Tuesday, 10 July 2018 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened first to the word of God through the prophet Hosea to His people, in the northern kingdom of Israel, showing His anger and dissatisfaction at all those who have sinned against Him and disobeyed His commandments, setting up pagan idols and false gods on their altars instead of worshipping the One and only True God, Who had loved them and cared for them, for so many years.

In the psalm today, we heard exactly how foolish the people were, for replacing the Lord their God with those pagan idols, which were made of earthly materials, of wood or stone, and which were merely handicrafts of man, and were unable to speak, or were merely representations of worldly things and objects, animals or even human beings themselves, but not of the true divinity.

They committed all sorts of wickedness because they refused to obey by divine laws, and instead, operate on their own false and misguided human and worldly laws and rules. They did not want to conform to the path and the wisdom which God had shown to all of them, but instead, following their own decadent and sinful way. To this end, they persecuted and killed the prophets sent into their midst to remind them.

That was what we have also seen in our Gospel passage today, as we heard about the Lord Jesus performing His miracles and healing the people from their sickness, casting out evil spirits and demons from them. The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law doubted His power and authority, and claimed that He had done so by the power and collusion with the prince of demons, Beelzebul.

It was all similar, brothers and sisters in Christ, seeing how the people hardened their hearts and minds against the Lord. They have allowed their prejudices, pride and desire to stand in their way against the ability to listen to the word of God calling them to righteousness and repentance from their sins. That is why we saw so many people doubling down on their sins and falling even deeper into the quagmire of wickedness and evil.

But the Lord was ever forgiving and merciful, and for all those allegations and rejections, all the falsehoods spread against Him, and all the obstacles placed in His path, the Lord still forgave even those who had condemned Him to the cross, offering them the same mercy, love and forgiveness. And through this, He showed how He, and not all those false idols, is the One and only True God.

For all the idols present in this world, including what we have in our modern world today, the idol of money, of wealth, of fame, of relationships and pleasures of the flesh, the idol of glory and power, all of these are merely the results of the corrupt outpouring of those idolisations of worldly matters and things we desire, and which we have been tempted with.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we reflect on all of these, so that we may find our true orientation towards God, away from the distractions and temptations of life. Let us all realise that for all that we have been tempted with, all the idols and temptations of power, wealth, worldly glory, prestige and fame, all these things are ultimately illusory and temporary. They are not to last, and we cannot depend on them forever.

Let us all instead seek to build our relationship with God, deepening the link and the quality time we have spent with Him, through prayers and by opening ourselves to His grace and love. Let us turn towards God with all of our hearts, and realise that in Him alone, lies our true treasures in life, and eventually, we exist to glorify Him through our lives. May God bless us all. Amen.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 9 : 32-38

At that time, as the two blind men were going away, some people brought to Jesus a man who was dumb, because he was possessed by a demon. When the demon was driven out, the dumb man began to speak. The crowds were astonished and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.”But the Pharisees said, “He drives away demons with the help of the prince of demons.”

Jesus went around all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom; and He cured every sickness and disease. When He saw the crowds, He was moved with pity; for they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are only few. Ask the Master of the harvest to send workers to gather His harvest.”

Tuesday, 10 July 2018 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 113B : 3-4, 5-6, 7ab and 8, 9-10

There in heaven is our God; whatever He wishes, He does. Not so the hand-made idols, crafted in silver and gold.

They have mouths that cannot speak, eyes that cannot see, ears that cannot hear, noses that cannot smell.

They have hands but cannot feel, feet, but cannot walk. Their makers will be like them; so will all who trust in them.

O Israel, trust in YHVH; He is your Help and your Shield! You, family of Aaron, trust in YHVH; He is your Help and your Shield!

Tuesday, 10 July 2018 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Hosea 8 : 4-7, 11-13

Without My approval they set up kings and without My blessing appointed leaders. With their silver and gold they fashioned idols to their own ruin. To Me, Samaria, your calf is loathsome; and My anger blazes against you. How long will you remain defiled? The calf is yours, Israel, a craftsman has made it; it is not God and will be broken into pieces. As they sow the wind, they will reap the whirlwind. Stalk without flower, it will never yield flower, or if they do, foreigners will devour it.

Ephraim built many altars; but his altars made him more guilty. I wrote out for him the numerous precepts of My law; but they look on them as coming from foreigners. They offer sacrifices to Me because they are those who eat the meat; but YHVH does not accept their sacrifices, for He is mindful of their sin and remembers their wickedness. They will return to Egypt.