Friday, 8 July 2022 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we all listened to the words of the Lord in the Scriptures, in which we are reminded of just how full of love the Lord is for each and every one of us. He has always loved us, patiently, reaching out to us sinners, even though we have consistently and persistently refused His efforts and kindness, all of the compassion that He has shown to us. God still called us, reached out to us, and gave us the opportunities to repent and to turn away from our sins because in the end, His love for us is still greater than His disgust for our sins and wickedness.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of the prophet Hosea the words of the Lord calling on all the Israelites to return to Him, calling on them to embrace once again His love and receive from Him the assurance of blessings and graces that had been lost by their disobedience and sins. Back then, the prophet Hosea was ministering to a people and a kingdom rampant with many sinful actions, disobedient and wicked attitudes in the people’s way of life, in disregarding the Law and the commandments, in their persecution of the prophets and the messengers sent to remind them of their errors and mistakes.

The prophet Hosea brought the people the words of the Lord’s warning to them on what they would soon endure and suffer from as a consequence of their repeated disobedience and evils, all that they had done to anger the Lord and in rejecting His patient and constant outreach to seek reconciliation between them and Himself. They would be defeated and humiliated, crushed and broken, and they would be brought away in exile to the far-off regions by their enemies, because they had disobeyed and abandoned the Lord. And yet, the Lord still loved them and wanted them all to know that He still desired for them to be reconciled with Him.

But this required them all to turn back towards the Lord with faith, to rediscover the love which they ought to have for Him, the One Who had truly loved them very much and Who had dedicated Himself to care for this race of mankind, despite all of their infidelities and stubborn attitudes. The Lord patiently called on the people to embrace His kindness, His willingness to heal them from their troubles and pains, to enter into the new life and path that He is calling them to follow, and He gave them all many opportunities and means to reach Him, sending His messengers and servants to help and guide them along the way.

That was what the Lord Himself told His disciples to do in our Gospel passage today, as He sent them forth to the world, in His own words, that He was sending them like ‘sheep among wolves’, that is to go to the people whom He willed to call, but who were often still stubborn to resist the call and those who were still attached to their sinful way of life. The Lord told His disciples to do His will and presented to them the reality of being His disciples and missionaries, that they would likely have to face rejection and hardships, even arrest and martyrdom in the process, in proclaiming the truth and love of God among His people.

However, at the same time, the Lord also reassured His disciples that He was not leaving them all alone in this. He would still be with them and He would guide them through their journey, and gave them the strength, the Wisdom and the means to do their mission, through the gifts of the Holy Spirit and more. The Lord has shown His great love and compassion to us, and He reminds us all that each and every one of us are called to a new life as Christian believers, to believe wholeheartedly in His truth and love. As Christians, we are all called to live our lives obeying the laws and commandments that God had given us, and to follow His path of righteousness and virtue.

Then, all of us as Christians are also partakers of the same mission which the Lord has entrusted to all of His disciples and followers. Through our faith, we are all called to live our lives with devotion, and to commit ourselves to be part of the Church’s mission and outreach to our various communities. And we do not have to think hard or to look far in our mission outreach, or to do great and marvellous things. In fact, it is by living our lives well and in accordance with our Christian faith that we shall be doing the will of God and be part of this missionary journey as one Church. Often, it is in doing all the small little things we can in each and every moments of our lives, in our small daily actions that we can inspire others and more people all around us to believe in God as well, through us and our own good examples.

May the Lord continue to inspire and strengthen us all each day, so that by our commitment, hard works and contributions, we may always be exemplary in faith, and we may grow ever closer to God, being more dedicated and faithful as Christians, at all times. May God be with us always and bless our every good works and endeavours, for His greater glory, now and always. Amen.

Friday, 8 July 2022 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 10 : 16-23

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Look, I send you out like sheep among wolves. You must be as clever as snakes and as innocent as doves. Be on your guard with people, for they will hand you over to their courts, and they will flog you in their synagogues. You will be brought to trial before rulers and kings because of Me, so that you may witness to them and the pagans.”

“But when you are arrested, do not worry about what you are to say, or how you are to say it; when the hour comes, you will be given what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father, speaking through you.”

“Brother will hand over his brother to death, and a father his child; children will turn against their parents and have them put to death. Everyone will hate you because of Me, but whoever stands firm to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next. I tell you the truth, you will not have passed through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.”

Friday, 8 July 2022 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 50 : 3-4, 8-9, 12-13, 14 and 17

Have mercy on me, o God, in Your love. In Your great compassion blot out my sin. Wash me thoroughly of my guilt; cleanse me of evil.

I know You desire truth in the heart; teach me wisdom in my inmost being. Cleanse me, with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, I shall be whiter than snow.

Create in me, o God, a pure heart; give me a new and steadfast spirit. Do not cast me out of Your presence nor take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Give me again the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. O Lord, open my lips, and I will declare Your praise.

Friday, 8 July 2022 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Hosea 14 : 2-10

Return to your God YHVH, o Israel! Your sins have caused your downfall. Return to YHVH with humble words. Say to Him, “Oh You Who show compassion to the fatherless forgive our debt, be appeased. Instead of bulls and sacrifices, accept the praise from our lips. Assyria will not save us : no longer shall we look for horses nor ever again shall we say ‘Our gods’ to the work of our hands.”

I will heal their wavering and love them with all My heart for My anger has turned from them. I shall be like dew to Israel like the lily will he blossom. Like a cedar he will send down his roots; his young shoots will grow and spread. His splendour will be like an olive tree. His fragrance, like a Lebanon cedar.

They will dwell in My shade again, they will flourish like the grain, they will blossom like a vine, and their fame will be like Lebanon wine. What would Ephraim do with idols, when it is I Who hear and make him prosper? I am like an ever-green cypress tree; all your fruitfulness comes from Me.

Who is wise enough to grasp all this? Who is discerning and will understand? Straight are the ways of YHVH : the just walk in them, but the sinners stumble.