Wednesday, 18 July 2018 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

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, 18 July 2018 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 93 : 5-6, 7-8, 9-10, 14-15

They crush Your people, o YHVH, they oppress Your inheritance. They murder the widow and the lonely; they massacre the helpless.

“YHVH does not see,” they say, “The God of Jacob does not care.” Remember this, you stupid people; when will you understand, you fools!

He Who made the ear, will He not hear? He Who formed the eye, will He not see? He Who rebukes nations, will He not punish them?

YHVH will not reject His people, nor will He forsake His heritage. Justice will return to the just; and the upright will follow, in its wake.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Isaiah 10 : 5-7, 13-16

Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger, the staff of My fury! Against a godless nation I send him, against a people who provoke My wrath I dispatch him, to plunder and pillage, to tread them down like mud in the streets. But the mind of his king is far from this, his heart harbours other thoughts; what he wants is to destroy, to make an end of all nations.

For the King says : “By my own strength I have done this and by my own wisdom, for I am clever. I have moved the frontiers of people, I have plundered treasures, I have brought inhabitants down to the dust, I have toppled kings from their thrones. As one reaches into a nest, so my hands have reached into nations’ wealth. As one gathers deserted eggs, so have I gathered the riches of the earth. No one flapped a wing or opened its mouth to chirp a protest.”

Does the ax claim more credit than the man who wields it? Does the saw magnify itself more than the one who uses it? This would be like a rod wielding the man who lifts it up; will those not made of wood, be controlled by the cudgel? This is why YHVH Sabaoth, is ready to send a wasting sickness upon the king’s sturdy warriors. Beneath his plenty, a flame will burn like a consuming fire.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day the Scriptures mentioned to us first of all, God’s assurance to His people in the kingdom of Judah, led by king Ahaz that He would be with them regardless of the opposition and troubles that they were facing at the time. At that time there were many enemies rising up against Judah, composed of the kingdom of Aram and the northern kingdom of Israel. The two kingdoms have allied themselves in a plot to destroy Judah.

The people had no faith in God, as they have often disobeyed Him and worshipped pagan idols and gods instead of worshipping Him. All of these they have done, despite the fact that God had performed so many good deeds and miracles among the people. He had delivered them from the hands of their former Egyptian masters who enslaved the Israelites for many years, and the enemies of Israel, such as the Amalekites, Philistines and many others were defeated by God’s might.

They did not have a faith that lasted a long time, and their lukewarm attitude and preoccupation in worldly matters ended up tempting them to walk away from the path which the Lord had shown them. That is because their hearts were filled not with love and desire to love God, but instead with pride, with selfishness and all sorts of wickedness that prevented them from being truly faithful.

In the Gospel passage today, the same problems were faced by the Lord Jesus, Our God and Saviour, Who went to His people in various parts of Galilee, performing miracles and many good works before the people. He healed the sick, including the mother of St. Peter among them, opened the eyes of the blind, loosened the tongues of the mute and opened the ears of the deaf. He even raised people back from the dead, as He had done with the daughter of Jairus, the son of the widow of Naim and many more.

Despite all of these obvious signs, many of the people still refused to listen to the Lord or to believe in Him. They doubted Him and presumed to know Him, especially those who have known Him in Nazareth and having seen Him growing up in their midst, and therefore, assuming that He could not have performed all those miraculous deeds on His own, and doubting Him.

They failed to believe in Him, because they were too focused on the things of this world, and view everything from the perspective of the world. They allowed themselves to be swayed by the falsehoods and all the lies which Satan placed in their hearts to make them doubt and to harden their hearts and minds against the Lord Who tried to speak to them and to show them the truth.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, having heard of the accounts from the Scriptures telling us both of what happened during the years of the Old Testament, and during the time when the Lord Jesus performed His earthly ministry, all of us are called to reflect on our own attitude in life and how we have lived our lives thus far. Have we been faithful to the Lord, or have we instead lived our lives in our own way?

We are often too preoccupied in our respective, busy lives, filled with many concerns and desired of worldly nature, which prevent us from listening to the Lord calling us to Him, and which distract us from the path which we ought to take in our journey towards Him. That is why so many of us failed to respond to God’s call, and walked the same path as those who have disobeyed the Lord in the past.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, are we going to continue this attitude in life? Are we going to continue to live in sin and refuse to follow the Lord just because we think that we know what is better for us? Let us all today learn to be humble, that first and foremost, we must place God at the centre of our lives, as our focus and priority, and know that not everything in this world is about us.

And we have to learn to quieten ourselves, in our minds and in our hearts, so that we can find out better what it is that the Lord wants us to do in our own respective lives. This is why it is so important that all of us as Christians must know how to pray, and pray with the correct intention and faith. By having an active and vibrant prayer life, we can then better resist the temptations to sin and know better God’s will and love for us.

May the Lord be with us and be our Guide, that throughout our struggles and journey in life, and despite the challenges and tribulations that come our way, we will always remain strong and resolute in our faith and dedication to God. Let us all strive with a renewed faith, day after day, to be ever more faithful to the Lord in our lives. Amen.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

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.”

Tuesday, 17 July 2018 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 47 : 2-3ab, 3cd-4, 5-6, 7-8

Great is YHVH, most worthy of praise in the City of God, His holy mountain. Beautifully elevated, it is the joy of all the earth.

Mount Zion, heavenly mountain, the City of the great King. Here, within her lines of defence, God has shown Himself to be a sure fortress.

The kings assembled together, advanced toward the city. But as soon as they saw it, they were astounded; they panicked and took to flight.

Seized with fear, they trembled, like a woman in travail, or like ships of Tarshish, shattered by a strong wind from the east.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Isaiah 7 : 1-9

When Ahaz son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, was king of Judah, king Rezin of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah, king of Israel, laid siege to Jerusalem but they were unable to capture it. When the news reached the house of David, “Aram’s troops are encamped in Ephraim,” the heart of the king and the hearts of the people trembled as the trees of the forest trembled before the wind.

YHVH then said to Isaiah : “Go with your son A-remnant-will-return, and meet Ahaz at the end of the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Washerman’s Field. Say to him, ‘Stay calm and fear not; do not lose courage before these two stumps of smouldering firebrands – the fierce anger of Rezin the Aramean and the blazing fury of the son of Remaliah.’”

“‘You know that Aram, Ephraim and Remaliah’s son have plotted against Judah, saying : Let us invade and scare it, let us seize it and put the son of Tabeel king over it. But the Lord YHVH says : It shall not be so; it shall not come to pass. For Damascus is only the head of Aram and Rezin the lord of Damascus. Samaria is only the head of Ephraim and Remaliah’s son is only the lord of Samaria. Within fifty-six years, Ephraim will be shattered and will no longer be a people. But if you do not stand firm in faith, you, too, will not stand at all.’”