Tuesday, 27 July 2021 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard from the Scriptures a reminder for each and every one of us to be truly faithful to God and to be righteous in our way of life and deeds, so that we are truly worthy of being Christians, as God’s chosen and beloved people. We have heard the story of Moses from our first reading today, proclaiming God’s love for His people, and all the obligations and commitment that they all need to make as part of the Covenant which God has lovingly made with them, as they were chosen and affirmed as God’s precious ones. And then we also heard the words of the Lord Jesus explaining the meaning of His parable of the weeds which I will elaborate a bit more later on.

In our first reading, we heard of the moment when Moses before the assembled people of Israel as they gathered before the Lord at the Holy Tent, entered the Tent to meet with God, Whose Presence came to reside within the Holy Tent, and Moses came to see God face to face, a privilege which few would ever have. God came to dwell among His people and Moses came to be the one to bear God’s will and commandments, words and advice to His people, a people who have often been wayward and disobedient, who preferred to follow their own paths rather than to follow the Lord and His Law.

We heard Moses then supplicating on behalf of the entire people, proclaiming the regret the people had for their sins, and sought God to be merciful and to forgive the people all of their sinful and wayward actions, which had angered Him and made them to be punished for their intransigence. The whole people were with Moses and worshipped the Lord, all bowing down themselves before Him, after what they had done in past events, as earlier in the week we have heard how the Israelites betrayed the Lord for the golden calf idol, abandoned His Covenant and walked in the path of sin. It was not just once that they did this, but many times, repeatedly over the years, again and again.

Yet, throughout all of that, God was most patient in His love and mercy for His people, as while He did admonish them and punish them to keep them in check and to remind them of what they ought to be doing as God’s chosen ones, He sent them numerous prophets and messengers to guide them and lead them down the right path, prophets such as Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos among many others. That God was so patient in dealing with His people and leading them to Him despite their rebellious and wayward attitude revealed just how beloved and fortunate all of us have been.

That is why we have to appreciate our blessings and the opportunities we have been given, all these while. The Lord Himself spoke to His disciples, telling them all the meaning of His parable of the wheat and the weeds, as that parable spoke of an enemy who sowed weeds among the wheat, growing together and cannot be separated until the day of harvest. It is a reminder for us all that we have to persevere and resist the temptations to sin, the pressure to conform to worldly desires and wickedness, the allures of evils and sins all around us.

Those things are the ‘weeds’ that are part of our lives and which often cannot be avoided as we live our lives daily. There will be lots of times when we will feel surrounded and even helpless in the face of all the opposition, temptations and evils, and that we may be discouraged and disheartened, weakened and have that wish to give up the struggle. However, the Lord wanted to reassure us all that He is with us, and He dwells among us, being with us, journeying with us. We are never alone throughout the journey, and just as He had been with the Israelites through thick and thin, through hardships and good times, He is also with us too.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all turn towards the Lord and see in Him a great love and compassion which He has shown to each and every one of us, out of the desire to be reconciled and reunited with us. And therefore, are we all willing to live our lives from now on in a more worthy manner, filled with faith and filled with ever greater love for God? Are we willing to let God guide us and show us the way going forward that we will not end up on the wrong path, and that we may be strengthened and encouraged to keep faithfully the way of the Lord?

Let us all discern these things carefully and consider how we can live our lives in a more Christ-like manner, as genuine and faithful Christians in all things. Let us all turn towards the Lord with renewed faith and with zeal, doing whatever we can, even in our smallest ways, to do the will of God and to be exemplary as best as we can in each and every moments of our lives and be inspiration to one another to remain truly faithful to God. May the Lord be with us all and may He give us the strength and courage to remain faithful at all times. May God bless us all, now and always, forevermore. Amen.

Tuesday, 27 July 2021 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

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, 27 July 2021 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 102 : 6-7, 8-9, 10-11, 12-13

YHVH restores justice and secures the rights of the oppressed. He has made known His ways to Moses; and His deeds, to the people of Israel.

YHVH is gracious and merciful, abounding in love and slow to anger; He will not always scold nor will He be angry forever.

He does not treat us according to our sins, nor does He punish us as we deserve. As the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His love for those fearing Him.

As far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove from us our sins. As a father has compassion on his children, so YHVH pities those who fear Him.

Tuesday, 27 July 2021 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Exodus 33 : 7-11 and Exodus 34 : 5b-9, 28

Moses then took the Tent and pitched it for himself outside the camp, at a distance from it, and called it the Tent of Meeting. Whoever sought YHVH would go out to the Tent of Meeting outside the camp. And when Moses went to the Tent all the people would stand, each one at the entrance to his tent and keep looking towards Moses until he entered the Tent.

Now, as soon as Moses entered the Tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and remain at the entrance to the Tent, while YHVH spoke with Moses. When all the people saw the pillar of cloud at the entrance to the Tent, they would arise and worship, each one at the entrance to his own tent. Then YHVH would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his neighbour, and then Moses would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua, son of Nun, would not leave the Tent.

And Moses called on the Name of YHVH. Then YHVH passed in front of him and cried out, “YHVH, YHVH is a God full of pity and mercy, slow to anger and abounding in truth and loving kindness. He shows loving kindness to the thousandth generation and forgives wickedness, rebellion and sin; yet He does not leave the guilty without punishment, even punishing the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.”

Moses hastened to bow down to the ground and worshipped. He then said, “If You really look kindly on me, my Lord, please come and walk in our midst and even though we are a stiff-necked people, pardon our wickedness and our sin and make us Yours.”

Moses remained there with YHVH forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. He wrote on the tablets the words of the Covenant – the Ten Commandments.