Tuesday, 26 July 2022 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Joachim and St. Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listened to the words of the Lord speaking to us through the passages of the Sacred Scriptures, regarding the matter of God’s love for each one of us, and how each one of us are also called to lead a life that is both holy and worthy of God. We are constantly being reminded to turn towards God with faith, sin no more and to do no more what is wicked and unbecoming of our status as Christians. We are all called to be holy just as our Lord and God is holy, and to be righteous and just in the way that He has shown and taught us.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of the prophet Jeremiah, of the prayer which the prophet Jeremiah made on behalf of the people of God in Judah, which began with the Lord’s words mentioning how the Lord was sorrowful of the sufferings and the plight endured by His people in Jerusalem and Judah. They had endured a lot of trials and tribulations because of their own mistakes and disobedience against God, in turning towards the pagan gods and idols instead of the Lord, following the wicked ways of the world rather than turning back towards the Law and the commandments of God.

The Lord has sent His prophets again and again to help set His people on the right path and to remind them of what they had to do as His disciples and followers, as His flock and His people. However, the people had often hardened their hearts and minds, closed themselves off from the Lord and disobeyed Him time and again, and they often persecuted those prophets and messengers who had been sent to remind and guide them in the right paths. Yet, God was still ever patient in reaching out to them, because ultimately should they remain in sin, they would be lost to Him forever.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard the continuation of the parable which the Lord told His disciples, the parable of the wheat and the weeds, in which an enemy had spread weeds among the wheat crops in a field. The weeds cannot be removed from the wheat without killing the wheat crops themselves, and they also compete with the wheat crops for nutrients, water, space and more. The owner of the field, who represents the Lord our God, let both to grow together until the day of the harvest, when all the wheat were collected into the barns while the weeds are finally removed, burnt and destroyed.

This is a reminder to all of us, God’s beloved people that if we continue to live our lives in the manner of the wicked and if we remain in the state of sin, then we are like weeds growing in the field of the Lord, that is this world. On the other hand, if we are faithful to the Lord, then we are like the wheat growing wonderfully and fruitfully in the field of the Lord. And we have that choice whether we want to be like the wheat or to be like the weeds. God has given us all plenty of time and opportunities, the choices and the means for us to embrace Him, His love, His truth and His path. If only that we have the courage and the willingness to commit ourselves to that path towards His salvation.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are all reminded that while we still have the time and opportunity to do so, we should do our best to turn towards the Lord with contrite hearts and minds, seeking Him with all our hearts and with all our might and strength, and we should do our best to glorify God by our lives and actions from now on. We are all called to be exemplary in faith and to be role models for one another so that we can be true disciples of the Lord and truly are the healthy and fruitful wheat of the Lord’s field. That is our calling as Christians today, and we should do better by looking upon the examples of the great saints, our holy predecessors.

Today, we mark the Feast of the grandparents of the Lord, St. Joachim and St. Anne, the parents of Mary, the Mother of God. Although there was not much information that Apostolic tradition had on them, but as we saw how Mary turned out to be, as a truly devoted and dedicated woman, and as a committed servant of God, her parents must have prepared and guided her well. St. Joachim and St. Anne were remembered as loving parents who loved their daughter Mary and who taught her well in obeying God and in the ways of the world. They were Mary’s role models in life, and they should be ours too.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore seek the Lord with renewed faith and commitment, and do our best to live our lives in a true Christian manner, distancing ourselves from sin and wickedness, and being faithful in all things that we may become inspiration and role models for one another. May St. Joachim and St. Anne, their faith and dedication to God, their love for their daughter Mary, the Mother of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, continue to inspire us always. Amen.

Tuesday, 26 July 2022 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Joachim and St. Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 13 : 36-43

At that time, Jesus sent the crowds away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” Jesus answered them, “The One Who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world; the good seed are the people of the kingdom; the weeds are those who follow the evil one. The enemy who sows the weeds is the devil; the harvest is the end of time, and the workers are the Angels.”

“Just as the weeds are pulled up and burnt in the fire, so will it be at the end of time. The Son of Man will send His Angels, and they will weed out of His kingdom all that is scandalous and all who do evil. And these will be thrown into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the just will shine, like the sun, in the kingdom of their Father. If you have ears, then hear.”

Tuesday, 26 July 2022 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Joachim and St. Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 78 : 8, 9, 11, 13

Do not remember against us the sins of our fathers. Let Your compassion hurry to us, for we have been brought very low.

Help us, God, our Saviour, for the glory of Your Name; forgive us for the sake of Your Name.

Listen to the groans of the prisoners; by the strength of Your arm, deliver those doomed to die.

Then we, Your people, the flock of Your pasture, will thank You forever. We will recount Your praise from generation to generation.

Tuesday, 26 July 2022 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Joachim and St. Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Jeremiah 14 : 17-22

This you will say to them : Let My eyes shed tears night and day without ceasing! For a great wound has the virgin daughter of My people been wounded, a most grievous wound. If I go into the country, I see those slain by the sword. If I enter the city I see the ravages of famine. For the prophet and the priest did not understand what was happening in the land.

Have You then rejected Judah forever? Do You abhor Zion? Why have You wounded us and left us with no hope of recovery? We hoped for salvation but received nothing good; we waited for healing, but terror came! YHVH, we know our wickedness and that of our ancestors, and the times we have sinned against You.

For Your Name’s sake do not despise us; do not dishonour the throne of Your glory. Remember us. Do not break Your Covenant with us! Among the worthless idols of the nations, are there any who can bring rain, or make the skies send showers? Only in You, YHVH our God, do we hope, for it is You Who do all this.