Saturday, 15 June 2019 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture speaking to us about the importance of being true in our faith and dedication to the Lord, in all of us our words, deeds and actions so that we truly are worthy to be called the disciples and followers of Christ, our Lord and Saviour. For the Lord has given us everything and done everything for our sake, and therefore the least we can do is to give our whole beings to Him in sincere and genuine faith and love.

In our Gospel passage we heard the Lord speaking to His disciples on the matter of making oaths and swearing those oaths before the Lord and the people. And He said how they should not be making oaths and swearing them on anything or on anybody, or even on themselves. In order to understand what the Lord truly meant by His words, we must then understand in the first place how people then (and even in our world today) make oaths and promises.

People made oaths more because of their fear that the other party who witnessed the oaths would not believe or trust in the sincerity and commitment of the person making the oath in maintaining or fulfilling his or her part of the agreement or bargain. That is why people made oaths and swore them upon things or even persons and beings that the people considered to be worthy to them, so that the other party would come to believe in their sincerity and commitment.

That was why people loved to take oaths on things like their own wealth, their own precious things, jewelries and possessions, or on their own selves and bodies, or even on their states and nations, and last of all, on God and Heaven itself. They wanted the other parties and people for whom they made oaths for to believe that they would fulfil their end of the bargain and be true to the promises that they have made.

But in the end, as we can obviously see by now, is that oath-making was discouraged by the Lord because of the lack of trust and faith between the people with regards to the agreement, promises, and whatever it is that the oaths were taken over. Instead, the Lord said plainly, that someone must be sincere and true, and not making empty promises and oaths, saying yes when they mean it and no when they also mean no.

Many people had made oaths and swore those oaths, and yet even they broke those oaths, and when those oaths were broken, what does it mean then to those things, persons or beings that they have taken the oaths over? Is it not in truth an insult and mockery of what those people have taken the oaths over, if oaths can just be so easily broken and disregarded? And if the people then made oaths before the Lord or used His Holy Name, is it not then a mockery of God when those oaths were broken or disregarded?

Throughout history, we mankind have had long history of disobedience and disregarding our promises to one another. And that is exactly why there are often so little trust among us mankind, where we end up disregarding each other, backstabbing each other and distrusting each other. There is essentially very little trust among us all. How can we then progress from this, and what is it that we need to do in order to be true Christians and followers of Christ as mentioned earlier?

It is by following none other than the good examples set by the Lord Himself, as St. Paul stated in his Epistle to the Church and the faithful in the city of Corinth, how the Lord Jesus came into this world to save each and every one of us, by what He has done for us, He took the ultimate action and chose to do so willingly to prove that, far better from any of us, He is trustworthy and faithful beyond all doubt.

God fulfilled His promises to us not by mere words, by through real and concrete action, and this action is nothing less than what He had undergone through His Passion, taking up His Cross and bearing it up to the hill of Calvary, enduring the most bitter sufferings and the most painful torture and the most humiliating ridicule and rejection, so that He may save us all from our fated destruction, that is caused by our own sins.

On this day all of us are reminded therefore of the love and commitment, the faithfulness and trustworthiness that Our Lord, the Son of God and Son of Man, had shown us on the Cross, as He gazed down upon all of us, His beloved people with so much love, mercy and compassion. He was so genuine in His love and so completely trustworthy, that each and every one of us indeed should follow in His examples.

May the Lord help each and every one of us to be true to our own faith, to be more committed in all the things we do. May He bless us all with the courage and the strength to be ever more committed and true as Christians, as those who believe in God and in His saving help. Amen.

Saturday, 15 June 2019 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Matthew 5 : 33-37

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “You have also heard that people were told in the past : Do not break your oath; an oath sworn to the Lord must be kept. But I tell you this : do not take oaths. Do not swear by the heavens, for they are God’s throne; nor by the earth, because it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the great King.”

“Do not even swear by your head, because you cannot make a single hair white of black. Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything else you say comes from the evil one.”

Saturday, 15 June 2019 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Psalm 102 : 1-2, 3-4, 8-9, 11-12

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.

As the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His love for those fearing Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove from us our sins.

Saturday, 15 June 2019 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

2 Corinthians 5 : 14-21

Indeed, the love of Christ holds us, and we realise, that, if He died for all, all have died. He died for all, so, that, those who live, may live no longer for themselves, but for Him, Who died, and rose again for them. And so, from now on, we do not regard anyone from a human point of view; and even if we once knew Christ personally, we should now regard Him in another way.

For that same reason, the one who is in Christ is a new creature. For Him, the old things have passed away; a new world has come. All this is the work of God, Who, in Christ, reconciled us to Himself, and Who entrusted to us the ministry of reconciliation. Because, in Christ, God reconciled the world with Himself, no longer taking into account their trespasses, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

So we present ourselves as ambassadors, in the Name of Christ, as in God, Himself, makes an appeal to you, through us. Let God reconcile you; this, we ask you, in the Name of Christ. He had no sin, but God made Him bear our sin, so, that, in Him, we might share the holiness of God.

Friday, 14 June 2019 : 10th 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 treasure that is our faith, and what we need to do in order to preserve this faith that is within each and every one of us. We carry in us this faith in the Lord Jesus which is necessary for us to endure through the many temptations and challenges of this world, all of which are obstacles for us in being faithful to God.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard of how the Lord Jesus exhorted to His disciples that they ought to be careful in their lives that they did not give in to the temptation to sin, as sin is something that is very dangerous and corrupting, and if we are not careful, we will end up being corrupted by those sins. We should not even contemplate the idea of sin, for when we allow sin to enter into our hearts and minds, it is too late for us.

What the Lord mentioned in today’s Gospel passage was not to be taken literally for surely it must have been horrifying for us to even contemplate the thought of cutting out one’s own eye or to cut out one’s own limb in the case when these led us into sin. In fact, the Lord was just making a point and comparison, of using those body parts as a metaphor for sin, as the limbs, eyes and our body organs are by themselves blameless.

It is the heart that leads one into sin, heart filled with sin and the desire to sin will cause our actions to be ones that lead us down the path of sin. On the contrary, should our hearts and minds be filled with righteousness and good things from God, not only that it would have been much more difficult for us to commit sin, but our actions and our bodies will be used for the greater glory and purpose of God.

Therefore, today, in fact all of us to reflect on how we are to carry on living our lives from now on. Are we going to continue to allow ourselves to be tempted and swayed by sin? Or are we going to try our best to resist those temptations and seek to remain pure at all times despite the challenges and the pressures to do otherwise? God has given us all the free will to choose between goodness and wickedness, between obedience and disobedience.

In our first reading today, again, as I mentioned, all of us have received the gift of faith, kept in the treasures of clay, a reference to our own bodies and selves, made from the dust of the earth. But that treasure of our faith is truly a great treasure indeed, waiting to be unveiled and shown to all. The choice is ours whether we want to keep this treasure inside us and leave it as it is, or to allow that treasure to be shown forth and to grow.

Let me refer to the example of the parable of the silver talents that the Lord Jesus taught His disciples, in which a master presented three servants with the silver talents for them to make use of during his absence. Two of the servants made good use of the silver talents, invested them and worked with them, and made double the result as compared to the initial amount entrusted to them by their master.

On the contrary, the lazy servant hid the silver talent and did nothing with it, and returned the silver talent to the master exactly as how he had been entrusted with it. The ones who were praised and commended were those two servants who had willingly and diligently made good use of their silver talents. In the same way, therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, each and every one of us have been entrusted by God with different talents and abilities.

But are we willing and able to make good use of those abilities and talents? Let us all think about this and reflect how we can be ever more faithful and be more dedicated to God, with each and every moments of our lives, and with every faithful and dedicated actions we do for the sake of the greater glory of God. Let us all renounce our sinful ways and reject any further temptations to sin from now on. May God bless us all, now and always. Amen.

Friday, 14 June 2019 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 5 : 27-32

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “You have heard that it was said : Do not commit adultery. But I tell you this : anyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent, has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

“So, if your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away! It is much better for you to lose a part of your body, than to have your whole body thrown into hell. If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away! It is better for you to lose a part of your body, than to have your whole body thrown into hell.”

“It was also said : Anyone who divorces his wife, must give her a written notice of divorce. But what I tell you is this : if a man divorces his wife, except in the case of unlawful union, he causes her to commit adultery. And the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

Friday, 14 June 2019 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 115 : 10-11, 15-16, 17-18

You, family of Aaron, trust in YHVH; He is your help and your shield! You who fear YHVH, trust in Him; He is your help and your shield!

May you be blessed by YHVH. Maker of heaven and earth. Heaven belongs to YHVH, but the earth He has given to humans.

It is not the dead who praise YHVH, for they have gone down to silence; but it is we, the living who praise YHVH, from now on and forever.