Tuesday, 8 August 2017 : 18th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Dominic, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Numbers 12 : 1-13

Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman he had married and they said, "Has YHVH only spoken through Moses? Has He not also spoken through us?" And YHVH heard.

Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than any man on the face of the earth. Yet suddenly YHVH said to Moses, Aaron and Miriam, "Come out, all three of you, to the Tent of Meeting." The three of them came out.

YHVH came down in the pillar of cloud and, standing at the door of the Tent, called Aaron and Miriam. They both went out and He said, "Listen carefully to what I say, 'If there is a prophet among you, I reveal Myself to him in a vision and I speak to him in a dream. It is not so for My servant, Moses, My trusted steward in all My household.'"

"'To Him I speak face to face, openly, and not in riddles, and he sees the presence of YHVH. Why then did you not fear to speak against My servant, against Moses?'" YHVH became angry with them and He departed. The cloud moved away from above the Tent and Miriam was there white as snow with leprosy. Aaron turned towards Miriam and he saw that she was leprous.

And he said to Moses, "My lord, I beg you, do not charge us with this sin that we have foolishly committed. Let her not be like the stillborn whose flesh is half-eaten when it comes from its mother's womb."

Then Moses cried to YHVH, "Heal her, o God, I beg of You."

Monday, 8 August 2016 : 19th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Dominic, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard the message of the Scripture, beginning with what we heard from the Book of the prophet Ezekiel, describing how he was called by the Lord to become the servant and the messenger of His will to the people of Israel in exile in Babylon. The prophet Ezekiel saw the Lord in all of His glory, and he saw the truth about the One Whom he worshipped and praised.

And through what he had seen in the vision, Ezekiel was called by God to be His mouthpiece to Israel, calling them to repent from their sins and to leave behind their sinful ways, following instead the way of the Lord, their God, the only way which guarantees the salvation of their souls. The Lord wanted to forgive His people who have betrayed Him and disobeyed Him, and thus He called on Ezekiel to be that instrument of His salvation.

And in the Gospel today we heard about the Lord Who spoke to His disciples regarding the apparent conflict between obeying the Lord and obeying the laws of men. There seemed to be a conflict between the obligations to pay tax to the Temple and to obey the Lord, Who needs no tax or payment from us, but just our love and devotion. The Lord made it clear that we should just obey things as they are, so long as these do not contradict our faith.

And how do these relate to us, brothers and sisters in Christ? It is because very often we do not follow the Lord because of that conflict that are existing between ourselves and our worldly ways, with the ways of the Lord. It is often that we cannot commit ourselves because we thought that if we follow the Lord, then we will be closing our opportunities and chances in this world.

Many of us said no to the Lord because we wanted to settle our own lives first, or that we could not commit ourselves fully to serve Him and His purposes because we are concerned with our own wants and desires in this world. We are often in our comfort zones, unable to move out of those comfort zone, worrying about the challenges and the difficulties that we may face if we walk beyond that security and comfort we have in life.

But we have to realise that, for many of us, our lives are not perfect. There are many of us who live in poverty and great sufferings every single day of our lives. We have that commitment to each other, to love those who have little or none, and share whatever blessings we have with them, so that everyone may have enough for themselves and not suffer from hunger or thirst, of from the lack of love. And that is the essence of what being a Christian is truly about.

And perhaps that is why we should heed the examples of St. Dominic, the holy priest and saint whose life was truly exemplary and great, as a devoted servant of our God, who disposed of the ways of the world and sin, in order to attain the greater glory found in God alone. And having found his way to God, he endeavoured to bring many more people, many more souls to the presence of God, followed by many who thought in the same manner, which was the reason for the now famous Dominican religious order.

St. Dominic was a Spanish priest and friar, who was renowned for his great and moving sermons and homilies, through which he called many people to repent from their sins and to obey the Lord their God. It was told that he had devoted himself to the Lord since the years of his youth, and he worked very hard, after joining the priesthood, working among the heretics of the Cathar heresy in order to convert them back into the true faith in God.

He gathered many people with the same aim and the same desire to bring their fellow brethren back into the loving embrace of God, focusing on preaching and the teaching of the truth in order to dispel the falsehoods and lies of Satan. And thus, the Dominican Order, also known as the Order of Preachers, was born. St. Dominic spearheaded its efforts to bring the people of God back to a disciplined life in the faith, and a life where it is often filled with difficulties and challenges.

Certainly, St. Dominic himself led by example, living frugally and acted in accordance with the laws of the Lord. He became an inspiration to many people across many ages, and we too should walk in his footsteps. We as Christians need to work together and overcome that fear and reluctance we have. Do not fear and do not be worried, for God will take care of us of all that we need.

Let us all work together and go forth confidently, filled with faith, zeal and love for God. Let us all help one another to reach out to the Lord our God, and achieve together the justification and salvation which He had promised all those who kept their faith in Him. God bless us all, now and forever. Amen.

Monday, 8 August 2016 : 19th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Dominic, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 17 : 22-27

At that time, when Jesus was in Galilee with the Twelve, He said to them, “The Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. But He will rise on the third day.” The Twelve were deeply grieved.

When they returned to Capernaum, the Temple tax collectors came to Peter and asked him, “Does your Master pay the Temple tax?” He answered, “Certainly.” Peter then entered the house, and immediately Jesus asked him, “What do you think, Simon? Who pay taxes or tribute to the kings of the earth : their sons or the other people?”

Peter replied, “The other people.” And Jesus told him, “The sons, then, are tax-free. But so as not to offend these people, go to the sea, throw in a hook, and open the mouth of the first fish you catch. You will find a coin in it. Take the coin and let it pay for you and for Me.”

Monday, 8 August 2016 : 19th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Dominic, Priest (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 148 : 1-2, 11-12, 13, 14

Alleluia! Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise Him in the heavenly heights. Praise Him, all His Angels; praise Him, all His heavenly hosts.

Kings of the earth and nations, princes and all rulers of the world, young men and maidens, old and young together.

Let them praise the Name of the Lord. For His Name alone is exalted; His majesty is above earth and heaven.

He has given His people glory; He has given a praise to His faithful, to Israel, the people close to Him. Alleluia.

Monday, 8 August 2016 : 19th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Dominic, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Ezekiel 1 : 2-5, 24-28c

On the fifth of the month (it was the fifth year of the exile of king Jehoiakin) the word of YHVH came to Ezekiel, son of Buzi, the priest, in the land of the Chaldeans by the banks of the Kebar. There the hand of YHVH was upon me.

I looked : a windstorm came from the north bringing a great cloud. A fiery light inside it lit up all around it, while at the centre there was something like a glowing metal. In the centre were what appeared to be four creatures with the same form.

I heard the noise of their wings when they moved, similar to the roar of many waters, similar to the voice of the Most High, the noise of a multitude or of a camp. When they were not moving they lowered their wings. I heard a noise above the platform over their heads. Above it was a throne resembling a sapphire and high on this throne was a Figure similar to that of a Man.

Then I saw a light as of glowing bronze as if fire enveloped Him from His waist upwards. And from His waist downwards it was as if fire gave radiance around Him. The surrounding light was like a rainbow in the clouds after a day of rain. This vision was the likeness of YHVH’s Glory. On seeing it I fell on my face and then I heard a voice speaking.

Saturday, 8 August 2015 : 18th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Dominic, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, we heard about how Moses reminded the people of Israel about how they ought to always remember about God their Lord and Master, who have cared for them so much, and who have provided so much for them in all that they need, so that they prospered and became great. This is necessary because they have often forgotten God’s great love and ended up worshipping the pagan idols and following their pagan neighbours’ ways.

In this we can clearly see that there is a lack of gratitude which the people of Israel, and by extension therefore, all of us as well, on the gratitude which all of us ought to show the Lord our God for His everlasting and continuous love for us, and for all the mercy He had shown us, for every grace and opportunities which He had blessed us with.

We should indeed ask ourselves, whether we have shown gratitude for all that God had done for us in our own lives. Moses reminded the people of Israel not to forget about the Lord for all that He had done, and for all the good things which we have received from Him. But we know how easily we forget Him when we have many goodness with us, and when we celebrate, how many of us truly give thanks to God first before anything else?

Worse still, many of us even attribute all the goodness to ourselves, refusing to believe that all things had been made possible because of the grace and the blessings which our Lord had shown us. We often become even haughty and proud of our own achievements, thinking many things had happened to us and good things had happened to us because of our own power, without realising that without God, all of our power and devices will be nothing.

And if during good times we forget about the Lord and did not give Him thanks, then on the opposite end, whenever we have trouble, then we are quick to worry. We are quick to look for Him whenever we have problem, but we forget to give Him thanks whenever we have good things and good times with us. And when we do not get what we need, we blame the Lord for not helping us, and we often become angry at Him, and even abandon Him.

This is exactly what I meant about a lack of gratitude, and even more importantly, a lack of faith, which we often do not realise. Indeed, we may profess to be faithful to God, but truly, how strong is our faith for Him? If we are truly faithful to Him, then we should have remembered Him at all times, be it at times good or bad, and be it when we are rejoicing or when we are deeply troubled.

Today, we celebrate the feast day of a great saint, namely that of St. Dominic, also known as St. Dominic the Guzman, the founder of the Dominican religious order, or the Order of Preachers. St. Dominic was well known for his great and enduring faith in the Lord, and for all the dedication which he showed to the Lord his God. He served the people of God tirelessly and ministered to them.

And what made his order known as the Order of Preachers was because St. Dominic’s own passion and hard works to help many of the lost souls who have gone astray. And he went forth to show them God’s truth and love by preaching to them about this truth, and his words pierced deep into their hearts and minds, and many chose to repent from their past sins, and followed the Lord.

The examples of St. Dominic had shown us that indeed, if we just have more faith in the Lord, what we think is impossible would become possible, for we have to remember that what is impossible for men, is possible for God, for nothing is impossible in the eyes of God. If we just strive to have more faith, then surely we will be better able to see how God had impacted our lives in so many ways, and gave us so many blessings that we cannot count them.

And therefore, let us pray, so that we may be strengthened in our faith, that in all things we do and say, we may strive to be ever more faithful to the Lord our God, and follow Him in all of His ways. Let us all give Him thanks for all of His goodness, and seek His mercy and forgiveness when we have committed sin, and learn the grace to know that we have enough, for we have been provided with the Lord’s love and grace at all times. May the Lord our God, our loving Father be with us always. Amen.

Saturday, 8 August 2015 : 18th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Dominic, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 17 : 14-20

At that time, when Jesus and His disciples came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus, knelt before Him and said, “Sir, have pity on my son, who is an epileptic and suffers terribly. He has often fallen into the fire, and at other times into the water. I brought him to Your disciples but they could not heal him.”

Jesus replied, “You faithless and disoriented people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring him here to Me.” And Jesus commanded the evil spirit to leave the boy, and the boy was immediately healed.

The disciples then gathered around Jesus and asked Him privately, “Why could we not drive out the spirit?” Jesus said to them, “Because you have little faith. I say to you : if only you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could tell that mountain to move from here to there, and the mountain would obey. Nothing would be impossible to you.”