Saturday, 13 July 2019 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Henry (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints or Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of God in the Scriptures speaking to us about living faithfully in God’s loving care and providence. God will never abandon those who are faithful to Him, and in fact, as we all should know, God will seek out even those who have fallen away from Him and left Him. If only we mankind realise just how great is the love which God has for each and every one of us.

In the first reading today first of all we heard of the last instruction which Jacob, the father of all Israelites told his twelve sons just before he passed away, and then followed by the worries that the brothers of Joseph had, when they saw that their father had passed away. They were worried that Joseph would take revenge on them for the terrible treatment he had suffered in the days of his youth, when they plotted and almost killed him and abandoned him to the slavers of Midian.

But Joseph reassured his brothers that it was far from him from desiring any form of revenge on his brothers, as it has been the will of God that everything happened as it had happened. Joseph was meant to go before his brothers to Egypt, to prepare the way for his entire family and to save all of them when the time of the great famine came. If it was not for Joseph suffering all those years, the whole family of Israel might have perished.

Of course, it had been tough for Joseph, but Joseph remained faithful throughout those turbulent and difficult years. He did not forget the Lord’s hands guiding him through the difficult times, and by the gift which God gave him in interpreting dreams, he managed to get himself out of slavery and prison, and even became the Regent and second most powerful man in Egypt after the Pharaoh himself.

That was what happened when someone kept his faith and trust in God rather than resorting to using one’s own ways and powers. God will not abandon us to destruction, and even though it may seem at times that we have a lot of trials and challenges ahead of us, with little hope and light in our path, but God will give His aid to us in His own mysterious ways, through mysterious venues and people we meet along our journey.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard the same reassurance that Our Lord Jesus Christ has shown to His disciples as He told them that they were truly beloved by God and has nothing to fear from those forces of the world that can bring about our destruction. For nothing in this world can destroy us completely and totally, except for the judgment of God. God alone has the power to judge us and our eternal soul into damnation.

And God does not willingly cast us out into the eternal darkness, unless it has been by our own conscious choice that we reject God’s love and kindness, compassion and mercy willingly without regretting and being ashamed of our sins and wickedness. Yet, are we aware of this love which God has for each and every one of us, or have we been so busy and preoccupied with ourselves and our worldly desires that we fail to recognise this?

On this day, we celebrate the feast of St. Henry, who was the Holy Roman Emperor and therefore the greatest ruler of Christendom approximately one thousand years ago. He was remembered for his great holiness and leadership, in his commitment to serve both God and His people, in his countless efforts to improve and grow the Church of God in supporting the expansion of dioceses and in building of many Church infrastructure, as well as in his commitment and service to His people.

He devoted his whole reign and life to the good of the Church and the people entrusted to him, and for his great love for God and for the trust that he has shown in the Lord and His Church, St. Henry, holy servant of God and Holy Roman Emperor should be our inspiration in how we ought to live our own lives in this world as well. We should be inspired by his zeal and piety, his dedication to God and for his love to his fellow men.

Let us all therefore also put our trust in God from now on, turning to Him with all of our hearts and with all of our strength, living our lives with a renewed purpose, that is to love Him and to serve Him ever more faithfully from now on. May God bless us all and our good endeavours. Amen.

Saturday, 13 July 2019 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Henry (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints or Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Matthew 10 : 24-33

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “A student is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. A student should be content to become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If the head of the household has been called Beelzebul, how much more, those of his household! So, do not be afraid of them!”

“There is nothing covered that will not be uncovered. There is nothing hidden that will not be made known. What I am telling you in the dark, you must speak in the light. What you hear in private, proclaim from the housetops. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body, but have no power to kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of Him Who can destroy both body and soul in hell.”

“For a few cents you can buy two sparrows. Yet not one sparrow falls to the ground without your Father knowing. As for you, every hair of your head has been counted. Do not be afraid : you are worth more than many sparrows! Whoever acknowledges Me before others, I will acknowledge before My Father in heaven. Whoever rejects Me before others, I will reject before My Father in heaven.”

Saturday, 13 July 2019 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Henry (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints or Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Psalm 104 : 1-2, 3-4, 6-7

Give thanks to YHVH, call on His Name; make known His works among the nations. Sing to Him, sing His praise, proclaim all His wondrous deeds.

Glory in His holy Name; let those who seek YHVH rejoice. Look to YHVH and be strong; seek His face always.

You descendants of His servant Abraham, you sons of Jacob, His chosen ones! He is YHVH our God; His judgments reach the whole world.

Saturday, 13 July 2019 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Henry (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints or Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Genesis 49 : 29-32 and Genesis 50 : 15-26a

Jacob then gave his sons these instructions : “I am soon to be gathered to my people; bury me near my fathers, in the cave in the field of Ephron, the Hittite; in the cave in the field of Machpelah, to the east of Mamre in Canaan, the field that Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite as a burial place. It was there that Abraham and his wife Sarah were buried. There they buried Leah. The field and the cave in it were purchased from the Hittites.”

When Joseph’s brothers realised that their father was dead they said, “What if Joseph turns against us in hate because of the evil we did him?” So they sent word to Joseph saying, “Before he died your father told us to say this to you : Please forgive the crime and the sin of your brothers in doing evil to you. Forgive the crime of the servants of your father’s God.”

When he was given the message, Joseph wept. His brothers went and threw themselves down before him, “We are your slaves,” they said. But Joseph reassured them, “Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? You intended to do me harm, but God intended to turn it to good in order to bring about what is happening today – the survival of many people. So have no fear! I will provide for you and your little ones.” In this way he touched their hearts and consoled them.

Joseph remained in Egypt together with all his father’s family. He lived for a hundred and ten years, long enough to see Ephraim’s great-grandchildren, and also to have the children of Machir, the son of Manasseh, placed on his knees after their birth.

Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am going to die, but God will surely remember you and take you from this country to the land He promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” Joseph then made the sons of Israel swear, saying, “When God comes to bring you out from here, carry my bones with you.” Joseph died at the age of one hundred and ten.

Friday, 13 July 2018 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Henry (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture beginning with the book of the prophet Hosea, in which the Lord spoke to His people through the prophet, calling in them to repent from their sinful ways and from their wicked paths. They have abandoned the Lord and His ways, and they have not been faithful, as they chose the pagan idols and the wicked false gods instead of God, Who has loved them and cared for them.

God was indeed angry at His people, and because they abandoned Him and placed their trust in things that did not come from God, they also encountered great sufferings in life, having to endure humiliation and persecution, exile and slavery in foreign lands. But God did not forget about His people, and in truth, He continued to love them regardless of their infidelity and rebelliousness.

That is why, through the prophet Hosea, God wanted to let His people to know that He loved them, and He cared for them very much, so much so that, should they repent from their sins, turn towards Him and embrace Him once again as their Lord and Master, He will bless them again, provide for them again, and return to them all that they had lost, their dignity and their livelihood.

Yet, if we read throughout the entirety of the Old Testament, as well as the New Testament, we can see, just how the people of God have repeatedly disobeyed God, they fell back into their sinful ways many times, again and again. They fell because of their inability to resist the temptations of the flesh and the many allures of worldliness present before them. They were overcome by their unbridled desire and pride.

It is to these people that the Lord Jesus sent His disciples, to do His works among them and to establish the foundations of the good work of salvation, which is now in the Church. He told them that He was sending them like sheep sent to be amidst the wolves. It was an analogy and metaphor for the kind of persecution, rejection and hostility that the Apostles would have to encounter during their mission and work.

But without these courageous people, who served the Lord wholeheartedly and with passion, there would not have been salvation for those many souls who have been lost and misguided into opposing God’s works. Those souls would have been condemned to eternity in hell, and many more would have been lost forever to the Lord. It was thanks to the hard work and perseverance of these faithful Apostles and disciples of the Lord, that this did not happen.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are called to realise that the works of the Apostles have not yet been completed. Instead, it is an ongoing process, as there are always more souls out there waiting to be saved, by receiving the truth and the Good News. And we are the successors of the good works of the Apostles, that by our contributions and works, we may continue to propagate the truth of God and His salvation to many more people.

And as mentioned, just as the Apostles had encountered obstacles, difficulties and opposition throughout their ministry, therefore, we will also likely encounter the same kind of trials and difficulties in our own. But this should not dissuade us from continuing to live our lives with faith, and from caring for those who have been lost and are sundered from God. Rather, it should in fact be an inspiration for us to do even more for the sake of our fellow brethren in need of our help.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today, we celebrate together the feast of St. Henry, Holy Roman Emperor as Henry II, the pinnacle and most supreme ruler of the Christendom aside from the Pope, the Vicar of Christ on earth. St. Henry, although a powerful ruler, but he was also remembered for his great piety and dedication to the Lord, and through his rulership, he helped to introduce important reforms that had far-reaching effects throughout the whole Christendom.

St. Henry lived with great piety, carrying out a celibate lifestyle, and devoted his whole life to the service of God. He supported the good works of the Church and helped in the process of the reform of the Church, particularly in the imposition of clerical celibacy and the enforcement of piety and good conduct among the clergy. He was also instrumental in encouraging missionary activities, leading to the conversion of many to the faith.

St. Henry is truly an inspiration to each and every one of us, showing us how to live honourably in faith, and filled with commitment and devotion to the Lord, even amidst difficulties and challenges, and all the obstacles that we will encounter in life. Even as a mighty Emperor, St. Henry also had to face many opposition, and he did so, with great piety and humility, devoting himself wholeheartedly to God.

Therefore, let us all devote ourselves anew to the Lord, and let us all seek to be ever closer to God and ever more committed every day of our lives, in serving Him through our every words, actions and deeds. May God bless us all, now and always. Amen.

Friday, 13 July 2018 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Henry (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints)

Matthew 10 : 16-23

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Look, I send you out like sheep among wolves. You must be as clever as snakes and as innocent as doves. Be on your guard with people, for they will hand you over to their courts, and they will flog you in their synagogues. You will be brought to trial before rulers and kings because of Me, so that you may witness to them and the pagans.”

“But when you are arrested, do not worry about what you are to say, or how you are to say it; when the hour comes, you will be given what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father, speaking through you.”

“Brother will hand over his brother to death, and a father his child; children will turn against their parents and have them put to death. Everyone will hate you because of Me, but whoever stands firm to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next. I tell you the truth, you will not have passed through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.”

Friday, 13 July 2018 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Henry (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints)

Psalm 50 : 3-4, 8-9, 12-13, 14 and 17

Have mercy on me, o God, in Your love. In Your great compassion blot out my sin. Wash me thoroughly of my guilt; cleanse me of evil.

I know You desire truth in the heart; teach me wisdom in my inmost being. Cleanse me, with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, I shall be whiter than snow.

Create in me, o God, a pure heart; give me a new and steadfast spirit. Do not cast me out of Your presence nor take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Give me again the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. O Lord, open my lips, and I will declare Your praise.