Thursday, 7 July 2022 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we all heard from the readings of the Scriptures the words of the Lord proclaiming yet again His love and generous compassion for each and every one of us. The Lord has shown us His generosity and kindness, even though we have often sinned against Him, disobeyed Him and refusing to listen to Him. He still loves us no matter what, but at the same time, is calling us to turn away from our path of sin and evil, and to embrace once again His ways, to return to Him with contrite heart filled with love for Him.

In our first reading today, we heard from the prophet Hosea, the words of the Lord reassuring His people of the love that He has always had for them, and how He would continue to love them and provide for them, as He had done in the past even though they had disobeyed and transgressed against Him. God highlighted the sins and wickedness that the people had done, in worshipping the pagan gods and idols, in persecuting the prophets and servants whom the Lord had sent to their midst to remind them and to guide them back to the right path. Despite all these, God still loved them and desired for them to be reconciled with Him.

However, as I mentioned earlier, the people’s sins and transgressions still had to be addressed and resolved. They could not continue to remain in sin, and as long as they still stubbornly remained on their path, they would have to suffer the consequences. If we remember what the prophet Hosea spoke in the other occasions throughout this week’s passages, in other parts of his book, then we should also remember that God also told His people of the consequences of their continued sins and transgressions, that they would be uprooted from the lands of their ancestors, their cities destroyed and them scattered throughout the nations.

Through what we have heard in our first reading today, we can see that God is indeed like a Father to all of us, His people. As as our Father, He certainly loves us all, just as He showed the Israelites through the words of the prophet Hosea and the actions He had done for their ancestors in the past. But at the same time, as a Father Who truly loves His children, He also does not want any of us His children to fall into the wrong path. Hence, as any fathers should rightly do, at times, there is a need for us to be disciplined and to understand and feel, to experience the consequences for our mistakes.

And God did not do so because He hated us. Instead, it was exactly because of that love He has for us that He has reached out to us with that same love. He loves us such that He wants us all to learn that in order for us to be truly worthy to be called His children and His people, then each and every one of us must do what we can, in our respective areas and capacities, in whatever callings and vocations we have in life, to be active in living up to our faith, and be exemplary in our every words, actions and deeds, in our interactions with one another so that everyone can indeed recognise God being present through us.

That is why all of us are called as we heard in our Gospel passage today, to be His faithful disciples and witnesses, like the ones whom the Lord Jesus Himself sent out before Him, to go forth to the many places that He Himself was to visit, and others, so that they might proclaim the Good News of truth to more and more of the people who have not yet known them. The Lord called on those disciples to do His will, and they went forth, dedicating themselves to their ministry. In the same manner, all of us are also called by God in the same way, to turn our backs against our old ways of sin, and to embrace wholeheartedly His path and righteousness.

The Lord has called on us all, His children and His people to follow Him and to reach out to others who have not yet known Him. And the best way for us to do it, is by living our lives faithfully to the best way we can do it. We have to lead good examples so that we may become inspiration for all others whom we encounter in life, or else, if we do not do so, or worse still, doing things that are contrary to our faith, then we may end up turning people away from God and preventing them from finding their way towards God’s salvation and grace.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore strive to live good Christian lives from now on. Let us all no longer be swayed easily by the corruptions of sin, and by the many temptations of worldly desires. May God help us and strengthen us so that each and every one of us may draw ever closer to Him, and we may grow ever stronger in our faith, now and always, evermore. Amen.

Thursday, 7 July 2022 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 10 : 7-15

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Go, and proclaim this message : The kingdom of Heaven is near. Heal the sick, bring the dead back to life, cleanse the lepers, and drive out demons. Freely have you received, freely give. Do not carry any gold or silver or money in your purses. Do not take a travelling bag, or an extra shirt, or sandals, or a walking stick : workers deserve to be compensated.”

“When you come to a town or a village, look for a worthy person, and stay there until you leave. When you enter the house, wish it peace. If the people are worthy people, your peace will rest on them; if they are not worthy people, your blessing will come back to you.”

“And if you are not welcomed, and your words are not listened to, leave that house or that town, and shake the dust off your feet. I assure you, it will go easier for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment, than it will for the people of that town.”

Thursday, 7 July 2022 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 79 : 2ac and 3bc, 15-16

Listen, o Shepherd of Israel, You, Who sit enthroned between the Cherubim. Stir up Your might and come to save us.

Turn again, o YHVH of hosts, look down from heaven and see; care for this vine, and protect the stock Your hand has planted.

Thursday, 7 July 2022 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Hosea 11 : 1-4, 8c-9

I loved Israel when he was a child; out of Egypt I called My Son. But the more I have called, the further have they gone from Me – sacrificing to the Baals, burning incense to the idols. Yet, it was I Who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; yet, little did they realise that it was I Who cared for them.

I led them with cords of human kindness, with leading strings of love, and I became for them as One Who eases the yoke upon their neck and stoops down to feed them. My heart is troubled within Me and I am moved with compassion. I will not give vent to My great anger; I will not return to destroy Ephraim, for I am God and not human. I am the Holy One in your midst; and I do not want to come to you in anger.