Thursday, 11 August 2022 : 19th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Clare, Virgin (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 18 : 21 – Matthew 19 : 1

At that time, Peter asked Jesus, “Lord, how many times must I forgive the offences of my brother or sister? Seven times?” Jesus answered, “No, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

“This story throws light on the kingdom of Heaven : A king decided to settle accounts with his servants. Among the first of them was one who owed him ten thousand pieces of gold. As the man could not repay the debt, the king commanded that he be sold as a slave with his wife, his children and all his goods, as repayment.”

“The servant threw himself at the feet of the king and said, ‘Give me time, and I will pay you back everything.’ The king took pity on him, and not only set him free, but even cancelled his debt. When this servant left the king’s presence, he met one of his fellow servants, who owed him a hundred pieces of silver. He grabbed him by the throat and almost choked him, shouting, ‘Pay me what you owe!'”

“His fellow servant threw himself at his feet and begged him, ‘Give me time, and I will pay everything.’ But the other did not agree, and sent him to prison until he has paid all his debt. Now the servants of the king saw what had happened. They were extremely upset, and so they went and reported everything to their lord.”

“Then the lord summoned his servant and said, ‘Wicked servant, I forgave you all that you owed me when you begged me to do so. Were you not bound to have pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?’ The lord was now angry. He handed the wicked servant over to be punished, until he had paid the whole debt.”

Jesus added, “So will My heavenly Father do with you, unless you sincerely forgive your brothers and sisters.” When Jesus had finished these sayings, He left Galilee and arrived at the border of Judea, on the other side of the Jordan River.

Thursday, 11 August 2022 : 19th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Clare, Virgin (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 77 : 56-57, 58-59, 61-62

But they challenged and rebelled against God the Most High, and disobeyed His decrees. They were unfaithful, like their ancestors, deceitful and crooked, as a twisted bow.

They angered Him with their high places; they aroused His jealousy with their idols. Filled with wrath, God rejected Israel.

He lead His glory into captivity, His Ark, into the hand of the enemy. He gave His people over to the sword, so furious was He at His inheritance.

Thursday, 11 August 2022 : 19th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Clare, Virgin (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Ezekiel 12 : 1-12

This word of YHVH came to me, “Son of man, you live in the midst of a house of rebels : they have eyes for seeing but do not see; they have ears for hearing but do not hear; for they are a house of rebels. Because of this, son of man, prepare for yourself an exile’s baggage in their sight, as an exile does; and go as an exile, to another place, in their sight. Would that they might understand, because they are a house of rebels.”

“You will gather your things, an exile’s baggage, by day, to be seen by them; and you will leave in the evening, as for a departure of deportees. While they look on, dig a hole in the wall and leave from there. As they look on, shoulder your baggage and leave in the dark. Veil your face and do not look at the land, for I have made you a sign for Israel.”

I did as I was ordered, gathering my things by day, an exile’s baggage, and, in the evening, I made a hole in the wall with my hand. I left in the dark, in their presence, shouldering my baggage. In the morning, the word of YHVH came to me : “Son of man, did not the Israelites, these rebels, ask you, ‘What are you doing there?’ Answer them on behalf of YHVH : This oracle concerns the prince in Jerusalem and all the Israelites remaining in the city.”

“Say, ‘I am a sign for you,’ for what I have done will happen to them : They will be deported, exiled. The prince among them shall shoulder his baggage in the dark and depart. They will dig a hole in the wall to let him leave by it. He will cover his face because he must not see the land with his eyes.”

Wednesday, 10 August 2022 : Feast of St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we gather together as the Church of God, we celebrate together the glorious memory of St. Lawrence, also known as St. Lawrence of Rome, one of the great saints of the Church. St. Lawrence was one of the seven deacons appointed for the Diocese of Rome in assisting the Pope in the governance and management of the Church. He was a truly courageous and faithful servant of God, and he dedicated himself to God even amidst the hardships and persecutions that he and the Church had to face back then.

St. Lawrence was born in Valencia, the province of Hispania in the Roman Empire, in what is the present day Spain. He encountered another saint of the Church, Pope St. Sixtus II, who happened to be in Hispania, and developed a good relationship that eventually went on to Rome, where Pope St. Sixtus II was eventually elected as Pope and successor of St. Peter, while the trusted St. Lawrence was appointed by the new Pope as the first of the seven deacons of the Diocese of Rome, that made him well known as the Archdeacon of Rome as one of his titles. He was entrusted with the treasuries of the Church and the care of the poor and the needy in Rome.

At that time, the Church especially in Rome was under great persecution and threat from the Roman government and state apparatus, as the Emperor Valerian declared the immediate persecution and execution of all Christian bishops, priests and deacons, who were arrested in great numbers, persecuted and martyred. Pope St. Sixtus II was among those who had been put to arrest and was eventually martyred, and soon enough, the state began to seek the riches and treasures of the Church, which was under the management of St. Lawrence as the Archdeacon of Rome.

Knowing that the authorities would soon look for him, arrest him and gain the treasury of the Church which had been meant for the poor and the needy, St. Lawrence quickly distributed the wealth and property of the Church to the poor and the needy in Rome to prevent the authorities from seizing those for their own selfish use. Hence, when the authorities came to force St. Lawrence to show them the treasures of the Church, he brought forth all the poor and the needy under the care of the Church, presenting them to the Roman prefect that those were the true treasures of the Church.

St. Lawrence was arrested and because the Roman prefect was also greatly angered by the snub which St. Lawrence delivered with the trick that he used to save the treasures of the Church from appropriation, the saint was made to suffer greatly from torture and was put on a hot gridiron, heated with a blazing furnace, on which he was martyred, defending his faith in the Lord with dedication right to the very end, showing us all what it truly means to be faithful to God and to love Him with all our heart and strength. The examples showed by St. Lawrence should serve to strengthen us in our own faith so that we may strive to live our lives ever more in tune with God and His will.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the examples shown and set by St. Lawrence should inspire us all to do more for the sake of our fellow brothers and sisters, as how the saint and martyr chose to suffer and to endure trials rather than to betray the works and responsibilities entrusted to him. St. Lawrence showed us that as Christians, each and every one of us have the calling and the mission to reach out to our brethren and to the world, to stand up for our faith and to be courageous in living our faith through our lives. Unless we do so, we cannot be truly considered as Christians.

Today, as we listened to these words from the Scriptures telling us to be generous in giving and committing our lives to God’s will, and reminded by the examples shown by St. Lawrence, holy martyr and deacon, let us all therefore discern how we can be better disciples of the Lord, in being more proactive in living our faith and in being more committed to the works of charity and the many other efforts and outreach of the Church to our community and to all around us who are in need and in which we are in the perfect position to help them. Let us all not ignore their plight and need, and let us be moved to action, and be committed to walk in the same path that the saints, particularly that of St. Lawrence, has shown us.

May the Lord be with us all, and may He continue to guide us on our journey of life. May God bless our every good works and endeavours so that we may always glorify Him by our every actions and that we may be inspiration for one another just as the saints like St. Lawrence had done for us. St. Lawrence, holy servant of God and courageous martyr of the Faith, pray for us all! Amen.