Tuesday, 15 June 2021 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Lord speaking to us and reminding us all again and again what it truly means for us to be Christians, as those whom God had chosen and called to follow Him, and to be His witnesses among the people of this world. He has taught and shown us His love, and how He has loved us sincerely and tenderly, and therefore, we are expected to show this love through our lives and actions, at all times and in all places and occasions.

In our Gospel passage today, we are all reminded that as Christians we are all entrusted to be able to love one another, that is to learn to forgive those who have sinned against us and to reach out and care even for those who despised and hated us. This is what the Lord has taught and shown us to do, to be exemplary in our faith and in our way of life, that we may be walking in the same path that the Lord has walked before us, as He showed us all what it truly means to love.

Many of us love only ourselves and those whom we love or those who are dear to us, and we are biased against those whom we disagree with or whom we find to be different from us or incompatible. That is why we have not truly been wholehearted in our obedience to the Lord and His path. We are often too blinded by our selfishness and pride, our human desires and many other emotions and distractions that led us astray and keep us away from the true path of Christian love and charity.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, it is easier said than done for us to love others, especially more so for those whom we despise and who consequently also mutually despised us. It is difficult for us to let go of the anger and the negativities, the bitterness and pain that exist between us. But this is exactly where we should then model ourselves upon the Lord and His own example of love, as He has shown us what is meant by true and most unconditional and selfless love, love that is genuine, sincere and vast beyond all things.

How is it not so, brothers and sisters, when the Lord has given so much for our sake, loved us so wonderfully and patiently even when we have already caused Him so much pain and anger, and after we have betrayed, abandoned and wronged Him time and again, from the moment that we first fell into sin. Through our disobedience and our wickedness, we have been sundered from the true grace and happiness in Eden and in heavenly glory, and yet, God still loved us all, even when we are dirty, corrupted and wicked.

He ceaselessly reached out to us and sent to us His messengers and servants, to call on all of us to return to Him and to be reconciled with Him. He reached out to us with love, hoping that we will change our hearts and minds, and be willing to open the doors of our hearts to allow Him to enter and transform us, freeing us from the chains of our sins and from the tyranny of evil and death. And last of all, He fulfilled all that He has promised us by sending us His own Beloved Son, the same Christ, Our Lord, to be our Saviour.

He endured all the worst of sufferings and pains, the worst of humiliations out of love for us. He bore the blows and insults from His enemies and all those who hated Him, and even still, He prayed for them all and asked His Father not to hold anything against those who had condemned Him to death and made Him to suffer. And when He referred to this, we need to realise that He was in fact also referring to each and every one of us. It was our burdens and punishments that He bore, and yet, He bore them faithfully with love, for us, that we will not have to suffer that damnation.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, can we see now just how fortunate we are to be so beloved by the Lord? And therefore, can we grow to appreciate His love more, day after day, by welcoming Him into our hearts, embracing His love and mercy, and allow Him to transform us into His beloved children, a people of the true Light? And in this same manner, we should also imitate Him in all things including love, and it means that we should be the wonderful beacons of His love and light in our world today.

May all of us as Christians, in our every works, efforts and endeavours, in our interactions and outreach will always be filled with true love, love that is pure and selfless, in being concerned and caring towards each other. May God be with us all and may He guide us in our path, that we will always be faithful to Him. Amen.

Tuesday, 15 June 2021 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 5 : 43-48

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “You have heard, that it was said : Love your neighbour and do not do good to your enemy. But this I tell you : love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in Heaven. For He makes His sun rise on both the wicked and the good; and He gives rain to both the just and the unjust.”

“If you love those who love you, what is special about that? Do not even tax collectors do as much? And if you are friendly only to your friends, what is so exceptional about that? Do not even the pagans do as much? As for you, be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Tuesday, 15 June 2021 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 145 : 1-2, 5-6ab, 6c-7, 8-9a

Alleluia! Praise YHVH, my soul! I will sing to YHVH all my life; I will sing praise to God while I live.

Blessed are they whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in YHVH their God, Maker of heaven and earth, the sea and all they contain.

YHVH is forever faithful; He gives justice to the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. YHVH sets the prisoners free.

YHVH gives sight to the blind; YHVH loves the virtuous; but He brings to ruin the way of the wicked. YHVH straightens the bent. YHVH protects the stranger.

Tuesday, 15 June 2021 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

2 Corinthians 8 : 1-9

Now, I want you to know about a gift of divine grace among the Churches of Macedonia. While they were so afflicted and persecuted, their joy overflowed, and their extreme poverty turned into a wealth of generosity. According to their means – even beyond their means – they wanted to share, in helping the saints.

They asked us for this favour, spontaneously, and with much insistence, and, far beyond anything we expected, they put themselves at the disposal of the Lord, and of us by the will of God. Accordingly, I urged Titus to complete, among you, this work of grace, since he began it with you.

You excel in everything : in the gifts of faith, speech and knowledge; you feel concern for every cause and, besides, you are first in my heart. Excel, also, in this generous service. This is not a command; I make known to you the determination of others, to check the sincerity of your fraternal concern.

You know well, the generosity of Christ Jesus, our Lord. Although He was rich, He made Himself poor, to make you rich, through His poverty.

Monday, 14 June 2021 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Lord speaking to us about the nature of what being Christians is all about. We are all God’s chosen people, whom He has called from among all the nations to follow Him and to live in His presence. As such, we are expected to live our lives in the manner that is in accordance to our Christian faith. It means that we should do what the Lord has taught and commanded us to do.

In essence, the Lord has revealed to us what we ought to be doing as Christians, as we heard in our Gospel passage today. He calls on us to be someone who loves our fellow brethren sincerely and as people who can give ourselves for the benefit of all those whom we encounter in life, and as those who are filled with grace and righteousness in all things. The Lord said this using the example of someone who was asked to walk for a mile, and as Christians we ought to walk even the extra mile, and give more than what we are asked for.

This is not because by giving more that we will be rewarded better or benefit more. On the contrary, as Christians, such things should be the last things to be in our mind. We can be better Christians by getting rid from ourselves the corruption of worldly desires and our human pride. These are things that often distract us from the Lord and our focus on Him. We are often too burdened by the weight of our human desires and worldly concerns that we forgot what it means to become God’s chosen and beloved people.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are called to be different from the norms and ways of the world, to challenge the customs and standards of this world we live in, and to be the true and faithful bearers of our Christian faith and to be witnesses of Our Lord’s truth, His Passion and Resurrection, and His salvation among all the people of all the nations. As Christians we have to give ourselves and our very best to contribute to the good works and efforts of the Church in evangelisation and in the salvation of many more souls.

Are we able and willing to commit ourselves to the cause of the Lord, brothers and sisters in Christ? It will not be an easy path forward for us if we want to remain faithful and true as Christians, and as those whom God had called and chosen. Yet, if we remain faithful to Him and entrust ourselves to His care, through Him we shall do wonderful and great many deeds, which we may not even realise that we can do. For indeed, through God, everything is possible, and what may seem to be impossible for man, is possible for God.

And we do not have to do great and impressive things, brethren. What matters is that we do our best in our every actions and endeavours, giving our best in our respective capacity and abilities, even in the smallest things we do, in our own families and among our friends and acquaintances, in our community and when we are interacting with the strangers and all those whom we encounter throughout our lives. Through our small and yet significant, genuine and faithful actions, we truly bring glory to God and help to bring so many others to be closer to Him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, throughout this dark period and moments, as we are still suffering the various trials and tribulations, not least from the effects of the pandemic and economic uncertainty, growing inequality, racism and prejudice, increasing conflict and divisions both within our societies and among nations and peoples, we are all challenged to be the ones to break the chain of evil and the cycle of suffering and hatred. We are all called to be the light of the world, to be the beacons of Christ’s Light, sharing with all the hope that we have received from Him.

That is why, in each and every moments of our lives, let us all bear witness to His truth and love, by dedicating our every moments, our time and effort, and doing whatever we can to serve Him, even in the smallest of our contributions and works. Are we willing and able to commit ourselves in this, brothers and sisters in Christ? Let us all pray for strength, for courage, patience and perseverance, to remain faithful to the Lord, to be courageous to walk down the path that God has led us to, and that our love for one another will help us to lead others to the love of God, and to His salvation and eternal life. May God be with us all, and may God bless our every good works and endeavours, now and always. Amen.

Monday, 14 June 2021 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 5 : 38-42

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “You have heard, that it was said : An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I tell you this : do not oppose evil with evil; if someone slaps you on your right cheek, turn and offer the other. If someone sues you in court for your shirt, give him your coat as well.”

“If someone forces you to go one mile, go two miles with him. Give when asked, and do not turn your back on anyone who wants to borrow from you.”

Monday, 14 June 2021 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 97 : 1, 2-3ab, 3cd-4

Sing to YHVH a new song, for He has done wonders; His right hand, His holy arm, has won victory for Him.

YHVH has shown His salvation, revealing His justice to the nations. He has not forgotten His love, nor His faithfulness to Israel.

The farthest ends of the earth all have seen God’s saving power. All you, lands, make a joyful noise to YHVH, break into song and sing praise.

Monday, 14 June 2021 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

2 Corinthians 6 : 1-10

Being God’s helpers, we beg you : let it not be in vain, that you received this grace of God. Scripture says : At the favourable time I listened to you, on the day of salvation I helped you. This is the favourable time, this is the day of salvation.

We are concerned, not to give anyone an occasion to stumble or criticise our mission. Instead, we prove, we are true ministers of God, in every way, by our endurance in so many trials, in hardships, afflictions, floggings, imprisonment, riots, fatigue, sleepless nights and days of hunger.

People can notice, in our upright life, knowledge, patience and kindness, action of the Holy Spirit, sincere love, words of truth, and power of God. So we fight with the weapons of justice, to attack, as well as to defend. Sometimes, we are honoured, at other times, insulted; we receive criticism as well as praise. We are regarded as liars, although we speak the truth; as unknown, though we are well known; as dead, and yet we live.

Punishments come upon us, but we have not, as yet, been put to death. We appear to be afflicted, yet always joyful; we seem to be poor, but we enrich many; we have nothing, but we possess everything!

Sunday, 13 June 2021 : Eleventh Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we heard the very obvious reference to the kingdom of God, or the kingdom of Heaven throughout today’s Scripture readings, that try to give us a glimpse and understanding of what the Kingdom of God is all about. God had made it known and revealed to all of us the truth about His kingdom, where all of His beloved people are truly welcome.

In our first reading today we heard of the vision of the prophet Ezekiel who received the Lord’s message of hope and encouragement for His people, that He would restore them and bless them again, with the example of the cedar used to represent the people of God, restored and allowed to prosper once again. This message of hope and encouragement must be understood especially given the context that the prophet Ezekiel lived during the period of great humiliation and trials for the people of God, who have been scattered, crushed and driven away from their homeland.

And all these were caused by their own disobedience against God, their sinful and wicked ways, disregarding the Law and the commandments that God had given them, and instead, giving themselves to the worship of pagan idols and gods, and committing acts that were in violation of the Law and the Covenant that God has established with them. As a result, they had to suffer the consequences of their lack of faith and disobedience, and they were humiliated and uprooted from their ancestral lands, their cities destroyed and the Temple overturned.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, through the vision of the prophet Ezekiel, God wanted us all to see and know that He wants us to be reconciled with us, although we may have been sundered and separated from Him through sin. God’s love ultimately will overcome even the darkest sin and the greatest of obstacles and challenges, as long as we are willing to embrace the Lord and accept His love and compassionate mercy. Unfortunately, more frequently than not, we close ourselves off to the Lord and refuse to accept His generous love and mercy.

St. Paul mentioned this same truth when he spoke in his Epistle to the Church and the faithful in Corinth, our second reading passage today, reiterating how all of us although living in the body but we are separated from the Lord. And as long as we are separated and distant from Him, we will not be able to gain true joy, happiness and satisfaction that we can gain in the Lord alone. He also reminded us all the faithful that our every actions and deeds will be held against us if they have been contrary to the will of God, and these will determine our fate on the day of judgment.

That is why through today’s Scripture readings, God revealed to us just how wretched and pitiful our situation is being separated from Him and His love. That is why, just like the Israelites of old, who had suffered the consequences of their disobedience and sins, He reminded us all that ultimately, He still loves each and every one of us and wants us to be fully reconciled to Him, and to be restored to the graceful life that we all have been intended to enjoy and which is part of our assured inheritance.

Hence, He gave us all His own Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to be His best and most perfect gift to all of us, to be the source of all of our Hope and to be our guiding Light in this world darkened by sin. Through Him, God has brought His kingdom into this world, to be ruled by His own Son, Our Lord and King, Who brought and gathered all of us together to Himself, and Who has united all of us to Himself by assuming our own human nature. That is why He has also established God’s kingdom in this world, by establishing the Church, that manifestation of the kingdom of God on Earth.

Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ, what the prophet Ezekiel heard from the Lord regarding the cedar that the Lord picked to grow on a high mountain is fulfilled through Christ in His Church, our very own One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, the one and only true Church that God Himself has established in this world, as the real and tangible representation of His reign and kingdom, as what the Lord explained in our Gospel today through the parable, of a great tree with its vast branches, upon which many animals and birds perched and made as its home.

The Church blessed and sanctified by Christ, has been established as the symbol of unity among all of us, God’s beloved people, who share through Him and with Him a bond of unity and love, by our shared faith and love for God, and by our partaking of the New Covenant that God Himself has established with us. All of us are members of His Body, the visible Body of Christ, the kingdom of God manifested in this world as the proof of God’s reign and His love for the whole entire world, and His desire to see all of us mankind reunited and reconciled with Him.

That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we listened to the words of the Scripture today, we have to remind ourselves the important aspects of the Church, that is we are all One Church, all united in a common faith and love for God, a Holy Church that is always focused on the Lord and always obeying His will, His Law and commandments, a Catholic Church that is Universal in our reach and coverage, in welcoming all peoples regardless of their background, their race and origin, to come towards the Lord just as the great tree in the parable became a haven for all living beings.

And lastly, we have to be an Apostolic Church, that means we have to be a Church that is always reaching out and speaking up the truth of God, in being missionary and faithful, in being genuine in our way of life and faith, so that all those who see us, hear us and witness our actions and works will then come to know the Lord through us, and they may then also come to believe in Him through us. This is a calling and mission that all of us as Christians have, as part of our shared, common baptism, that as members of God’s Church, His kingdom on earth, we ought to glorify Him and made Him known to all.

Let us all not forget the Great Commission that the Lord has given to all of His Apostles and disciples in the end of His earthly journey, that we all ought to go forth to the nations, proclaiming His truth and love, and make all to be believers and faithful just as we believe in Him, to make disciples of all the peoples of all the nations and to baptise them in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This is so that more and more people may come to be part of the ever growing and ever expanding Church, God’s kingdom on Earth.

Let us ask ourselves then, brothers and sisters in Christ, whether we have done our part and done as we should as members of this wonderful kingdom of God? Or have we instead turned people away from the Lord and His Church by our own actions, filled with sin and wickedness, with selfishness and evil? These are the things that we really need to question ourselves and discern as we consider our path going forward in life. Are we going to continue living our lives walking in the path of sin and evil? Or are we going to allow the Lord to transform our lives to be His faithful servants and disciples?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all renew our faith to the Lord and commit ourselves wholeheartedly from now on, that we may be ever closer to Him and be ever more devoted and faithful to Him in all things. And as part of His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, let us all do whatever we can as part of His kingdom in this world, to call and bring ever more and more of our other brothers and sisters, to come to the Lord and be reconciled with Him, that everyone may come to know of God’s love and embrace Him as their Lord and Saviour, and be worthy together with all of us, to share in the divine and eternal banquet in Heaven.

May God bless us all and our every good works and endeavours, and may He strengthen each and every one of us with the courage and resolve to live ever more faithfully from now on, being good role models and inspirations of faith to one another. Amen.

Sunday, 13 June 2021 : Eleventh Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 4 : 26-34

At that time, Jesus also said, “In the kingdom of God it is like this : a man scatters seed upon the soil. Whether he is asleep or awake, be it day or night, the seed sprouts and grows, he knows not how. The soil produces of itself : first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when it is ripe for harvesting, they take the sickle for the cutting : the time for the harvest has come.”

Jesus also said, “What is the kingdom of God like? To what shall we compare it? It is like a mustard seed which, when sown, is the smallest of all the seeds scattered upon the soil. But once sown, it grows up and becomes the largest of the plants in the garden, and even grows branches so big, that the birds of the air can take shelter in its shade.”

Jesus used many such stories, in order to proclaim the word to them in a way that they would be able to understand. He would not teach them without parables; but privately to His disciples He explained everything.