Monday, 1 July 2019 : 13th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture in which we are reminded of just how great God’s love for each and every one of us is, and how vast is His mercy to each and every one of us. In the first reading taken from the Book of Genesis we heard of the encounter and conversation between God and Abraham, His faithful servant regarding the city of Sodom and Gomorrah, while in the Gospel we heard about the matter of following Christ.

In the first reading today, Abraham was deeply concerned that God would punish the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah as the people who lived in those cities were very wicked and sinful, and his cousin Lot was living amongst those people in that place. Partly out of concern for his cousin Lot and his family, and also party for anyone else out there in those two cities who were still faithful to God’s ways, Abraham pleaded with the Lord to spare Sodom and Gomorrah should there be righteous people found in them.

And he did not do this just once, but a few times, continuing to ask the Lord and pleading with Him to show mercy and compassion. God listened to Abraham and promised him that He would not carry out the destruction that He has planned on Sodom and Gomorrah should He managed to find the number of the righteous people in accordance to what Abraham had pleaded for.

In the Gospel passage today, we heard the story of the encounter between a teacher of the Law who came up to the Lord Jesus saying that he would follow Him to wherever He goes. The Lord responded by saying that He has nowhere to lay His head, and that all those who follow Him must truly follow Him and leave everything behind to be with Him. How does this then relate to what we have heard in our first reading passage today?

The connection is that, in both cases, we heard of the matter of following God, obeying Him and being righteous in our lives, and we cannot do anything less than what our father in faith, Abraham had done with his own life, and looking upon the examples shown by Our Lord Jesus Himself in obeying the will of His Father so perfectly that He willingly took up the Cross and bear the burdens of our sins for our salvation.

Abraham heard the Lord’s call when He called him to follow Him. He left his ancestral homeland behind and followed wherever God had led him to. He was faithful and committed to his Lord and Master in everything and because of that God blessed him and made a great Covenant with him and his descendants, promising to make them to be great nations and peoples ever blessed by God.

And that is why all of us should follow the good examples set by Abraham in his life. We should heed the commitment that Abraham had shown in everything he has done, in the trust he has in the Lord, in putting himself in the Lord’s providence. That is how we become better disciples of the Lord and following Him with all of our hearts. That is how we are called to be true Christians in everything we say and do, so that we may draw ever closer to Him.

May the Lord Who is so full of love, mercy and compassion continue to love us all and shower us with His grace as He has done all these while. May He strengthen us, our courage and our resolve to follow Him with all of our hearts and to stand up for Him in faith in everything. May God bless us all and our good endeavours, now and always. Amen.

Monday, 1 July 2019 : 13th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 8 : 18-22

At that time, when Jesus saw the crowd pressing around Him, He gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. A teacher of the Law approached Him; and said, “Master, I will follow You wherever You go.”

Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Another disciple said to Him, “Lord, let me go and bury my father first.” But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their dead.”

Monday, 1 July 2019 : 13th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 102 : 1-2, 3-4, 8-9, 10-11

Praise YHVH, my soul; all my being, praise His Holy Name! Praise YHVH, my soul, and do not forget all His kindness.

He forgives all your sins and heals all your sickness; He redeems your life from destruction and crowns you with love and compassion.

YHVH is gracious and merciful, abounding in love and slow to anger; He will not always scold nor will He be angry forever.

He does not treat us according to our sins, nor does He punish us as we deserve. As the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His love for those fearing Him.

Monday, 1 July 2019 : 13th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Genesis 18 : 16-33

The men went away and turned towards Sodom. Abraham walked with them to set them on their way. And YHVH said, “Can I conceal from Abraham what I am about to do? Abraham, in fact, is going to become a great and powerful nation and through him all the nations of the earth will be blessed, for I have chosen him to command his sons and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that YHVH may bring about for Abraham what He has promised him.”

Then YHVH said, “How great is the cry for justice against Sodom and Gomorrah! And how grievous is their sin! I am going down to see if they have done all that they are charged with in the outcry that has reached Me. If it is not so, I will know.” The men with Him turned away and went towards Sodom, but YHVH remained standing before Abraham.

Abraham went forward and said, “Will You really let the just perish with the wicked? Perhaps there are fifty good people in the town. Are You really going to let them perish? Would You not spare the place for the sake of these fifty righteous people? It would not be at all like You to do such a thing and You cannot let the good perish with the wicked, nor treat the good and the wicked alike. Far be it from You! Will not the Judge of all the earth be just?” YHVH said, “If I find fifty good people in Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

Abraham spoke up again, “I know that I am very bold to speak like this to my Lord, I who am only dust and ashes! But perhaps the number of the good is five less than fifty. Will You destroy the town because of the five?” YHVH replied, “I will not destroy the town if I find forty-five good people there.” Again Abraham said to him, “Perhaps there will be only forty.” He answered, “For the sake of forty I will not do it.”

Abraham went on, saying, “May my Lord not be angry, but let me speak. Maybe only thirty good people will be found in the town.” YHVH answered, “I will not destroy it if I find thirty there.” Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to my Lord, what if only twenty can be found?” He said, “For the sake of twenty I will not destroy the place.”

But Abraham insisted, “May my Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found?” And YHVH answered, “For the sake of ten good people, I will not destroy Sodom.” When YHVH had finished speaking with Abraham, He left and Abraham went home.