Thursday, 14 July 2022 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Camillus de Lellis, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are all reminded of the love and the consolation that God can give us, and we are reminded of all that God had done for us, His beloved people in the past. Through the Lord alone we can find true joy, peace and satisfaction, and there is nowhere else that we can gain this true happiness except that through God. That is why each and every one of us are called to turn towards Him, placing our trust and hope upon Him. All of us should spend the time and effort to come towards God and to communicate with Him, that we may know His will for us.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of the prophet Isaiah in which the prophet spoke of the prayers and wishes that the people of Judah had made to the Lord, which the prophet gathered and offered to the Lord. The prophet Isaiah beseeched on behalf of the people the Lord’s providence and love, the peace that they desired and the happiness that they sought in Him, when they were distressed and troubled. Chronologically, at that time, the kingdom of Judah where the remnants of the faithful Israelites remained, was surrounded by powerful enemies, especially that of the rapidly growing Assyrian Empire.

The Assyrians then had just recently destroyed and conquered the northern kingdom of Israel, as well as other nations and countries surrounding Judah, and for the case of Israel, the Assyrians brought their inhabitants and people off into exile in faraway regions of Assyria and Mesopotamia. They therefore also threatened the existence of Judah, which certainly must have terrified many in that kingdom and country. But the Lord reassured His people and revealed His presence and guidance for them through His prophets, including that of the prophet Isaiah.

Isaiah therefore helped the people to communicate with God, for them to know His will and all that He has promised to them, while at the same time, Isaiah also pleaded on behalf of the people regarding their predicament and troubles. The Lord certainly already knew all about the sufferings and trials that His people were suffering from, as He knew everything that happened in the world. However, the petitions and the pleading from the people would have moved Him to come to their rescue, as that showed just how the people were willing to follow the Lord and have faith in Him.

The Lord has called on us to come to Him and to seek His help and love, just as we heard in our Gospel passage today. The Lord Jesus told His disciples and the people the famous words, “Come to Me all you who labour and are heavily burdened and I will give you rest.” And to this, He also added on that His burden and weight were light, contextually as compared to the other burdens and weights that we will have to bear if we trust instead in other means and ways instead of putting our faith and trust in the Lord.

What this ought to remind us is first of all that, being Christians does not mean that we will have an easy and comfortable life. On the contrary, we may have to suffer and persevere through many challenges and trials as we navigate this world as faithful Christians, in each and every opportunities and moments throughout our lives. There may be a lot of obstacles, more for some, less for others, in our path in life as Christians. But in the end, following the path of the Lord will lead us to the ultimate victory and triumph with God, and in the end, the sacrifices and sufferings we may have to suffer will be well worth it.

Today, let us all discern and reflect on the examples that were presented to us by St. Camillus de Lellis, the saint whose feast the Church is commemorating on this day. St. Camillus de Lellis was a dedicated priest who spent a lot of his time and effort in caring for the well-being of his flock, all those who came to him seeking help, and he cared for them all, making sure that they gained access to physical and medical care and attention, as well as spiritual and mental guidance, to help them to persevere through the many challenges of the world. St. Camillus de Lellis spent a lot of time and effort for the poor, the sick and the needy, and helped them in various ways.

Not only that St. Camillus de Lellis spent a lot of effort to care for the sick, doing what he could to help those who were suffering, but eventually, he was inspired and touched through all of his experiences, to establish a religious order and congregation dedicated to the care of the people who are sick and suffering, which came to be known after their founder as the Camillians, also known officially as the Order of the Clerks Regular, Ministers of the Infirm. Through this congregation, St. Camillus de Lellis called and inspired many people to come and help in the many charitable efforts and works that the Camillians would later be well known for.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore do whatever we can to follow the Lord and to entrust ourselves to Him, knowing well that through Him alone there is hope and salvation, true joy and everlasting happiness. Let us all also be called and inspired to follow in the great examples of His saints, like that of St. Camillus de Lellis, in sharing the truth and knowledge of the love and compassion of God in how we interact and deal with one another, in showing genuine care and concern for our fellow brothers and sisters, now and always. May God bless us always, and may He continue to guide us and strengthen us through the challenges and trials we may face, in each and every moments of our lives. Amen.

Thursday, 14 July 2022 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Camillus de Lellis, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Matthew 11 : 28-30

At that time, Jesus said to the people, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart; and you will find rest. For My yoke is easy; and My burden is light.”

Thursday, 14 July 2022 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Camillus de Lellis, Priest (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Psalm 101 : 13-14ab and 15, 16-18, 19-21

But You, o YHVH, You sit forever; Your Name endures through all generations. Arise, have mercy on Zion. For Your servants cherish her stones, and are moved to pity by her dust.

O YHVH, the nations will revere Your Name, and the kings of the earth Your glory, when YHVH will rebuild Zion and appear in all His splendour. For He will answer the prayer of the needy and will not despise their plea.

Let this be written for future ages, “YHVH will be praised by a people He will form.” From His holy height in heaven, YHVH has looked on the earth to hear the groaning of the prisoners, and free those condemned to death.

Thursday, 14 July 2022 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Camillus de Lellis, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Isaiah 26 : 7-9, 12, 16-19

Let the righteous walk in righteousness. You make smooth the path of the just, and we only seek the way of Your laws, o YHVH. Your Name and Your memory are the desire of our hearts. My soul yearns for You in the night; for You my spirit keeps vigil. When Your judgments come to earth, the world’s inhabitants learn to be upright.

YHVH, please give us peace; for all that we accomplish is Your work. For they sought You in distress, they cried out to You in the time of their punishment. As a woman in travail moans and writhes in pain, so are we now in Your presence. We conceived, we had labour pains, but we gave birth to the wind. We have not brought salvation to the land; the inhabitants of a new world have not been born.

Your dead will live! Their corpses will rise! Awake and sing, you who lie in the dust! For you will grow like plants drenched with the morning dew, and the earth will bring forth its dead spirits.

Wednesday, 14 July 2021 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Camillus de Lellis, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Lord speaking to us about the revelations of God’s truth and love for His people which He has done throughout history at the time of the Old Testament and then in the New Testament. In our first reading we heard about how Moses was called by the Lord at Mount Horeb through the famous miraculous burning bush, while in our Gospel passage today we heard the Lord Jesus, Who as the Saviour of the world and the Son of God, revealed Himself and His Father to all the people.

In our first reading from the Book of Exodus we heard how Moses was called by God to be the leader of His people, at Mount Horeb in the midst of shepherding his flock in the land of the Midianites. Moses was on the run from the land of Egypt after having killed an Egyptian in defending his fellow Israelite. Back then, he had been adopted by the daughter of the Pharaoh after having been rescued from the River Nile. That incident led Moses to choose to hide in exile away from Egypt, in the land of the Midians, and thereafter married his wife and had a child.

It seemed that Moses would be forever separated from the rest of his people, in exile in Midian. But God had a different plan for him, as He called Moses to follow Him and to do His will, as he was about to be sent back to Egypt, in order to save His whole people, the whole nation of the Israelites, all the hundreds of thousands of them from their enslavement in Egypt. God never forgot about them, and He called Moses back from among the Midians that He might rescue the whole multitude of the people of Israel from their sufferings.

God therefore revealed Himself before Moses at the top of Mount Horeb in the vision of the burning bush, as Moses saw in wonder how a bush was burning with fire and yet, at the same time, was not harmed by the fire. God spoke to Moses from within the flame, and revealed to him all that He would do for the sake of His people, and how Moses would be His instrument in the deliverance of all Israel. Moses was unsure of this, but God reassured him and instructed him on what to be done as he was to go to Egypt and lead God’s people out of their slavery.

In that first reading passage, we heard God’s revelation of His salvation for His people, and then, in the similar way, God revealed His salvation to everyone through none other than Jesus Christ, Saviour of the whole world and Son of God, born into this world to be its Saviour and Light, Hope and Strength. Christ has come into this world to save us all mankind, just as Moses had come into Egypt to save the people of Israel. Hence, we can see how the two stories are related to each other, and how God made known to us His wonders.

In that Gospel passage we heard today, we the Lord revealed Himself before His disciples, more and more of the truth about Himself, Who He was and what He had been sent into the world for. Christ indeed is the Son of God, sent into the world by the will of God the Father, that through Him all the whole world, all of mankind may be saved and delivered from their slavery. What slavery is this, brothers and sisters in Christ? It is the slavery to sin. Just as the Israelites were enslaved by the Egyptians, sin has enslaved us all, every single one of us who have disobeyed God and His will, and therefore sinned against Him.

Hence, we really should be thankful that God has loved us so wonderfully and so generously, that He has ever patiently reached out to us and cared for us, even as we still stubbornly sinned against Him, refusing to listen to Him and time again and again, falling into the many temptations in life. This is why we must be grateful of God’s ever generous love, and we must never take Him for granted. If not for God’s mercy, compassion and love, the Israelites would have suffered much more and much longer at the hands of the Egyptians, and we too would have suffered more and will suffer more in the hands of sin and death.

Today, we celebrate the feast of St. Camillus de Lellis, whose life and examples can serve as good inspiration for us to follow on how we can be good servants and followers of the Lord. St. Camillus de Lellis was born into a relatively broken family and grew up much neglected due to his father’s relatively frequent absence and his aged mother not being able to control his temper. Joining the military at a young age, he then gave in to gambling and other vices, leading a terrible life after he left the army, still relatively young at the time.

Yet, his encounter with friars at the Capuchin friary he was working in as labourer converted St. Camillus de Lellis, as he began to embrace God’s calling earnestly and turned away from the sinful and wicked ways with which he had lived his life previously. Eventually, he endeavoured to join the priesthood after encountering several obstacles, and gave himself to the care and the service of the poor, dedicating himself to his task, and also establishing the order known as the Order of Clerks Regular, Ministers of the Infirm, also better known after him as their founder, as the Camilians.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we can see here the example of how one’s openness to allow God to enter his life caused a great conversion and change, as what had happened to St. Camillus de Lellis showed us. And through that change, St. Camillus de Lellis had not only changed himself for the better, but also impacted many others, to whom the saint and others he helped to inspire, had pledged to serve, care and show God’s love and compassion on, especially the sick and the dying.

Are we also able to commit ourselves in the same way, brothers and sisters in Christ? We are all called therefore to turn towards the Lord with total faith and conviction, to be free from the chains of slavery of sin, by following Christ, our Lord, and what He has told us about His truth. Let us allow the Lord to lead us out from the slavery of sin into the freedom of eternal life with God, and remain faithful to the Lord to the end. May God also be with us all the time, throughout this journey in life, now and always. Amen.

Wednesday, 14 July 2021 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Camillus de Lellis, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Matthew 11 : 25-27

At that time, Jesus said, “Father, Lord of heaven and earth, I praise You; because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to simple people. Yes, Father, this was Your gracious will.”

“Everything has been entrusted to Me by My Father. No one knows the Son except the Father; and no one knows the Father except the Son, and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.”

Wednesday, 14 July 2021 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Camillus de Lellis, Priest (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Psalm 102 : 1-2, 3-4, 6-7

Praise YHVH, my soul; all my being, praise His holy Name! Praise YHVH, my soul, and do not forget all His kindness.

He forgives all your sins and heals all your sickness; He redeems your life from destruction and crowns you with love and compassion.

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.

Wednesday, 14 July 2021 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Camillus de Lellis, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Exodus 3 : 1-6, 9-12

Moses pastured the sheep of Jethro, his father-in-law, priest of Midian. One day he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the Mountain of God. The Angel of YHVH appeared to him by means of a flame of fire in the middle of a bush. Moses saw that although the bush was on fire it did not burn up.

Moses thought, “I will go and see this amazing sight, why is the bush not burning up?” YHVH saw that Moses was drawing near to look, and God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!” He replied, “Here I am.” YHVH said to him, “Do not come near; take off your sandals because the place where you are standing is holy ground.”

And God continued, “I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” Moses hid his face lest his eyes look on God. YHVH said, “The cry of the sons of Israel has reached Me and I have seen how the Egyptians oppress them. Go now! I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring My people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt.”

Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the people of Israel out of Egypt?” God replied, “I will be with you and this will be the sign that I have sent you. When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”

Tuesday, 14 July 2020 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Camillus de Lellis, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day all of us heard of the account from the Book of the prophet Isaiah relating to us the moment when the kings of the northern kingdom of Israel and the kingdom of Aram-Damascus were allied together to attack the kingdom of Judah in the south. By their larger population and territory, power and combined might, it might seem certain that they would rise up and destroy the kingdom of Judah and Jerusalem.

But the Lord was with His people, and as the king in Judah and the people were then still mostly adherent to the ways of the Lord, obeyed His Law and followed His prophets during the reigns of king Hezekiah and some other righteous kings of Judah, God still stood by His people against the plots of their enemies, those who worshipped the pagan gods and disobeyed God’s will at whim. The Lord would not let His people fall, and He protected them, while speaking of the destruction that would happen to both Israel and Aram-Damascus at the hands of the Assyrians.

This was the same message of hope and consolation which God would later on also give His people through the prophet Isaiah, at that time when Israel and Aram-Damascus plotted against Judah, and when later on the Assyrians under king Sennacherib came up with a very mighty army to conquer Judah and besiege Jerusalem. When the people of God were in great trouble and in despair, God stood by them and reassured them. And the armies of king Sennacherib were destroyed and the Assyrian king returned to his land in shame.

But at the same time, the Lord also warned His people, as He did when He reassured them in their fight against Israel and Aram-Damascus, and later on for the king Hezekiah of Judah when he took lightly the future threat of the Babylonians. He warned them that should they be unfaithful in the future, they too would experience the consequences of their unfaithfulness, wickedness and sins. This was what happened when the Babylonians came and conquered Judah, destroyed Jerusalem and its Temple because then the people had fallen into sin and refused to believe in God.

In our Gospel passage today, peculiarly, we also heard the same warning that the Lord Jesus had spoken against the cities and towns of Galilee, namely Bethsaida, Chorazin and Capernaum. The Lord had performed many works and miracles in those cities and towns, and many of the people there had witnessed His works, miracles and heard His teachings and words. Yet, many among them still refused to believe in Him and in the truth that He had brought to them, hardened their hearts and closed their minds to Him.

They were also representative of the many people, especially many among the Pharisees who frequently opposed the Lord and His works, tailed and confronted Him in many occasions, and these people refused to believe and constantly harassed the Lord and His disciples. Therefore, the Lord’s words and stern warning were addressed to them, as a warning and a kind reminder that all those who persistently refused to believe in God and continued to walk in sin would have their just rewards in judgment by God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are all reminded therefore that if we believe in God, and put our trust in Him, then we have that assurance and guarantee of true joy and true satisfaction in Christ. On the other hand, if we are stubborn and constantly and persistently refuse to believe in God, then in the end, we will have no part in Him. God does not want us to suffer that consequences, and this is why He has sent us, again and again, very patiently, many prophets, messengers and helpers to help remind us throughout our lives.

Today, we also have St. Camillus de Lellis as one of our great source of inspiration. And as we celebrate his feast day today, we remember the great piety and dedication by which he has dedicated himself to God. St. Camillus de Lellis was known for his personal piety, great humility in life and ascetic life, and for his great focus on the care for the sick and dying. St. Camillus de Lellis spent much of his life and ministry in this area, establishing the Order of Clerks Regular, Ministers of the Infirm or the Camillans after his name.

Through these efforts, St. Camillus inspired many others to show more care and concern for the sick, those who are suffering, from illness and plague, from warfare injuries and hurts among other things. Through his hard work and the contributions of many others, many of the people were touched by God’s love, and many became stronger in their faith in God. And all of these should be inspiration and good example for us to follow in our own respective life and faith.

May the Lord help us in our journey of faith that each and every one of us may be strengthened and inspired by the dedication shown by St. Camillus de Lellis and innumerable other holy men and women of God. Let us all be righteous in everything we say and do, and strive to be ever closer to God and to be more faithful to Him with every passing moment. May God bless us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

Tuesday, 14 July 2020 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Camillus de Lellis, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Matthew 11 : 20-24

At that time, Jesus began to denounce the cities in which He had performed most of His miracles, because the people there did not change their ways.

“Alas for you Chorazin and Bethsaida! If the miracles worked in you had taken place in Tyre and Sidon, the people there would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I assure you, for Tyre and Sidon; it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.”

“And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to heaven? You will be thrown down to the place of the dead! For if the miracles which were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would still be there today! But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”