to the Lord and if we do what we can to follow Him, then the Lord surely will also protect us and give us His blessings and graces. But that depends on us whether we want to commit the effort and time to walk in the path that God has shown us. More often than not, we prefer to walk down our own path and follow the whims of our desires and the many temptations of this world rather than willing to listen to the Lord or obey His commandments and ways.

As long as we continue to be stubborn and to resist the Lord then there can be little progress that we can make in our journey towards Him. Each and every one of us are called to open our hearts and minds, and allow the Lord to come into them, so that He may touch our hearts and minds with His love. We should also strive to get to know the Lord more so that we may be better able to live in the manner acceptable to Him and worthy of us as Christians, as those whom God had called to be His own people. All of us should seek the Lord with renewed faith and commitment, and we should begin from ourselves and our own lives.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all do our best to entrust ourselves to God and to do His will. Let us all do what we can in serving Him and in glorifying Him by our exemplary lives and actions. All of us should do what we can to proclaim the Lord, His truth and love to all those whom we encounter through life. We should allow the Lord to lead and guide us down the path of righteousness, and help us to remain true to Him, in all the things we say, do and act, in all of our interactions with our fellow brothers and sisters, and even strangers and acquaintances all around us.

May the Lord continue to guide us and strengthen us, in each and every opportunities and times that He had granted us, so that we may live ever more worthily as those whom the Lord had called and chosen. May all of us and our lives be good inspiration for one another, and may we draw ever closer to God, now and always. Amen.