Friday, 1 August 2014 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listened how the very people of Nazareth, the hometown of Jesus, rejected Him and had a serious prejudice against Him. They talked of Him being a carpenter’s son, as in their mind, He was nothing more than the son of Joseph, the simple carpenter of the town. To them it was absolutely impossible that the son of a carpenter could be the One to bring the salvation of God to them.

Yes, within their hearts they had been blinded by their own sense of jealousy and human desire. They thought of evil in their heart when they see someone whom they considered inferior to themselves, gaining the ultimate glory and honour. And this is a problem which had plagued mankind for ages. Mankind had the tendency to envy and to want from others what we do not have.

The people of God at the time of the prophet Jeremiah had also rejected the Lord and opted to walk in their own paths in rebellion against God. And instead of following the Lord, they followed their own heart’s desire. That was why the prophet Jeremiah was called from among them, so that God might speak with these wayward children of His, and hopefully to call some of them back into His fold.

These people acted like just how the people of Nazareth acted against Jesus. In fact, the priests and the educated elite, the leaders of the people were the ones who were ganging up against Jeremiah, the chosen prophet of God. They refused to listen to the truth, because they thought they were better than others, and thinking that what they had done were right, while in fact what they had done were wicked in the sight of God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today God wants us to know that we ought to listen to Him speaking to us in the depths of our hearts. We should throw far, far away our pride and learn how to humbly follow the Lord. This is important if we are to gain salvation in God and avoid the fate of those who had rejected the Lord, both those who lived in the time of Jeremiah, and those who lived in the time of Jesus.

Today we celebrate the feast day of St. Alphonsus Mary Liguori, a bishop and doctor of the Church, as well as the founder of the renowned Redemptorist religious order. As the founder of the Redemptorists, or also known in their official name as the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, St. Alphonsus Liguori is renowned for his devotion to the Lord as the Redeemer of all mankind.

You see, brothers and sisters, that God desires nothing but our salvation and redemption from sin that separates us from Him. He wants us to be brought out from the pit of darkness we have fallen into. God has sent us nothing less than His own Son to be our Saviour. Yes, Jesus our Lord and Saviour. And it is on this salvation that God had provided us that St. Alphonsus Liguori and his Redemptorists had tried to bring us closer to.

St. Alphonsus Liguori himself had a bright career in life as a lawyer and working in the field of legal studies, before he decided to give it up and devote his life entirely to God, and to help his fellow men to come closer to the redeeming love of our God. Through his writings and numerous works, we come to realise the love that God has for us, as well as the need for us to draw from His love and mercy in our lives.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, shall we all renew our pledge and commitment of love towards Jesus our Lord and Redeemer? St. Alphonsus Liguori had shown us the way, and he had given us a guide. Through his congregation and brethren in the Redemptorist order that we have amongst us even today, we are brought ever closer to the salvation and the mercy of God whom we had rejected, like the people of Israel of old, and like the people of Nazareth to whom Jesus Himself had come.

Let us not be like them, and let us welcome the Lord with open hands and open hearts, just as He Himself opens up His hand to welcome us back. May God forgive us our sins and trespasses, and may His light shine upon our path, that we may find our way back to His love. God bless us all. Amen.

Friday, 1 August 2014 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 13 : 54-58

Jesus went to His hometown and taught the people in their synagogue. They were amazed and said, “Where did He get this wisdom and these special powers? Is He not the carpenter’s Son? Is Mary not His mother and are James, Joseph, Simon and Judas not His brothers? Are not all His sisters living here? How did He get all this?” And so they took offense at Him.

Jesus said to them, “The only place where prophets are not welcome is their hometown and in their own family.” And He did not perform many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

Friday, 1 August 2014 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 68 : 5, 8-10, 14

More than the hairs of my head are those who hate me for no reason; mighty are those who attack me, many are my enemies without cause. What I did not steal I am forced to restore.

Since I am held in contempt for Your sake, and shame has covered my face. U have become a stranger to my kindred, an alien to my mother’s sons. Zeal for Your House consumes me as fire and those who insult You insult me as well.

But I pray to You, o Lord, at a time most favourable to You. In Your great love, o God, answer me with Your unfailing help.

Friday, 1 August 2014 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Jeremiah 26 : 1-9

At the beginning of the reign of Judah’s king Jehoiakim son of Josiah, the word of YHVH came to Jeremiah : YHVH says this, “Stand in the courtyard of YHVH’s House and say to all who come from the towns of Judah to worship in YHVH’s House – all that I command you to say; do not omit anything!”

“Perhaps they will listen to you. Perhaps each one will turn from his wicked ways. Then I will change My mind and forget the destruction that I have planned to inflict on them because of their wicked deeds.”

“Tell them : This is what YHVH says : ‘You have not obeyed Me and you have failed to walk according to My Law which I have set before you. You have not heeded My servants, the prophets, whom I have persistently sent to you. If you stubbornly close your ears to them, I will treat this House of Mine as I treated the sanctuary of Shiloh and let all the nations see that Jerusalem is a cursed city.”

The priests, the prophets and all the people heard what Jeremiah said in YHVH’s House. When Jeremiah finished saying all that YHVH had commanded, he was besieged by the priests and prophets saying, “You are bound to die! How dare you speak in YHVH’s Name telling us that this House will be treated like Shiloh and this city is to become a deserted ruin.”

And all the people gathered around Jeremiah in the House of YHVH.