Thursday, 21 July 2022 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Lawrence of Brindisi, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we heard the reminder of how much God has loved us and how much He had done for all of us, throughout all the time. God has always shown us His patient care and love, and He was always ever patient although we have often disregarded His love, disobeyed Him and being wayward and wicked in our way of life. The Lord wants us to listen to Him, hearken to His words and to follow His path that we may not end up falling into the wrong paths, and be trapped by the whims of our desires and sin.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of the prophet Jeremiah in which the Lord spoke of the great and wonderful things which He had done for them, and all the love He had shown them throughout the ages, and yet at the same time, of how those same people had rejected Him and refused His love, in worshipping pagan idols and gods, offering sacrifices to them and by doing what were wicked in the eyes of the Lord. They had not been faithful to God and disregarded His reminders and calls, persecuting the prophets who had been sent to them in order to remind them to be faithful to God and to be reconciled with Him.

Today we are then presented with the words of the Lord speaking to the disciples regarding the matter why He always preferred to speak in parables, as the disciples were wondering why He did so. The Lord told all of them that He revealed the secrets and truths of the kingdom of Heaven to them, while those who have not committed themselves to Him and refused to believe in Him would not understand or appreciate those words of truth that He has spoken to them. The ones who were willing to listen to the Lord would receive the revelation and the truth, by their faith and the guidance, the wisdom and the Holy Spirit that the Lord would grant them.

All these are therefore reminders for us, that we should not harden our hearts and minds against the Lord, especially viewing how in the past, many of our predecessors had faltered and fallen off unto the path of sin precisely because they shut themselves off from the Lord, were proud and haughty, and unwilling to listen to the Lord calling in their hearts and minds, for them to seek His truth and to repent from their wayward paths. They often trusted in their own abilities, intellects and strengths rather than to trust in God and in His providence, all of which had been given freely by God to guide all people to Himself.

As such, that is why many had fallen in the past in the path towards redemption in God. That is why we are reminded that we ourselves should not fall into that same path and traps, of temptations and worldly attachments that can easily lead us astray in our journey towards the Lord. That is why we are called to live our lives from now on with greater and more genuine faith, dedicating ourselves to the service of God and glorifying Him by our lives and actions. And today, we should reflect upon the great examples and inspiration that had been shown by one of our predecessors, namely that of St. Lawrence of Brindisi.

St. Lawrence of Brindisi was a renowned priest and member of the Capuchin Franciscans, who throughout his life had dedicated himself to God and to the people he was ministering to, actively establishing monasteries and communities of the faithful, working hard to reach out to the people of God, and through his many works, helping to restore the lack of spiritual life and connection with God that many people back then often experienced. Through his many works and writings, he exposed the errors of the heretical and wayward teachings of many preachers who fell out of the Church and led to the splintering of the many factions during the ‘reformation’ period.

The commitment and hard work of St. Lawrence of Brindisi reminds us of the kind of faith and love that each and every one of us as Christians should have for the Lord. He has given his time, life and efforts to serve and glorify the Lord, regardless of the challenges and hardships that he had to encounter. Are we also capable of this kind of faith and dedication, brothers and sisters in Christ? Are we able to entrust ourselves wholly in the Lord and be truly faithful and committed to Him? And are we willing to listen to Him and to welcome Him and His truth and love into our hearts? These are important questions that we should be reflecting on this day.

May the Lord continue to guide us in our journey, and may He continue to strengthen each one of us so that we may always walk faithfully in His presence, inspired by the examples of His saints, of St. Lawrence of Brindisi and that of innumerable other holy men and women, saints of God. Amen.

Thursday, 21 July 2022 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Lawrence of Brindisi, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Matthew 13 : 10-17

At that time, the disciples of Jesus came to Him and said, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” Jesus answered, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but not to these people. For the one who has will be given more; and he will have in abundance. But the one who does not have will be deprived of even what he has. That is why I speak to them in parables; because they look and do not see; they hear; but they do not listen or understand.”

“In them, the words of the prophet Isaiah are fulfilled : However much you hear, you do not understand; however much you see, you do not perceive. For the heart of this people has grown dull. Their ears hardly hear and their eyes dare not see. If they were to see with their eyes, hear with their ears and understand with their heart, they would turn back, and I would heal them.”

“But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. For I tell you, many prophets and righteous people have longed to see the things you see, but they did not see them; and to hear the things you hear, but they did not hear them.”

Thursday, 21 July 2022 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Lawrence of Brindisi, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Psalm 35 : 6-7ab, 8-9, 10-11

Your love, o God, reaches the heavens; Your faithfulness, to the clouds. Your justice is like the mighty mountains; Your judgement, like the unfathomable deep.

How precious, o God, is Your constant love! Mortals take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. In Your house they find rich food and they drink from Your spring of delight.

For with You is the fountain of life, in Your light we see light. Bestow on Your faithful, Your love; and give salvation to the upright of heart.

Thursday, 21 July 2022 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Lawrence of Brindisi, Priest and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Jeremiah 2 : 1-3, 7-8, 12-13

A word of YHVH came to me, “Go and shout this in the hearing of Jerusalem. This is YHVH’s word : I remember your kindness as a youth, the love of your bridal days, when you followed Me in the wilderness, through a land not sown. Israel was holy to YHVH, the first fruits of His harvest. All who ate of it had to pay and misfortune fell on them – it is YHVH Who speaks.”

“I brought you to a fertile land to eat of the choicest fruit. As soon as you came you defiled My land and dishonoured My heritage! The priests did not ask, ‘Where is YHVH?’ The masters of My teaching did not know Me; the pastors of My people betrayed Me; the prophets followed worthless idols and spoke in the name of Baal.”

“Be aghast at that, o heavens! Shudder, be utterly appalled – it is YHVH Who speaks – for My people have done two evils : they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living water, to dig for themselves leaking cisterns that hold no water!”