Saturday, 14 July 2018 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Camillus de Lellis, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

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

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the word of God in the Scriptures, beginning with the account of the vision of the prophet Isaiah from the Old Testament. In that account, we heard about the great glory and majesty of God, in His true and eternal splendour in heaven, in His might and power, with the Angels by His side, praising His glory.

The prophet Isaiah, seeing this vision, was called by God to be His servant and messenger to His people, to spread the word of the Lord to His people and call them to be faithful and to remain united with God and follow His ways. The prophet was afraid, after seeing the great majesty of God and thought that he was doomed, as no one who is a sinner can see the face of God and live.

But the Angel of God, a Seraph, came and reassured Isaiah that God had chosen him from among His people to be His instrument and the means through which He would bring about many of His good works and intentions to fruition. And this is related to what we have heard in our Gospel passage today, in which the Lord Jesus told His disciples about what they must expect as His followers and His disciples.

The Lord essentially told them not to be worried or to be hesitant when His disciples follow Him and do His works. First of all, He mentioned about the need to remain strong and fearless amidst the opposition rallied against them by the forces of Satan. Indeed, the opposition against them might be fearsome and seemingly insurmountable or undefeatable, but God was with them. And that, is more than enough.

This can then, explain, why there were so many holy men and women, who chose to defend their faith and die a martyr during the early days of the Church, when the Church and the faithful were subjected to particularly vicious rounds of persecution, torture, arrest, rejection and suffering. Amidst the difficulties they faced, they still kept the faith and even inspired many more to follow their examples.

What we need to realise, brothers and sisters in Christ, is the fact that we may often feel inadequate, unworthy or even felt the reluctance to live truly in a Christian way, because of various reasons. We are therefore reluctant to live out our full Christian life, and in the end, many of us end up becoming lukewarm in our faith life. This is not what the Lord wants from us.

Do we remember how the Lord called His disciples? He said, “Take up your cross and follow Me.” This sentence alone summed up everything that the Lord wanted us to know, that being His disciples means we must be willing and be ready to embrace and to endure the sufferings and trials which will come our way, that is our crosses in life. Are we willing and ready to take up such a challenge of faith?

Today, we commemorate together the feast of St. Camillus de Lellis, a holy priest whose life was remembered for his great care and compassion for the poor and the sick. He himself had not been cared by his family and was neglected, and endured many hardships, including sickness and troubles that came by him every now and then. But, this holy saint of God persevered nonetheless to carry out the good works of God.

His zeal and love for God is shown in his love and care for those who are least fortunate and weakest in the society. He devoted himself to that cause and inspired many others to follow in his examples. He continued to suffer throughout his life from illnesses and other difficulties, but he entrusted himself to the Lord, and continued to do whatever good work God entrusted him, to the very end of his life.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, shall we not follow the example of this holy saint, as well as our numerous and countless predecessors, the holy saints and martyrs of the Church? Let us all begin our lives anew by redirecting our effort and attention to the Lord, so that we no longer live selfishly for ourselves, and seek our personal gratification and happiness over the suffering of others, but endeavour to do what we can, to love the Lord our God, and our fellow brethren, all the more from now on. May God bless us all. Amen.

Saturday, 14 July 2018 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Camillus de Lellis, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests 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, 14 July 2018 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Camillus de Lellis, Priest (Psalm)

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

Psalm 92 : 1ab, 1c-2, 5

YHVH reigns, robed in majesty; YHVH is girded with strength.

The world now, is firm; it cannot be moved. Your throne stands from long ago, o YHVH; from all eternity You are.

Your decrees can be trusted; holiness dwells in Your House, day after day, without end, o YHVH.

Saturday, 14 July 2018 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Camillus de Lellis, Priest (First Reading)

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

Isaiah 6 : 1-8

In the year that king Uzziah died I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted; the train of His robe filled the Temple. Above Him were Seraphs, each with six wings : two to cover the face, two to cover the feet, and two to fly with. They were calling to one another : “Holy, Holy, Holy is YHVH Sabaoth. All the earth is filled with His glory!”

At the sound of their voices the foundations of the threshold shook and the Temple was filled with smoke. I said, “Poor me! I am doomed! For I am a man of unclean lips living among a people of unclean lips, and yet I have seen the King, YHVH Sabaoth.”

Then one of the Seraphs flew to me; in his hands was a live coal which he had taken with tongs from the Altar. He touched my mouth with it and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin is forgiven.” Then I heard the voice of the Lord, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for Us?”

I answered, “Here I am. Send me!”

Friday, 13 July 2018 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Henry (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture beginning with the book of the prophet Hosea, in which the Lord spoke to His people through the prophet, calling in them to repent from their sinful ways and from their wicked paths. They have abandoned the Lord and His ways, and they have not been faithful, as they chose the pagan idols and the wicked false gods instead of God, Who has loved them and cared for them.

God was indeed angry at His people, and because they abandoned Him and placed their trust in things that did not come from God, they also encountered great sufferings in life, having to endure humiliation and persecution, exile and slavery in foreign lands. But God did not forget about His people, and in truth, He continued to love them regardless of their infidelity and rebelliousness.

That is why, through the prophet Hosea, God wanted to let His people to know that He loved them, and He cared for them very much, so much so that, should they repent from their sins, turn towards Him and embrace Him once again as their Lord and Master, He will bless them again, provide for them again, and return to them all that they had lost, their dignity and their livelihood.

Yet, if we read throughout the entirety of the Old Testament, as well as the New Testament, we can see, just how the people of God have repeatedly disobeyed God, they fell back into their sinful ways many times, again and again. They fell because of their inability to resist the temptations of the flesh and the many allures of worldliness present before them. They were overcome by their unbridled desire and pride.

It is to these people that the Lord Jesus sent His disciples, to do His works among them and to establish the foundations of the good work of salvation, which is now in the Church. He told them that He was sending them like sheep sent to be amidst the wolves. It was an analogy and metaphor for the kind of persecution, rejection and hostility that the Apostles would have to encounter during their mission and work.

But without these courageous people, who served the Lord wholeheartedly and with passion, there would not have been salvation for those many souls who have been lost and misguided into opposing God’s works. Those souls would have been condemned to eternity in hell, and many more would have been lost forever to the Lord. It was thanks to the hard work and perseverance of these faithful Apostles and disciples of the Lord, that this did not happen.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are called to realise that the works of the Apostles have not yet been completed. Instead, it is an ongoing process, as there are always more souls out there waiting to be saved, by receiving the truth and the Good News. And we are the successors of the good works of the Apostles, that by our contributions and works, we may continue to propagate the truth of God and His salvation to many more people.

And as mentioned, just as the Apostles had encountered obstacles, difficulties and opposition throughout their ministry, therefore, we will also likely encounter the same kind of trials and difficulties in our own. But this should not dissuade us from continuing to live our lives with faith, and from caring for those who have been lost and are sundered from God. Rather, it should in fact be an inspiration for us to do even more for the sake of our fellow brethren in need of our help.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today, we celebrate together the feast of St. Henry, Holy Roman Emperor as Henry II, the pinnacle and most supreme ruler of the Christendom aside from the Pope, the Vicar of Christ on earth. St. Henry, although a powerful ruler, but he was also remembered for his great piety and dedication to the Lord, and through his rulership, he helped to introduce important reforms that had far-reaching effects throughout the whole Christendom.

St. Henry lived with great piety, carrying out a celibate lifestyle, and devoted his whole life to the service of God. He supported the good works of the Church and helped in the process of the reform of the Church, particularly in the imposition of clerical celibacy and the enforcement of piety and good conduct among the clergy. He was also instrumental in encouraging missionary activities, leading to the conversion of many to the faith.

St. Henry is truly an inspiration to each and every one of us, showing us how to live honourably in faith, and filled with commitment and devotion to the Lord, even amidst difficulties and challenges, and all the obstacles that we will encounter in life. Even as a mighty Emperor, St. Henry also had to face many opposition, and he did so, with great piety and humility, devoting himself wholeheartedly to God.

Therefore, let us all devote ourselves anew to the Lord, and let us all seek to be ever closer to God and ever more committed every day of our lives, in serving Him through our every words, actions and deeds. May God bless us all, now and always. Amen.

Friday, 13 July 2018 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Henry (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints)

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, 13 July 2018 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Henry (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints)

Psalm 50 : 3-4, 8-9, 12-13, 14 and 17

Have mercy on me, o God, in Your love. In Your great compassion blot out my sin. Wash me thoroughly of my guilt; cleanse me of evil.

I know You desire truth in the heart; teach me wisdom in my inmost being. Cleanse me, with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, I shall be whiter than snow.

Create in me, o God, a pure heart; give me a new and steadfast spirit. Do not cast me out of Your presence nor take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Give me again the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. O Lord, open my lips, and I will declare Your praise.