Friday, 15 June 2018 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listened to the continuation of the passage from the Book of Kings, which saw the prophet Elijah coming into the holy presence of God, at the sacred site of the mountain of God in Sinai. It was probably the same place where the people of Israel made the Covenant with God through Moses, when He gave them His Laws and Commandments.

God reassured Elijah that He would be with His people, despite their constant rebelliousness and their descent into sin. Elijah was one of the few of the people who were still faithful to God, and he suffered greatly at the hands of the pagans who refused to believe in God, and instead chose to worship pagan idols and gods. They have forgotten about God’s love for them, and they had abandoned His laws and commandments.

In the Gospel passage today, we heard about the discourse from the Lord Jesus, Who told His disciples about how to be truly faithful to the Law of God. In that discourse, He told them about the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, who on one side appeared to be devout and even fanatical defenders and practitioners of the laws and rules that God had given them.

Why is that so? That is because they did all the observances of the Law and all the works of piety, all because they wanted to be recognised and glorified by other men, for their piety and dedication. But they have forgotten completely that the Law was not given to mankind for that corrupted purpose. Instead, God gave His laws to man so that they may turn away from their wickedness and from their rebellious behaviour, and follow the way of righteousness.

That is why, on the matter of divorce, as the Lord also mentioned in another part of the Gospels, the Lord made it very clear that divorce is something that is sinful and wicked, when it is done for the purpose of adultery, because a man cannot be satisfied with his wife and vice versa, and thus seeking ways to dissolve the sacred and sacramental bond of matrimony, and remarry again.

But the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law taught that the law according to Moses allowed the couple to enter into a divorce once they have completed the necessary administrative proceedings and satisfied the necessary documentations. In reality, it was likely that the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, the priests and all those involved in the process benefitted, as they were able to earn compensation for their work, and it is not surprising that they encouraged such practices to continue.

God made it very clear, that His laws are not for us man to misuse and abuse to our own preferences and desires. He intended it to be a guide for us, showing us the way and the path forward to take, in order to remain true and faithful to Him. This is what the Lord has shown us and taught us to do, and which He has revealed through His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore do our very best to be obedient to God, by truly loving Him and devoting ourselves to Him to the best of our abilities, and not showing merely external piety and devotion as the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law had done, but with true love, genuine faith and dedication. After all, the Lord Himself had been ever faithful to His Covenant with us, that He gave everything for our sake, not even withholding Himself from accepting death for us, on the cross.

May the Lord awaken in each and every one of us, the strong desire to love Him, just as He has loved us first, and may He help us to persevere in our faith, so that in everything we do, we will always persevere and strive to resist the temptation of pride, greed, ambition and all other things that have kept us away from God all these while. May God bless us all and our endeavours, now and always. Amen.

Friday, 15 June 2018 : 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, 15 June 2018 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 26 : 7-8a, 8b-9abc, 13-14

Hear my voice when I call, o Lord, have mercy on me and answer. My heart says to You, “I seek Your face, o Lord.”

Do not hide Your face from me nor turn away Your servant in anger. You are my Protector, do not reject me.

I hope, I am sure, that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Trust in the Lord, be strong and courageous. Yes, put your hope in the Lord!

Friday, 15 June 2018 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Kings 19 : 9a, 11-16

On reaching the place, Elijah came to the cave and stayed in it. Then YHVH said, “Go up and stand on the mount, waiting for YHVH.” And YHVH passed by.

There was first a windstorm, wild wind which rent the mountains and broke the rocks into pieces before YHVH, but YHVH was not in the wind. After the storm, an earthquake, but YHVH was not in the earthquake; after the earthquake, a fire, but YHVH was not in the fire; after the fire, the murmur of a gentle breeze.

When Elijah perceived it, he covered his face with his cloak, went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then he heard a voice addressing him again, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He answered, “I am burning with jealous love for YHVH, the God of Hosts, because the Israelites have forsaken Your Covenant, thrown down Your altars and slain Your prophets with the sword. No one is left but myself, yet they still seek my life to take it away.”

YHVH said to him, “Take the road back through the desert and go to Damascus, for you must anoint Hazael as king of Syria. You shall also anoint Jehu, son of Nimshi, as king over Israel. And Elisha, son of Shaphat, from Abel Meholah, you shall anoint as prophet in your place.”