Saturday, 13 July 2019 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Henry (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

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

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of God in the Scriptures speaking to us about living faithfully in God’s loving care and providence. God will never abandon those who are faithful to Him, and in fact, as we all should know, God will seek out even those who have fallen away from Him and left Him. If only we mankind realise just how great is the love which God has for each and every one of us.

In the first reading today first of all we heard of the last instruction which Jacob, the father of all Israelites told his twelve sons just before he passed away, and then followed by the worries that the brothers of Joseph had, when they saw that their father had passed away. They were worried that Joseph would take revenge on them for the terrible treatment he had suffered in the days of his youth, when they plotted and almost killed him and abandoned him to the slavers of Midian.

But Joseph reassured his brothers that it was far from him from desiring any form of revenge on his brothers, as it has been the will of God that everything happened as it had happened. Joseph was meant to go before his brothers to Egypt, to prepare the way for his entire family and to save all of them when the time of the great famine came. If it was not for Joseph suffering all those years, the whole family of Israel might have perished.

Of course, it had been tough for Joseph, but Joseph remained faithful throughout those turbulent and difficult years. He did not forget the Lord’s hands guiding him through the difficult times, and by the gift which God gave him in interpreting dreams, he managed to get himself out of slavery and prison, and even became the Regent and second most powerful man in Egypt after the Pharaoh himself.

That was what happened when someone kept his faith and trust in God rather than resorting to using one’s own ways and powers. God will not abandon us to destruction, and even though it may seem at times that we have a lot of trials and challenges ahead of us, with little hope and light in our path, but God will give His aid to us in His own mysterious ways, through mysterious venues and people we meet along our journey.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard the same reassurance that Our Lord Jesus Christ has shown to His disciples as He told them that they were truly beloved by God and has nothing to fear from those forces of the world that can bring about our destruction. For nothing in this world can destroy us completely and totally, except for the judgment of God. God alone has the power to judge us and our eternal soul into damnation.

And God does not willingly cast us out into the eternal darkness, unless it has been by our own conscious choice that we reject God’s love and kindness, compassion and mercy willingly without regretting and being ashamed of our sins and wickedness. Yet, are we aware of this love which God has for each and every one of us, or have we been so busy and preoccupied with ourselves and our worldly desires that we fail to recognise this?

On this day, we celebrate the feast of St. Henry, who was the Holy Roman Emperor and therefore the greatest ruler of Christendom approximately one thousand years ago. He was remembered for his great holiness and leadership, in his commitment to serve both God and His people, in his countless efforts to improve and grow the Church of God in supporting the expansion of dioceses and in building of many Church infrastructure, as well as in his commitment and service to His people.

He devoted his whole reign and life to the good of the Church and the people entrusted to him, and for his great love for God and for the trust that he has shown in the Lord and His Church, St. Henry, holy servant of God and Holy Roman Emperor should be our inspiration in how we ought to live our own lives in this world as well. We should be inspired by his zeal and piety, his dedication to God and for his love to his fellow men.

Let us all therefore also put our trust in God from now on, turning to Him with all of our hearts and with all of our strength, living our lives with a renewed purpose, that is to love Him and to serve Him ever more faithfully from now on. May God bless us all and our good endeavours. Amen.

Saturday, 13 July 2019 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Henry (Gospel Reading)

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

Matthew 10 : 24-33

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “A student is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. A student should be content to become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If the head of the household has been called Beelzebul, how much more, those of his household! So, do not be afraid of them!”

“There is nothing covered that will not be uncovered. There is nothing hidden that will not be made known. What I am telling you in the dark, you must speak in the light. What you hear in private, proclaim from the housetops. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body, but have no power to kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of Him Who can destroy both body and soul in hell.”

“For a few cents you can buy two sparrows. Yet not one sparrow falls to the ground without your Father knowing. As for you, every hair of your head has been counted. Do not be afraid : you are worth more than many sparrows! Whoever acknowledges Me before others, I will acknowledge before My Father in heaven. Whoever rejects Me before others, I will reject before My Father in heaven.”

Saturday, 13 July 2019 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Henry (Psalm)

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

Psalm 104 : 1-2, 3-4, 6-7

Give thanks to YHVH, call on His Name; make known His works among the nations. Sing to Him, sing His praise, proclaim all His wondrous deeds.

Glory in His holy Name; let those who seek YHVH rejoice. Look to YHVH and be strong; seek His face always.

You descendants of His servant Abraham, you sons of Jacob, His chosen ones! He is YHVH our God; His judgments reach the whole world.

Saturday, 13 July 2019 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Henry (First Reading)

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

Genesis 49 : 29-32 and Genesis 50 : 15-26a

Jacob then gave his sons these instructions : “I am soon to be gathered to my people; bury me near my fathers, in the cave in the field of Ephron, the Hittite; in the cave in the field of Machpelah, to the east of Mamre in Canaan, the field that Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite as a burial place. It was there that Abraham and his wife Sarah were buried. There they buried Leah. The field and the cave in it were purchased from the Hittites.”

When Joseph’s brothers realised that their father was dead they said, “What if Joseph turns against us in hate because of the evil we did him?” So they sent word to Joseph saying, “Before he died your father told us to say this to you : Please forgive the crime and the sin of your brothers in doing evil to you. Forgive the crime of the servants of your father’s God.”

When he was given the message, Joseph wept. His brothers went and threw themselves down before him, “We are your slaves,” they said. But Joseph reassured them, “Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? You intended to do me harm, but God intended to turn it to good in order to bring about what is happening today – the survival of many people. So have no fear! I will provide for you and your little ones.” In this way he touched their hearts and consoled them.

Joseph remained in Egypt together with all his father’s family. He lived for a hundred and ten years, long enough to see Ephraim’s great-grandchildren, and also to have the children of Machir, the son of Manasseh, placed on his knees after their birth.

Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am going to die, but God will surely remember you and take you from this country to the land He promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” Joseph then made the sons of Israel swear, saying, “When God comes to bring you out from here, carry my bones with you.” Joseph died at the age of one hundred and ten.

Friday, 12 July 2019 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day the Scripture passages speak to us about the reassurance that God gives us mankind, because of the great love He has for each and every one of us. He has reassured His faithful servant Jacob, also known as Israel, in our first reading today from the Book of Genesis, and He also reassured His disciples in our Gospel passage, when He sent them to be witnesses and to be evangelisers of the Good News.

In the first reading today, we heard of Jacob who was on his way to the land of Egypt, having heard the news that his beloved son Joseph, once thought to be dead, was in fact alive and was the powerful Regent of Egypt. In his heart, Jacob still doubted that it was the truth, but God came to Him in a dream and reassured him that this was in fact true, and he would once again reunited with Joseph and his whole family.

God assured Jacob that it was the way meant for Jacob and his family, in going to Egypt to survive through the difficult years of famine, and He would always watch over His people wherever He brought them to. And He remained faithful to that promise, even many centuries afterwards, when the people of Israel after many generations were oppressed by the Egyptians and their Pharaoh in slavery.

He sent them Moses to be their deliverer, freeing them from the yoke of the Pharaoh and brought them out of the land of Egypt and returning them to the land which He has promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, their forefathers. God guided them along the way, and even though the people were rebellious and wicked, He continued to lead them on regardless while punishing them for their disobedience, like that of a father disciplining his child.

In the Gospel passage today, we then heard about the sending of the disciples of the Lord, as they were sent out to lead the way for the Lord’s coming, working among the people of God, ministering to them and delivering the truth of God to them, and God made it clear to them that their tasks were not easy. There would be challenges and obstacles they would have to face, and they would suffer rejection and persecution.

But in the end, God is always ever faithful and loving, and He will not abandon His faithful ones no matter what. He would be with them and He would guide them through the difficult times, providing them with what they need and giving them the necessary strength to persevere through the most difficult challenges. As the Lord said to His disciples, even those who are closest to them could betray them and bring harm to them, but regardless, He will always keep them in His love.

That is why we need to keep our faith in God, knowing that when everything else is lost, and when we think that no one else in this world cares for us or believes in us, God is always there for us, no matter what. And we need to know this, so that we too may believe in Him. Many have fallen deeper and deeper into sin and into despair because they had no faith in God’s love and providence.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore, all of us as Christians, who have been called to succeed and continue the good works of the Apostles, we also ought to put our trust in God, just as Jacob and the Apostles have been faithful and trusting in God. Let us all draw ever closer to Him, let us all trust Him with more commitment from now on, and devote ourselves, our effort and time to serve Him.

May the Lord continue to guide us in our journey of life, and may He strengthen us in faith, that each and every one of us may draw immensely from the font of God’s love and grace, from His providence and care. May He empower us to live ever more Christian-like, each and every moments of our lives. Amen.

Friday, 12 July 2019 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 10 : 16-23

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Look, I send you out like sheep among wolves. You must be as clever as snakes and as innocent as doves. Be on your guard with people, for they will hand you over to their courts, and they will flog you in their synagogues. You will be brought to trial before rulers and kings because of Me, so that you may witness to them and the pagans.”

“But when you are arrested, do not worry about what you are to say, or how you are to say it; when the hour comes, you will be given what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father, speaking through you.”

“Brother will hand over his brother to death, and a father his child; children will turn against their parents and have them put to death. Everyone will hate you because of Me, but whoever stands firm to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next. I tell you the truth, you will not have passed through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.”

Friday, 12 July 2019 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 36 : 3-4, 18-19, 27-28, 39-40

Trust in YHVH and do good; dwell in the land and live on it. Make YHVH your delight; and He will grant your heart’s desire.

YHVH watches over the lives of the upright; forever will their inheritance abide. They are not crushed in times of calamity; when famine strikes, they still are satisfied.

Do good and shun evil, so that you will live secure forever. For YHVH loves justice and right, and never forsakes His faithful ones. The wicked, instead, will perish, and their breed will be cut off.

YHVH is the salvation of the righteous; in time of distress, He is their refuge. YHVH helps them, and rescues them from the oppressor; He saves them, for they sought shelter in Him.