Thursday, 12 July 2018 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are all yet again reminded of the great love and kindness which God has shown each and every one of us, His beloved ones. This He has done despite our constant disobedience and rebellion, which we have done regardless of the love God has shown us in so many situations and circumstances.

In the Old Testament, we can see how the people of Israel, having received so great a bounty and grace from God, having been rescued from slavery in Egypt, being protected and provided by God throughout their long journey in the desert, and having God as their Guide and Lord for so many years, and yet, they still betrayed Him and abandoned Him for other, false gods and idols.

But God never gave up on His people. Instead, He constantly and persistently sent to His people, prophets after prophets, and messengers after messengers, all with the same message, that is, repent and turn away from sin, and turn your attention to the Lord, your God, and follow Him with all of your hearts.

To that end, as St. John wrote in his Gospel, the famous quote, ‘For God so loved the world, that He sent us all His only Begotten Son, that through Him, all may be saved and have life in them’, that is why He sent us all Jesus Christ, His Son, into our midst, to reconcile us all with Him and to gather us all, His people, who have been scattered and lost due to our sins.

Yet as we have seen from what the Lord told His disciples in today’s Gospel passage and based on what we have known from the life and experiences of Our Lord, we see the same opposition which the Lord and His disciples had to face, in the midst of their good and dedicated work for the sake of the salvation of the very people who have rejected Him.

But that said, although there were those who rejected Him, there were also many more who listened to the Lord and accepted Him as their Lord and Saviour. That is the hope which the Lord wanted to bring to the world, that more and more will come to believe in His truth, and through reconciliation with God, find a new existence in Him and be worthy to receive the eternal grace and life from God.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, what each and every one of us as Christians must realise is that we are called by God to be the instruments through which He will perform His good works among His people, just as He had once called and sent out His disciples, especially the Twelve Apostles in their mission to bring the Good News to all the people of all nations.

Have we been living as ambassadors and messengers of the Lord as we are called to be? Have we lived our lives in accordance with God’s ways and followed the examples that He had shown us? Or have we instead scandalised our faith by our lack of action and genuine faith, and by our double standards in life, professing to believe in God on one hand, but then doing what is against God’s ways and abhorrent in His sight on the other?

Let us all today reflect on our way of life thus far, and discern in what manner we can be ever more faithful and committed to the Lord, by our every actions in life. May the Lord be with us, and may He strengthen each and every one of us in our faith, so that we may be able to find our way to Him, and that we can dedicate ourselves ever more to His cause, day after day. Amen.

Thursday, 12 July 2018 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 10 : 7-15

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Go, and proclaim this message : The kingdom of Heaven is near. Heal the sick, bring the dead back to life, cleanse the lepers, and drive out demons. Freely have you received, freely give. Do not carry any gold or silver or money in your purses. Do not take a travelling bag, or an extra shirt, or sandals, or a walking stick : workers deserve to be compensated.”

“When you come to a town or a village, look for a worthy person, and stay there until you leave. When you enter the house, wish it peace. If the people are worthy people, your peace will rest on them; if they are not worthy people, your blessing will come back to you.”

“And if you are not welcomed, and your words are not listened to, leave that house or that town, and shake the dust off your feet. I assure you, it will go easier for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment, than it will for the people of that town.”

Thursday, 12 July 2018 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 79 : 2ac and 3bc, 15-16

Listen, o Shepherd of Israel, You, Who sit enthroned between the Cherubim. Stir up Your might and come to save us.

Turn again, o YHVH of hosts, look down from heaven and see; care for this vine, and protect the stock Your hand has planted.

Thursday, 12 July 2018 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Hosea 11 : 1-4, 8c-9

I loved Israel when he was a child; out of Egypt I called My Son. But the more I have called, the further have they gone from Me – sacrificing to the Baals, burning incense to the idols. Yet, it was I Who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; yet, little did they realise that it was I Who cared for them.

I led them with cords of human kindness, with leading strings of love, and I became for them as One Who eases the yoke upon their neck and stoops down to feed them. My heart is troubled within Me and I am moved with compassion. I will not give vent to My great anger; I will not return to destroy Ephraim, for I am God and not human. I am the Holy One in your midst; and I do not want to come to you in anger.