Sunday, 18 July 2021 : Sixteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 6 : 30-34

At that time, the Apostles returned and reported to Jesus all they had done and taught. Then He said to them, “Let us go off by ourselves into a remote place and have some rest.” For there were so many people coming and going that the Apostles had no time even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a secluded area by themselves.

But people saw them leaving, and many could guess where they were going. So, from all the towns, they hurried there on foot, arriving ahead of them. As Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and He had compassion on them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd. And He began to teach them many things.

Wednesday, 7 July 2021 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 10 : 1-7

At that time, Jesus called His Twelve disciples to Him, and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to drive them out, and to heal every disease and sickness.

These are the names of the Twelve Apostles : first Simon, called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew, the tax collector; James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon, the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, the man who would betray Him.

Jesus sent these Twelve on mission, with the instruction : “Do not visit pagan territory and do not enter a Samaritan town. Go, instead, to the lost sheep of the people of Israel. Go, and proclaim this message : The kingdom of Heaven is near.”

Saturday, 3 July 2021 : Feast of St. Thomas, Apostle (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast day of one of Our Lord’s Twelve Apostles, namely St. Thomas the Apostle, also known as Thomas Didymus or the Twin, and as we may have known quite well, that he was one who often doubted the Lord and even publicly questioned His decisions and actions. Yet, later on he would become one of the Lord’s most fervent evangelisers and workers of faith, dying as a martyr in a distant land and glorifying the Lord.

St. Thomas was always the most skeptical among the Lord’s disciples, as he did not appear to fully trust in the Lord, and was pessimistic when the Lord wanted to go to Jerusalem to fulfil His mission, despite the advice against doing so by His disciples. St. Thomas publicly said before all of them that, in a rather sarcastic way, they should all follow the Lord so that they could also suffer with Him and die along with Him.

When the Lord was risen from the dead, St. Thomas happened to be not among the other disciples, and did not witness the Lord appearing for the first time in His Risen glory before all the other disciples. And we heard from our Gospel passage today, how St. Thomas again refused to believe and even then publicly declared before the other disciples how he would not believe unless he could prove that the Risen Lord is truly the same One crucified, by touching His wounds and putting his hand into the Lord’s pierced side.

And the Lord then appeared again before all the disciples and St. Thomas included, and asked him directly to do as he said he would do to prove that the Lord had indeed risen from the dead. From what we have heard in the Gospel passage, we can clearly see how dumbfounded and surprised St. Thomas was, as his doubt was proven to be wrong, and the Lord Himself appeared in the flesh before him. He humbled himself utterly and proclaimed before all, ‘My Lord and my God.’

These are the same words that we utter whenever the Lord’s Most Precious Body and Blood in the Eucharist are elevated and raised in the most solemn occasion, as the celebrant uttered the words of consecration, proclaiming the presence of the Lord before all the faithful, truly present in the bread and wine which the priest, by the power and authority of the Lord, had transformed completely into the matter, essence and reality of the Lord’s own Holy Body and Blood.

Then, do we all recall the Lord’s words after St. Thomas uttered those words? He said, ‘Happy are those who believe because they have seen, but even happier and more blessed are those who have not seen, and yet believed.’ This is truly significant for us because, while we have not seen the Lord in the human form as the disciples like St. Thomas had seen, but we still believe that the Eucharist is the Lord Himself, in the flesh, the Real Presence of Our Lord.

Yet, there are also still so many of us who doubted this truth, and many of us who refused to believe in the Real Presence, especially among some of our separated brethren in faith. And within the Church, there are sadly still many of those who outwardly profess to believe in the Real Presence of God in the Eucharist, but behaved in the manner that is contradictory to that belief, in how they treated the Eucharist, by receiving the Eucharist in an unworthy state, or treating it as no more than just mere bread and wine, without proper decorum, respect and honour, less still worship and adoration.

Then in that manner, we are also no better than how St. Thomas was before he turned wholeheartedly to the Lord at the moment when he fully acknowledged Him as his Lord and Master. And now, we are called to reflect on our own attitudes in life, and also our perception and attitude towards the Lord in the Eucharist. Have we been truly faithful to the Lord? Or have we allowed our doubts and lack of faith and understanding of this faith to mislead us and make us to doubt the Lord and His truth and love for us?

Many of us often do not realise that we are doing exactly what St. Thomas had been doing in doubting the Lord earlier in his life, by our own lack of reverence and adoration for the Holy Eucharist, as well as our own sinful and wayward lifestyle, in contrast with the righteousness of God. We are often stubborn in walking down the path of sin rather than the path of righteousness. This is why, we should then be like St. Thomas, who turned away from his doubts and embraced the Lord wholeheartedly.

He would go on to preach the Christian faith in many places, most famously and significantly in what is now the southern regions of India, where he established the firm foundations of Christian communities there, which lasted till this very day, often known as the ‘St. Thomas Christians’. He brought God’s truth to all these people, and revealed Him to them so that through this, more and more people can be saved from their sins and wicked ways. St. Thomas would suffer and die a martyr’s death in the end of his missionary journey, obedient and faithful to the very end.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us also therefore cast off the shade and veil of doubt from our eyes and from our minds, and from our hearts. Let us entrust ourselves fully from now on to the Lord, and commit ourselves, each and every moments of our lives, that we may always walk in the path of His light and truth, and we may always be faithful and righteous in all things, that everyone who see us and witness our works and actions, will know that we belong to the Lord and that God lives within us.

May God bless us always and may He remain with us in our journey of faith and life. May He strengthen each one of us with courage and hope, to endure and persevere through the challenges and trials we are facing daily, for His sake, and for the greater glory of His Name. Amen.

Saturday, 3 July 2021 : Feast of St. Thomas, Apostle (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

John 20 : 24-29

At that time, Thomas, the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with the other Eleven when Jesus came. The other disciples told Him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he replied, “Until I have seen in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in His side, I will not believe.”

Eight days later, the disciples were again inside the house and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see My hands; stretch out your hand, and put it into My side. Do not continue in your unbelief, but believe!”

Thomas said, “You are my Lord and my God.” Jesus replied, “You believe because you see Me, do you not? Happy are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

Saturday, 3 July 2021 : Feast of St. Thomas, Apostle (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 116 : 1, 2

Alleluia! Praise YHVH, all you nations; all you peoples, praise Him.

How great is His love for us! His faithfulness lasts forever.

Saturday, 3 July 2021 : Feast of St. Thomas, Apostle (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Ephesians 2 : 19-22

Now, you are no longer strangers or guests, but fellow citizens of the holy people : you are of the household of God. You are the house, whose foundations are the Apostles and prophets, and whose cornerstone is Christ Jesus. In Him, the whole structure is joined together, and rises, to be a holy Temple, in the Lord.

In Him, you, too, are being built, to become the spiritual Sanctuary of God.

Thursday, 10 June 2021 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

2 Corinthians 3 : 15 – 2 Corinthians 4 : 1, 3-6

Up to this very day, whenever they read Moses, the veil remains over their understanding but, for whoever turns to the Lord, the veil shall be removed. The Lord is Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

So, with unveiled faces, we all reflect the glory of the Lord, while we are transformed into His likeness, and experience His glory, more and more by the action of the Lord, Who is Spirit.

Since this is our ministry, mercifully given to us, we do not weaken. In fact, if the Gospel we proclaim remains obscure, it is obscure only for those who go to their own destruction. The God of this world has blinded the minds of these unbelievers, lest they see the radiance of the glorious Gospel of Christ, Who is God’s Image.

It is not ourselves we preach, but Christ Jesus, as Lord; and, for Jesus’ sake, we are your servants. God, Who said, ‘Let the light shine out of darkness’, has also made the light shine in our hearts, to radiate, and to make known the glory of God, as it shines in the face of Christ.

Wednesday, 9 June 2021 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Ephrem, Deacon and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Deacons)

2 Corinthians 3 : 4-11

This is how we are sure of God, through Christ. As for us, we would not dare consider that something comes from us : our ability comes from God. He has even enabled us to be ministers of a new covenant, no longer depending on a written text, but on the Spirit. The written text kills, but the Spirit gives life.

The ministry of the Law carved on stones brought death; it was, nevertheless, surrounded by glory, and, we know, that the Israelites could not fix their eyes on the face of Moses, such was his radiance, though fleeting. How much more glorious will the ministry of the Spirit be! If there is greatness in a ministry which used to condemn, how much more will there be, in the ministry that brings holiness?

This is such a glorious thing that, in comparison, the former’s glory is like nothing. That ministry was provisory and had only moments of glory; but ours endures, with a lasting glory.

Tuesday, 8 June 2021 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

2 Corinthians 1 : 18-22

God knows that our dealing with you is not Yes and No, just as the Son of God, Christ Jesus, Whom we – Silvanus, Timothy, and I – preach to you, was not Yes and No; with Him it was simply Yes. In Him all the promises of God have come to be a Yes, and we also say in His Name : Amen! giving thanks to God.

God Himself has anointed us and strengthens us with you to serve Christ; He has marked us with His own seal in a first outpouring of the Spirit in our hearts.

Monday, 7 June 2021 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

2 Corinthians 1 : 1-7

Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy, our brother, to the Church of God in Corinth, and to all the saints in the whole of Achaia. May you receive grace and peace from God our Father and from Christ Jesus, the Lord.

Blessed be God, the Father of Christ Jesus, our Lord, the All-Merciful Father and the God of all comfort! He encourages us in all our trials, so that we may also encourage those in any trial, with the same comfort that we receive from God.

For whenever the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so, through Christ, a great comfort also overflows. So, if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we receive comfort it is also for you. You may experience the same comfort when you come to endure the same sufferings we endure.

Our hope for you is most firm; just as you share in our sufferings, so shall you also share in our consolation.