Wednesday, 26 June 2013 : 12th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Genesis 15 : 1-12, 17-18

After this the word of YHVH was spoken to Abram in a vision : “Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; your reward will be very great!”

Abram said, “My Lord YHVH, where are Your promises? I am still childless and all I have will go to Eliezer of Damascus. You have given me no children, so a slave of mine will be my heir.”

Then the word of YHVH was spoken to him again, “Eliezer will not be your heir, but a child born of you, your own flesh and blood, will be your heir.” Then YHVH brought him outside and said to him, “Look up at the sky and count the stars if you can. Your descendants will be like that.”

Abram believed YHVH who, because of this, held him to be an upright man. And He said, “I am YHVH who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land as your possession.” Then Abram asked, “My Lord, how am I to know that it shall be mine?” YHVH replied, “Bring Me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtle dove, and a young pigeon.”

Abram brought all these animals, cut them in two, and laid each half facing its other half, but he did not cut the birds in half. The birds of prey came down upon them, but Abram drove them away. As the sun was going down, a deep sleep came over Abram, and a dreadful darkness took hold of him.

When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot and a flaming torch passed between the halves of the victims. On that day YHVH made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your descendants I have given this country from the river of Egypt to the Great River, the Euphrates.”

Monday, 24 June 2013 : Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (Psalm)

Psalm 138 : 1-3, 13-14ab, 14c-15

O Lord, You know me : You have scrutinised me. You know when I sit and when I rise; beforehand You discern my thoughts. You observe my activities and times of rest; You are familiar with all my ways.

It was You who formed my inmost part and knit me together in my mother’s womb. I thank You for these wonders You have done.

My heart praises You for Your marvellous deeds. Even my bones were known to You when I was being formed in secret, fashioned in the depths of the earth.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

2 Corinthians 8 : 1-9

Now I want you to know about a gift of divine grace among the churches of Macedonia. While they were so afflicted and persecuted, their joy overflowed and their extreme poverty turned into a wealth of generosity. According to their means – even beyond their means – they wanted to share in helping the saints.

They asked us for this favour spontaneously and with much insistence and, far beyond anything we expected, they put themselves at the disposal of the Lord and of us by the will of God. Accordingly, I urged Titus to complete among you this work of grace since he began it with you.

You excel in everything : in the gifts of faith, speech and knowledge : you feel concern for every cause, and besides, you are first in my heart. Excel also in this generous service. This is not a command; I make known to you the determination of others to check the sincerity of your fraternal concern.

You know well the generosity of Christ Jesus, our Lord. Although He was rich, He made Himself poor to make you rich through His poverty.

Sunday, 16 June 2013 : 11th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Luke 7 : 36 – Luke 8 : 3

One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to share His meal, so He went to the Pharisee’s home, and as usual reclined at the table to eat. And it happened that a woman of this town, who was known as a sinner, heard that He was in the Pharisee’s house. She brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and stood behind Him, at His feet, weeping. She wet His feet with tears, she dried them with her hair, she kissed His feet and poured the perfume on them.

The Pharisee who had invited Jesus was watching, and thought, “If this Man were a prophet, He would know what sort of person is touching Him; isn’t this woman a sinner?”

Then Jesus spoke to the Pharisee and said, “Simon, I have something to ask you.” He answered, “Speak, master.” And Jesus said, “Two people were in debt to the same creditor. One owed him five hundred silver coins, and the other fifty. As they were unable to pay him back, he graciously canceled the debts of both. Now, which of them will love him more?”

Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, who was forgiven more.” And Jesus said, “You are right.” And turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? You gave Me no water for My feet when I entered your house, but she has washed My feet with her tears and dried them with her hair.”

“You did not welcome Me with a kiss, but she has not stopped kissing My feet since she came in. You provided no oil for My head, but she has poured perfume on My feet. This is why, I tell you, her sins, her many sins, are forgiven, because of her great love. But the one who is forgiven little, has little love.”

Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.” The others reclining with Him at the table began to wonder, “Now this Man claims to forgive sins!” But Jesus again spoke to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace!”

Jesus walked through towns and countryside, preaching and giving the Good News of the kingdom of God. The Twelve followed Him, and also some women, who had been healed of evil spirits and diseases. Mary called Magdalene, who had been freed of seven demons; Joanna, wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward; Suzanna, and others who provided for them out of their own funds.

Alternative Reading (Shorter version)

 

Luke 7 : 36-50

One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to share His meal, so He went to the Pharisee’s home, and as usual reclined at the table to eat. And it happened that a woman of this town, who was known as a sinner, heard that He was in the Pharisee’s house. She brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and stood behind Him, at His feet, weeping. She wet His feet with tears, she dried them with her hair, she kissed His feet and poured the perfume on them.

The Pharisee who had invited Jesus was watching, and thought, “If this Man were a prophet, He would know what sort of person is touching Him; isn’t this woman a sinner?”

Then Jesus spoke to the Pharisee and said, “Simon, I have something to ask you.” He answered, “Speak, master.” And Jesus said, “Two people were in debt to the same creditor. One owed him five hundred silver coins, and the other fifty. As they were unable to pay him back, he graciously cancelled the debts of both. Now, which of them will love him more?”

Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, who was forgiven more.” And Jesus said, “You are right.” And turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? You gave Me no water for My feet when I entered your house, but she has washed My feet with her tears and dried them with her hair.”

“You did not welcome Me with a kiss, but she has not stopped kissing My feet since she came in. You provided no oil for My head, but she has poured perfume on My feet. This is why, I tell you, her sins, her many sins, are forgiven, because of her great love. But the one who is forgiven little, has little love.”

Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.” The others reclining with Him at the table began to wonder, “Now this Man claims to forgive sins!” But Jesus again spoke to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace!”

Wednesday, 12 June 2013 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Psalm 98 : 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Extol the Lord, our God; worship at His footstool. Holy is He! And mighty!

Among His priests were Moses and Aaron, and Samuel among those who called on His Name. They called to the Lord, and He answered them.

In the pillar of cloud He spoke to them, and they kept His statutes and the decrees He gave them.

O Lord our God, You responded to them; You were a patient God for them, but You punished their wrongs.

Extol the Lord our God; worship at His holy mountain. Holy is the Lord our God!

Saturday, 25 May 2013 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bede the Venerable, Priest and Doctor; Pope St. Gregory VII, Pope; and St. Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi, Virgin (First Reading)

Sirach 17 : 1-13

The Lord created man from the earth and let him return to earth. He settled a fixed time for them and a set number of days, giving them power over everything on earth. He endowed them with a strength like His own, making them in His own image.

He put the fear of them in all living things, thus they had mastery over the animals and birds. He endowed them with knowledge; He gave them tongue and eyes, ears and a mind to think with.

He filled them with wisdom and knowledge; He taught them good and evil. He put His own eye in their hearts so they would understand the greatness of His works. They will praise His Holy Name and relate the magnificence of His creation.

He gave them revealed knowledge as well and handed over to them the Law of Life. He established an everlasting covenant with them and let them know His judgments. Human eyes saw the splendour of the Glory of God; their ears heard the grandeur of His voice.

Thursday, 9 May 2013 : Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (Scripture Reflection)

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today is Ascension day, a very important day in our faith, because today we celebrate a central tenet of our faith. That is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is resurrected on the third day after dying on the cross for the salvation of all  mankind, but that today, most importantly, we celebrate the glorification of God, in which Christ, who had descended to this world as a humble man, returns to His glory in heaven as the divine God.

For Christ, our Messiah and our Lord, is both fully man and fully divine at the same time, with both of His human and divine nature united indivisibly in a mysterious and holy link that is beyond our best understanding. In Christ, who had been made incarnate to be a lowly human like us through His birth in Mary, His mother, lies our salvation, and our only hope.

Because, Christ, who is the Lamb of God, gave up Himself to be the sacrifice for the sake of our sins, just as God instructed the people of Israel to sacrifice unblemished lambs to erase their sins and their unworthiness before God. Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God is not merely unblemished, but also perfect, and as the only perfect and worthy sacrifice to take away all the sins of the world, once and for all, through the sacrifice He made on Calvary.

We celebrate this every time we celebrate the Mass, in which the bread and the wine that we offer are truly turned into the Precious Body and the Precious Blood of the Lamb, which He Himself had offered to His disciples at His last supper, so that He will continue to live in them, and therefore remain within us, that He will be within us, and therefore belong to Him and the Father. We have all been mark as His own, and we will not be lost, as long as we keep Him ever in our hearts, and invoke Him in all our actions.

He may be no longer with us in physical form, because He was indeed taken up to heaven with His glorious Ascension, when He parted ways from His disciples and left physically this world, but He actually remains with us, within all of us, that we are empowered with His presence. He granted us the Holy Spirit, the Helper, which came to the Apostles at Pentecost, and from them, the Holy Spirit is passed down to us, with the Sacrament of Baptism and strengthened at Confirmation, the fire of the spirit is burning with us, the living symbol of Christ’s presence within each one of us.

This Spirit that we have within each of us will stay dormant if we do not do anything to make use of the gifts that the Spirit had granted within each of us. Yes, all of us have the power and ability to make the difference, in our own lives, and in the lives of many of those who are around us. The Spirit has planted within us the seeds of faith and love, and these seeds will not sprout unless we provide them with ever greater faith and love, that can only be provided through solid and true actions made in the name of the Lord, and reflecting that we truly are God’s children.

If we allow the Holy Spirit to grow within us and use our beings to bring about love and peace in both ourselves and those around us, it will allow us to grow and bear much fruit, fruits of love and blessings, the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Christ who was taken up on Ascension will come again as He promised all of us, in His Second Coming, which is coming soon. When He comes again, He will see if we, the plants that He, the seed spreader, had grown to the results that He wants.

If we do not bear any fruit, like that of the barren tree, He would destroy us and curse us, because we have not bear any fruit, despite having been planted with seeds of faith. Just like those who had been given money by the master to be invested, but wasted the money in idleness, and did not invest it to let the value of the money to grow for profits. In this, the love that God had given us had become useless, because love cannot just remain within ourselves, because love is between us and another party, and remember that the Lord Himself had commanded us to love both Himself, and our fellow brethren.

The Lord Himself has told us that to love the least and weakest of our brethren, we have loved Him. That is why to just love the Lord alone, is in fact not sufficient, because this love that we have is not perfect, and can only be made perfect by us also loving our fellow brethren, particularly those who lacks, and those who are weakest and persecuted. Therefore, only in living our faith, and using the gifts that the Holy Spirit has placed in us that we can truly bear fruit and be found worthy when Christ once again comes into this world to judge it.

He will welcome and congratulate us, if we had done what we can to fulfill His wishes and His commandments. He will say to us, “Well done, My faithful servants. Come and take your rightful place at My Kingdom.” But if we do not make use of the chance we have now, and waste it on idleness, or worse, that is to spurn God’s love and Spirit, and indulge instead in the worldly temptations and pleasures and the world of hatred, we would be banished by the Lord from His presence, because we will be found unworthy of Him.

The Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ therefore, serves also as a reminder. Indeed, we rejoice in His glorification and ascension in heaven, to take up His rightful place at the right hand of the Father, but as the angels had said to the disciples on that day, that Christ will come again and that time when He comes again, He will judge the world and gather His faithful ones to Himself while banishing those who strayed from His way, together with Satan and his fallen angels, into the eternal damnation that awaits them.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, today, let us not be complacent, and let us strive to be always ready for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ, which indeed will come soon, and will come at a time when many are at their most unprepared moments. Do not be caught unprepared, and let us make sure that all of us, from now on, put Christ at the very centre of our lives, and reflect Christ in all our thoughts, our words, and our actions, that we show that we belong to Christ and to Him alone.

Love one another and love God with all our hearts, our minds, and our beings. Put our trust completely in Him, and let Him transform us with His Holy Spirit, and bear much fruit in us, the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Remember that Christ ascended to heaven, is always within all of us, with all of us serving as the Holy Temples of His Divine Presence. May God be with all of us, always, till the end of time. Amen.