Wednesday, 10 July 2019 : 14th 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 speaking to us about the tale between Joseph, the son of Jacob or Israel and his brothers in Egypt at the time when the whole world experienced a widespread famine, and Joseph, having been abandoned by his brothers many years before, had become the powerful Regent of Egypt. And the brothers of Joseph came to him without knowing who he actually was, and Joseph recognised who they were.

There is some sorts of parallel today, in what we heard in the first reading from the Book of Genesis and the Gospel passage from the Gospel of St. Matthew, as the Gospel passage recounted to us the moment when the Lord Jesus chose His twelve chief disciples, the ones who later on would be known as the Twelve Apostles. In both, there are twelve individuals involved, in the first reading being the twelve sons of Israel, and in the Gospel, the twelve disciples of Jesus.

The number twelve has a particular significance in the Bible as it represents the completeness of things, as the whole nation of Israel eventually came from these twelve sons of Jacob, becoming the twelve tribes of Israel. And the reunion between Joseph and his brothers in today’s passage was also no less symbolic and significant, if we understand the intention of why the Lord called His Twelve Apostles.

Since the time of ancient Israel, the twelve tribes of Israel have been torn apart many times, because of their disagreements and conflicts between them, and the division would become permanent when the ten northern tribes formed the separate kingdom of Israel and the remaining two tribes of Judah and Benjamin formed the kingdom of Judah after the death of king Solomon.

When the northern kingdom was overrun and destroyed by the Assyrians and then followed on by the destruction of the southern kingdom by the Babylonians, the tribes and the people of Israel were scattered all over the place, and later on, all over the world. It was just like the separation that happened between Joseph and his brothers, when the jealousy of the latter made them to plot to abandon Joseph to the slavers of Midian.

And what did the Lord Jesus called His Twelve Apostles for? He called them all first with the mission to go to the towns of the Israelites, to the lost sheep of Israel, to gather them all back to the fold of the Lord, essentially to reunite all the scattered people and the tribes of the Lord. When He told them not to go to the pagan territories, it was not that the Lord was biased against the non-Jews and the pagans, but it was because at that time, the primary objective was for the Word of God to be preached to the people whom God had first called.

Therefore, after this mission has been completed, with the suffering, death and resurrection of Our Lord, and subsequently when the Lord commanded His Apostles and disciples to go forth to the nations and baptise them in the Name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, the mission of the Apostles were expanded to include the evangelisation of the Gentiles or the non-Jewish people, but with the same intention.

And this intention is for them all to bring together all the scattered flock of the Lord, from all peoples and from all the nations, all who have been scattered and separated from God because of their sins. Sin has been the cause of the sundering of the love between God and mankind, and many have been lost to the Lord because of their sins. It is now up to us, brothers and sisters in Christ, as the ones who now bear the same responsibility that the Apostles had once borne, for us to carry on their mission and reach out to all those who have not yet heard of God’s truth.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore reflect in what way each and every one of us will be able to dedicate ourselves more closely to the Lord, and in what way we will be able to contribute through our own actions and examples, in living our lives with genuine faith so that many more will come to believe in God through us.

May the Lord continue to guide us in our path, and may He continue to bless us all in all of our endeavours from now on. May He strengthen us and encourage us to live ever more faithfully from now on, and give us the wisdom and strength to carry on living as true Christians. Amen.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 10 : 1-7

At that time, Jesus called His Twelve disciples to Him, and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to drive them out, and to heal every disease and sickness.

These are the names of the Twelve Apostles : first Simon, called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew, the tax collector; James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon, the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, the man who would betray Him.

Jesus sent these Twelve on mission, with the instruction : “Do not visit pagan territory and do not enter a Samaritan town. Go, instead, to the lost sheep of the people of Israel. Go, and proclaim this message : The kingdom of Heaven is near.”

Wednesday, 10 July 2019 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 32 : 2-3, 10-11, 18-19

Give thanks to YHVH on the harp and lyre, making melody and chanting praises. Amid loud shouts of joy, sing to Him a new song and play the ten-stringed harp.

YHVH frustrates the plans of the nations and brings to nothing the peoples’ designs. But His plan stands forever, and His heart’s design, through all generations.

But YHVH’s eyes are upon those who fear Him, upon those who trust in His loving kindness; to deliver them from death and preserve them from famine.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Genesis 41 : 55-57 and Genesis 42 : 5-7a, 17-24a

When the land of Egypt began to suffer from the famine, the people came to Pharaoh for bread. But Pharaoh told all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph and do as he tells you.” When the famine had spread throughout the land, Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians for the famine was indeed severe over the land.

As the famine had worsened throughout the whole world, people came from other countries to buy grain from Joseph. So the sons of Israel were among those going to buy grain, for there was famine in Canaan. It was Joseph, as governor of the land, who sold the grain to all the people. When his brothers arrived they bowed before him, with their faces to the ground.

Joseph recognised his brothers but did not make himself known and so he put them in prison for three days. On the third day Joseph said to them, “I will help you save yourselves, for I am a man who fears God. If you are sincere, let one of your brothers remain prisoner in the house of the guard where you now are, and the rest of you take the grain to save your families from famine. Then you will bring back your youngest brother; so the truth of what you say will be proved and your lives spared.”

They did as they were ordered and said among themselves, “Alas! We are guilty because of the way we treated our brother when he pleaded with us for mercy, but we did not listen. That is why this trouble has come upon us.” Reuben answered them, “Did I tell you not to sin against the boy. But you did not listen and now we are brought to account for his blood.”

Now they did not know that Joseph understood them as there was an interpreter between them. As for Joseph, he withdrew and wept.