Wednesday, 14 June 2023 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 5 : 17-19

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Do not think that I have come to annul the Law and the prophets. I have not come to annul them, but to fulfil them. I tell you this : as long as heaven and earth last, not the smallest letter or dot in the Law will change, until all is fulfilled.”

“So then, whoever breaks the least important of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be the least in the kingdom of heaven. On the other hand, whoever obeys them, and teaches others to do the same, will be great in the kingdom of heaven.”

Wednesday, 14 June 2023 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

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

Extol YHVH, 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 YHVH, 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 YHVH our God, You responded to them; You were a patient God for them: but You punished their wrongs.

Extol YHVH our God, worship at His holy mountain. Holy is YHVH our God!

Wednesday, 14 June 2023 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

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, 13 June 2023 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard from the Sacred Scriptures the reminder that all of us as Christians, that is as God’s disciples and followers, all of us must follow His path and do His will, and each one of us have been gathered and called from this world, in order to give testimony of our faith to the people all around us, not just through words only but also through actions and works. If we have not truly and sincerely believed in the Lord, in doing what the Lord has commanded us to do, then we have not lived our lives well as Christians, as how we are supposed to live as God’s servants and disciples. All of us have to be active and committed in our every living moments, so that in everything we say and do, in our every interactions, we are proclaiming God, His love, truth and Good News always.

In our first reading today, taken from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians, as the Apostle reminded the faithful community in Corinth how God has always been faithful to the Covenant and to the promises which He has made and renewed with us and our ancestors, again and again. Therefore, all of us should also be committed to the same Covenant which God has made with us, and to embrace Him thoroughly and wholeheartedly, not ignoring the responsibilities that we have in doing God’s will and in obeying His Law and commandments. God Himself had done everything for our sake, not sparing even His own Son, Whom He sent into our midst, so that by dwelling among us, we may see this perfect manifestation of God’s Love and promises in Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour.

If God has done so much for us, to the extent of bearing His Cross and suffer the worst of persecutions and humiliations for our sake, then naturally, it is only right that all of us should then commit ourselves in a similar way, in following Him and in walking down the path that He has shown all of us. Each one of us as Christians have to be active in living our lives and we have to be sincere and true in our Christian living and way of life, for as we later then heard in our Gospel passage today, that we are all truly the ‘light of the world’ and ‘salt of the earth’. And because of these qualities and comparisons, the Lord wanted us all to know that we have to live up to our faith in Him and not merely paying lip service and keeping appearances only for others to see our faith like how some of our predecessors had done, for which the Lord reprimanded them, like those of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law.

In order to understand better the meaning and significance of our Gospel passage today we should understand the importance of light and salt in our world, and especially more so back then during the time of the Lord Jesus. These two commodities were truly important and precious for the people back then as without them, much of the people’s livelihood cannot go on and no one can carry out their lives if they were lacking in light and salt. First of all, light is needed for the people to see clearly and do their various activities, and back then when there was no electricity and artificial electric light sources, light was an especially crucial and important commodity needed by many people in order for all of them to be able to perform work or any activities and actions at all. Hence, when the Lord referred to His disciples and exhorting them to be the ‘light of the world’, and not to hide their brightness, it is a reference to the expectation how all of us as Christians, we have to be committed to God in all the things we do, and be good role models for one another.

Similarly, salt was used, and indeed is still used today for the preservation for many types of food items. However, back then, salt was even more important because not only that there was no refrigeration methods easily and commercially available back then, and preserving the food with salt is among one of the few ways to ensure that many food items remained viable beyond their fresh shelf-life. Salt was also used to add flavour to the food, and if salt was not used, the food might end up being bland and unpalatable. That is why, salt was really a very important commodity back then, as it is still so nowadays. When the Lord referred to this and exhorted His disciples to be like the ‘salt of the earth’, He was calling on them to live lives that are virtuous, just and full of faith, so that by their examples and good role modelling, they may truly be the flavours that rejuvenated the faith and spread the Good News to the world.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the Scripture readings today clearly conveyed to us the call for us to go forth and be truly faithful in Him in all things, by doing what we can to show what it truly means to be Christians, as God’s faithful ones and as all those whom He has called and chosen, and chose to embrace His Law and commandments. All of us are called and reminded to be the light of the world and salt of the earth so that by our faithful commitment to the Lord and His truth, we may indeed proclaim Him in our world, in our respective various communities and in wherever we have all been sent to, as each and every one of us have the obligation to fulfil in leading more and more people towards the Lord, and we cannot persuade others to do so unless we have embodied our faith in our own way of life and actions.

Today, all of us celebrate the feast of St. Anthony of Padua, the famous saint who is known especially for his intercession on behalf of those who have lost their precious items, and who was also famous for being one of the saints who have been canonised the soonest after his passing, being canonised less than a year after his death, which was a testimony of his great devotion to God and the popularity of his piety and inspiring examples that had touched so many people back then. St. Anthony of Padua was a member of the Franciscan Order and was ordained a priest, and who dedicated his life to missionary work and preaching, spending a lot of time teaching many people throughout his journeys, inspiring many by his deep understanding of the Scriptures, his eloquence and charism, as well as his natural ability to connect to others to whom he had preached to.

Then St. Anthony of Padua continued his ministry in helping with the education of the young generation of Franciscan friars, and which in one occasion led to his association with the discovery of lost things. According to Church tradition and hagiography, St. Anthony of Padua lost his precious psalter, or psalm book, which had been taken by a Franciscan novice who chose to leave the order behind. Through the prayers of St. Anthony of Padua, miraculously not only that the thief-novice was moved to return the stolen psalter to St. Anthony, but the same former novice chose to return to the Franciscan Order and continue his formation. This showed that the Lord is always with His righteous ones and He listened to us all, ever guiding and providing for us, and St. Anthony was listened to by the Lord because he truly has been obedient to Him, and has been the light of the world and the salt of the earth, through his faith, commitment and dedication, which all of us should be inspired to follow as well.

May the Lord continue to inspire and strengthen us, just as He has done so through the life of His faithful servant, St. Anthony of Padua, through his holiness and devotion to God. May all of us also continue to strive to do what we can to be always worthy of God, in doing what God has called us to do, and in committing ourselves in each and every moments for the greater glory of God, to be the light of the world and salt of the earth. May God bless us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

Tuesday, 13 June 2023 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 5 : 13-16

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples and to the people, “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt has lost its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It has become useless. It can only be thrown away and people will trample on it.”

“You are the light of the world. A city built on a mountain cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and covers it; instead it is put on a lampstand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine before others, so that they may see the good you do and praise your Father in heaven.”

Tuesday, 13 June 2023 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 118 : 129, 130, 131, 132, 133, 135

Wonderful are Your decrees; my soul cannot but keep them.

As Your words unfold, light is shed, and the simple-hearted understand.

I gasp in ardent yearning for Your commandments that I love.

Turn to me then and be gracious as to those who love Your Name.

You promised to direct my steps; free my path from evil.

Favour me with Your smile and teach me Your statutes.

Tuesday, 13 June 2023 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

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, 12 June 2023 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures given to us, all of us are reminded of the need for all of us as Christians to remain truly and firmly faithful in the Lord, in doing whatever is right and just, and in accordance to the Law of God at every available opportunities that have been granted to us. Each and every one of us should do our best to obey God’s will, His Law and commandments so that in everything that we say and do, in how we interact with one another, all of us will always be exemplary and good in our Christian life and actions, and it is in doing so that we truly live a worthy life that all of us as Christians are expected to live. That is the essence of what we have been reminded to do today and henceforth, to be the inspiration and role model for others around us in how we ought to live our lives.

In our first reading today, taken from the Epistles of St. Paul to the Church and the faithful in Corinth, St. Paul the Apostle reminded the Christian faithful to keep being faithful to the Lord, and to endure the many challenges and trials that they might have to face amidst living their lives in the world. St. Paul reminded all the Christian faithful that although they may have to face hardships and difficulties in life as they carry on living their lives as Christians, but they should not lose hope and despair, as the Lord would comfort them and help them throughout their most difficult moments. We also should not forget that the Lord Himself has come into our midst and endured on our behalf the most terrible and harshest of oppressions, challenges and hardships so that by His loving sacrifice and sufferings, all of us might be healed and spared the destruction facing us because of our sins.

In our Gospel passage today, we then heard of the teachings of the Lord in the famous Beatitudes, or also known as the Sermon on the Mount, during which time the Lord laid out what His followers and disciples should be like, in their way of life, beliefs and actions. If we are to follow Him and believe in Him, therefore all of us are expected to do what the Lord Himself has told us all and revealed through the Eight Beatitudes. The Beatitudes themselves are a series of blessings and praises that the Lord uttered on those who have upheld the important Christian virtues and values, in living their lives in accordance to the Law and commandments of God, in loving God and in loving their fellow brethren just as much as they have loved themselves. In essence, the Lord was exhorting His people to do as He has commanded them to do in their lives.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all remember again the words of the Beatitudes, in the Lord telling us all how blessed are all those who have been poor in spirit, as this spiritual poverty signifies one’s willingness to humble themselves and to seek the Lord’s mercy and providence, His love and compassion, in acknowledging that we have been faulty and mistaken in our way of life, and how we truly need the Lord in our lives to guide us and to help us. Let us all remember how the Lord told us all that those who are gentle are blessed, because in gentleness lies the patience and love which the Lord Himself has shown us, in continuing to love us even when we have frequently disobeyed Him and rebelled against His will and His commandments.

Let us remember how blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, as those people seek what is right and just in life, and focus themselves on the right pursuits in life, not in succumbing to the temptations of the world, to their greed and ambition, but in putting the Lord and His Law and precepts always ever above everything else. Then, also for those who are merciful, because by showing mercy upon others, they learn empathy and have love, concern and attention on others, in loving each other as fellow brothers and sisters in the same Lord, and not instead being focused on achieving their own personal ambitions and desires, which often led to us to commit wicked acts and sin against one another and against God.

Those who are of pure heart as mentioned by the Lord, have a heart that despises sin and seeks to be righteous in God, and who finds pleasure and joy in serving the Lord and in doing His will, and then those who work for peace, are all those who again also know the value of each individual beings, as they are those who likely place importance in caring for one another and in maintaining human dignity, peace and harmony between people, who seek to overcome differences rather than to emphasise on those differences for discrimination and other negative things we often did. And lastly, those who have been persecuted for their faith and for believing in God, they have placed the Lord at the centre and as the focus of their lives and existence, and suffering for the Lord’s sake as they remained firm in their commitment to follow Him despite the opposition and challenges that they had to face in doing so.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore discern carefully our paths in life, and reflect upon the message of the Beatitudes that the Lord had placed into our hearts and minds. Let us all ask ourselves on whether we have lived our lives faithfully and dedicated ourselves well for the greater glory of God. Have we truly dedicated ourselves to the path that God has shown us, and have we done what we can so that our lives may truly be a reflection of who we are as God’s beloved ones, and therefore, show the light and truth of God’s love and grace? Let us inspire and help one another to persevere in our faith so that despite all the hardships and challenges that we may have to face along our way and journey, we will always be strong and be able to endure those trials for the coming promised salvation and eternal life, the true joy that will be ours in God.

May the Lord, our most loving God and Saviour, continue to strengthen and guide us in our journey of faith and life, and may He empower all of us so that we may be great and most faithful beacons of His light and truth, at all times and at every opportunities, now and always, forevermore. Amen.

Monday, 12 June 2023 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 5 : 1-12

At that time, when Jesus saw the crowds, He went up the mountain. He sat down and His disciples gathered around Him. Then He spoke and began to teach them :

“Fortunate are those who are poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Fortunate are those who mourn, they shall be comforted.”

“Fortunate are the gentle, they shall possess the land. Fortunate are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied.”

“Fortunate are the merciful, for they shall find mercy. Fortunate are those with a pure heart, for they shall see God.”

“Fortunate are those who work for peace, they shall be called children of God. Fortunate are those who are persecuted for the cause of justice, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

“Fortunate are you, when people insult you and persecute you and speak all kinds of evil against you because you are My followers. Be glad and joyful, for a great reward is kept for you in God. This is how this people persecuted the prophets who lived before you.”

Monday, 12 June 2023 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 33 : 2-3, 4, 5, 6-7, 8-9

I will bless the Lord all my days; His praise will be ever on my lips. My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the lowly hear and rejoice.

Oh, let us magnify the Lord, together let us glorify His Name!

I sought the Lord, and He answered me; from all my fears He delivered me.

They who look to Him are radiant with joy, their faces never clouded with shame. When the poor cry out, the Lord hears and saves them from distress.

The Lord’s Angel encamps and patrols to keep safe those who fear Him. Oh, see and taste the goodness of the Lord! Blessed is the one who finds shelter in Him!