Monday, 27 June 2022 : 13th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Cyril of Alexandria, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Matthew 8 : 18-22

At that time, when Jesus saw the crowd pressing around Him, He gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. A teacher of the Law approached Him; and said, “Master, I will follow You wherever You go.”

Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Another disciple said to Him, “Lord, let me go and bury my father first.” But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their dead.”

Monday, 27 June 2022 : 13th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Cyril of Alexandria, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Psalm 49 : 16bc-17, 18-19, 20-21, 22-23

What right have you to mouth My laws, or to talk about My covenant? You hate My commands and cast My words behind you.

You join a thief when you meet one; you keep company with adulterers. You have a mouth of evil and a deceitful tongue.

You speak ill of your brother, and slander your own mother’s son. Because I was silent while you did these things, you thought I was like you. But now I rebuke you and make this charge against you.

Give this a thought, you, who forget God; lest I tear you to pieces with no one to help you. Those who give with thanks offerings honour Me, but the one who walks blamelessly, I will show him the salvation of God.

Monday, 27 June 2022 : 13th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Cyril of Alexandria, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Amos 2 : 6-10, 13-16

YHVH says this, “Because Israel has sinned, not once but three times; and even more, I will not relent; They sell the just for money and the needy for a pair of sandals; they tread on the head of the poor and trample them upon the dust of the earth, while they silence the right of the afflicted; a man and his father go to the same woman to profane My Holy Name; they stretch out upon garments taken in pledge, beside every altar; they take the wine of those they swindle and are drunk in the House of their God.”

“It was I Who destroyed the Amorites before them, whose height was like the height of the cedar; a people as sturdy as an oak. I destroyed their fruit above and their roots below. It was I Who brought you up from the land of Egypt and led you forty years in the wilderness to take possession of the land of the Amorites.”

“Behold, I will crush you to the ground, as a cart does when it is full of sheaves. The swift shall be unable to flee and the strong man shall lose his strength. The warrior shall not save himself nor the bowman stand his ground. The swift of foot shall not escape nor the horseman save himself. Even the most stout-hearted among the warriors shall flee away naked on that day,” says YHVH.

Sunday, 26 June 2022 : Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday as we recall the words from the Sacred Scriptures that we have just heard today, we are all reminded that the primary mission of the Church has been and will always be that of evangelisation and mission. That is what all the faithful had been called to, as our primary objective, in proclaiming the Lord to all the people of all the nations, to everyone whom we encounter in life. Each and every one of us are called to be faithful and committed followers and disciples of the Lord, in dedicating our time, efforts and lives for the greater glory of God.

In our first reading this Sunday, we heard from the Book of Kings of Israel and Judah, the story of the calling of Elisha, the one whom God had chosen to be the successor of the prophet Elijah, the prophet who had worked and laboured for many years in the land of the northern kingdom of Israel. Elijah had worked hard to call the people who had disobeyed the Lord, fell into the path of sin and darkness, all those who had abandoned and betrayed the Lord, those who have worshipped the pagan idols and gods and persecuted those who remained faithful and all the prophets sent into their midst to remind them.

Elijah spent most of his years working alone amidst those who were hostile against him, and Elisha was called to be the one to succeed him, as Elijah’s time in this world was coming to an end. Elisha followed Elijah, and left behind his house, his family, and entrusting himself to the Lord wholeheartedly. Elisha embraced the calling that God had made to him, and henceforth, he became the prophet of God, the successor of Elijah. He answered God’s call with faith and he did what the Lord had asked him to do. That way, Elisha showed us all how each and every one of us ought to respond to God’s call, that is with faith and obedience.

In our second reading today, taken from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Church and the faithful in Galatia, St. Paul spoke of Christ our Lord Who has freed us from our bondage to sin, freeing us from the chains that have enslaved us from the beginning when we first fell into sin. Through Christ, His Son, God has brought upon us His salvation and the hope of eternal life, and delivered us from the precipice of death and destruction. The Lord has given us the sure means to eternal life and guaranteed us salvation, as long as we entrust ourselves to Him, and He also showed us the new path going forward, which we ought to follow in our journey towards Him.

And that was where St. Paul spoke about the way of the Spirit, which is distinct from the way of the flesh. St. Paul said that as Christians, as those who believe in the Lord, we must be truly faithful to Him and walk in the path that He has pointed out to us, versus the path that the world has shown us, which many of us are familiar with. As Christians, we are all called to embrace His calling to holiness, leaving behind the trap of sin, which had kept us down for so long. We are all challenged to rise up to our faith, and to live our lives virtuously according to the way of the Lord while resisting the pleasures of the flesh, the temptation of human pride and greed.

Then, lastly in our Gospel today, we heard of the Lord Jesus speaking to His disciples and followers, telling them to follow Him wholeheartedly. He sent them out in pairs to go to places that He Himself was to visit to prepare the way for Him. There were those who received the disciples well and there were those who refused to listen to them, and when the disciples asked that those who rejected the Lord ought to be punished and destroyed, reminiscing of what happened with the ancient Sodom and Gomorrah, the Lord rebuked the disciples for such suggestion, and moved on to the next village.

This tells us that the Lord is calling on each one of us to follow Him, to believe in His truth and to walk in His path, and He loves us even more than our trespasses and sins. Despite the stubbornness of those who refused to listen to the disciples at the time, the Lord did not want to punish them because ultimately, He knew that some of them may yet have the chance to be redeemed in the future, and He still left the path open for those people to walk, and to enter into His merciful care, should they choose to listen to Him and soften their hearts and unseal their minds from listening and paying attention to God.

And among those whom He had called, in that same Gospel passage the Lord seemed to be quite harsh when He told those who said that they had matters to settle and to handle before they were to follow Him, such as burying their parents first or saying goodbye first, and that those who turned their back on the kingdom of God has no place in it. First of all, we must not read into the Lord’s intention literally and without understanding the context, especially considering the additional intention of the writer of the Gospels, which in this case is St. Luke. In fact, the Lord’s intention in uttering such words is to convince us all that we cannot be divided in our attention or easily distracted in our path of following the Lord.

Otherwise, we will end up being easily pulled away from the right path, and we will end up dividing our attention and time, and then falling off that path that God had set before us, as what our ancestors and predecessors had experienced. The same people of Israel that the prophet Elijah and Elisha ministered to, did not have their heart fully focus and attuned towards the Lord, and as a result, they veered off the path and were easily tempted and swayed by worldly temptations, committing sins and vile things before God and man alike. The same thing can happen to us as well unless we actively strive to remain faithful in God and to do His will.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we recall and discern the messages that the Lord had presented to us in the Scriptures, we should remind ourselves that each and every one of us have been called by God to contribute our efforts and ourselves to the mission He has entrusted to us, that is in evangelisation to the whole world. Each one of us have been given different gifts, talents, abilities and opportunities so that hopefully each one of us can do what we can in our respective and often distinct situation and capacities, to glorify God by our lives and to bring His salvation to more and more people, all around us, and to whoever we encounter in life.

The message that the Lord wants us to receive and understand today is that each one of us can do our best wherever we are and in whatever we are doing. There are indeed some of us who are called like that of the prophet Elisha, to leave everything behind and to follow the Lord wholly and wholeheartedly. That was what our priests and religious had been called to, into their mission of serving the Lord and us, His people, the community of the faithful. But at the same time, we must not forget that the laity also have a massive impact on the works and efforts of the Church, and each one of us, especially the laity have the obligation and calling to fulfil, to be exemplary in faith in each and every one of our own way of life.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore embrace wholeheartedly our respective calling in life, and for those of us who have not yet discovered what our calling in life is, let us all spend the time to discern well, and to pray for the Lord’s guidance, to be open-minded and welcoming to God’s calling, so that we may soon come to know what it is that we can do as God’s followers and disciples in our world and communities today. Let us all also pray for strength and perseverance so that we may be better able to resist the temptations to conform to the way of sinfulness and evil, and that we may be more committed to the path that God has shown us.

May the Lord continue to help us and guide us in our journey throughout life. May He empower each one of us to be His faithful disciples, filling up our hearts with His love and help us in our daily struggle against evil and sin. May God be with us always and bless our every good works, efforts and endeavours, all for His greater glory, now and always. Amen.

Sunday, 26 June 2022 : Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 9 : 51-62

At that time, as the time drew near when Jesus would be taken up to heaven, He made up His mind to go to Jerusalem. He sent ahead of Him some messengers, who entered a Samaritan village to prepare a lodging for Him. But the people would not receive Him, because He was on His way to Jerusalem.

Seeing this, James and John, His disciples, said, “Lord, do You want us to call down fire from heaven to reduce them to ashes?” Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they went on to another village.

As they went on their way, a man said to Jesus, “I will follow You wherever You go.” Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” To another, Jesus said, “Follow Me!” But he answered, “Let me go back now, for, first, I want to bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their dead; as for you, leave them, and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

Another said to him, “I will follow You, Lord, but first let me say goodbye to my family.” And Jesus said to him, “Whoever has put his hand to the plow, and looks back, is not fit for the kingdom of God.”

Sunday, 26 June 2022 : Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Galatians 5 : 1, 13-18

Christ freed us, to make us really free. So remain firm, and do not submit, again, to the yoke of slavery.

You, brothers and sisters, were called to enjoy freedom; I am not speaking of that freedom which gives free rein to the desires of the flesh, but of that which makes you slaves of one another through love. For the whole Law is summed up in this sentence : You shall love your neighbour as yourself. But if you bite and tear each other to pieces, be careful lest you all perish.

Therefore, I say to you : walk according to the Spirit and do not give way to the desires of the flesh! For the desires of the flesh war against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are opposed to the flesh. Both are in conflict with each other, so that you cannot do everything you would like. But when you are led by the Spirit you are not under the Law.

Sunday, 26 June 2022 : Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 15 : 1-2a and 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11

Keep me safe, o God, for in You I take refuge. I say to the Lord, “O Lord, my inheritance and my cup, my chosen portion – hold secure my lot.”

I bless the Lord Who counsels me; even at night my inmost self instructs me. I keep the Lord always before me; for with Him at my right hand, I will never be shaken.

My heart, therefore, exults, my soul rejoices; my body too will rest assured. For You will not abandon my soul to the grave, nor will You suffer Your Holy One to see decay in the land of the dead.

You will show me the path of life, in Your presence the fullness of joy, at Your right hand happiness forever.

Sunday, 26 June 2022 : Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Kings 19 : 16b, 19-21

God said to Elijah, “And Elisha, son of Shaphat, from Abel Meholah, you shall anoint as prophet in your place.”

Elijah left. He found Elisha, son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen; he was following the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and cast his cloak over him. Elisha left the oxen, ran after Elijah and said, “Let me say goodbye to my father and mother; then I will follow you.”

Elijah said to him, “Return if you want, do not worry about what I did.” However, Elisha turned back, took the yoke of oxen and slew them. He roasted their meat on the pieces of the yoke and gave it to his people who ate of it. After this, he followed Elijah and began ministering to him.

Saturday, 25 June 2022 : 12th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day after the celebration of the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary is celebrated, reminding us all of the special link and connection that Jesus our Lord has with His mother Mary, and just how the loving, Immaculate Heart of Mary is truly a reflection of her own Son’s Most Sacred Heart. Mary’s heart is full of love for all of us, her adopted children, as we all have been entrusted by the Lord to her to be our own mother, and as we also become her own children by faith.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of the prophet Isaiah, in which the Lord spoke to the people of God through the prophet Isaiah regarding the coming of God’s salvation to this world. The Lord sent His deliverance to this world, the salvation which He has promised us from the very beginning of time, in the Son that He has begotten, the Divine Word of God incarnate in the flesh through His mother, Mary, whose Immaculate Heart and love we remember today, as our own loving mother and guide. We are reminded as we celebrate the Feast of Mary’s Immaculate Heart, of God’s own love for us, that He has generously given and offered to us.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard of the account of the Lord Jesus and what happened when He was only twelve years old and remained in the Temple of Jerusalem while His parents, Mary and St. Joseph went on their way back to Nazareth and not knowing that Jesus had remained behind in the Temple. I am sure we are all aware of what happened in that story, and we heard how Mary and St. Joseph went all the way back to Jerusalem in search of the young Jesus, and found Him at the Temple. We saw how concerned Mary and St. Joseph were, in looking for and being worried for the young Lord, Who told them that He wanted to be in the House of His Father.

Such were the strange and yet truthful words of the young Lord Jesus, as He was indeed in the House and Presence of His heavenly Father. Yet, man could not have possibly comprehended that truth there and then. We heard how Mary heard all these and kept them all deep within her heart. She had certainly remembered how the Archangel Gabriel came to her and proclaiming the Good News that she was to become the Mother of the Son of God Most High, and everything had come true as the Lord had said and proclaimed to her.

Mary kept everything in her Immaculate Heart, believing in what God had told her and guided her to, and she entrusted herself in His love and providence, continuing to care for her Son, and doing her part in supporting Him for the upcoming ministry and works that the Lord Jesus would be called to do, and she watched Him grew, while gaining more and more Wisdom and power, and she loved Him with all her Immaculate Heart. This same love brought her all the way to walk and journey with Him even to the foot of the Cross. It was this same Immaculate Heart that was akin to being pierced with swords when she saw and witnessed how her own Son was suffering and dying on His Cross.

Mary’s heart was truly pure and immaculate as her title suggests to us, as the Lord Himself had made her Immaculate and pure, as the Immaculate Conception, free from the taints of original sin, and as such, her heart remained pure and free from the blemish of those sins that corrupted many others. That Immaculate Heart is filled with love for all of us just as much as she has loved her Son wholeheartedly. After all, is she not our mother as well? I have mentioned earlier that through the Church and by her Son’s works, all of us have been made to be Mary’s own children, her adopted ones, to be loved by her and cared by her passionate love and care.

Therefore, today, as we commemorate this Feast in honour of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Mother of God and also our own mother, let us all hence commit ourselves anew to love the Lord, our God and Saviour, through the examples that our beloved mother herself had shown, in how Mary had dedicated her whole life to love her Son, and how she had dedicated her whole life to obey God’s will and becoming the perfect example for all of us in how we should live our own lives as Christians.

Let us all henceforth renew our faith in the Lord our God, entrusting ourselves in the Immaculate Heart of Mary, His Mother, as well as in His Most Sacred Heart, that we may strive from now on, in our best ability and effort to walk ever more faithfully in His presence, distancing ourselves from sin, and turning once again into the path of righteousness and justice, following the path that God has shown us. May God be with us always, and may His mother Mary continue to pray for us and guide us in our journey of faith through life, that we may always ever be faithful, at all times. Amen.

Saturday, 25 June 2022 : 12th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 2 : 41-51

Every year the parents of Jesus went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover, as was customary. And when Jesus was twelve years old, He went up with them, according to the custom of this feast. After the festival was over, they returned, but the Boy Jesus remained in Jerusalem, and His parents did not know it.

They thought He was in the company, and after walking the whole day they looked for Him among their relatives and friends. As they did not find Him, they went back to Jerusalem searching for Him, and on the third day they found Him in the Temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions. And all the people were amazed at His understanding and His answers.

His parents were very surprised when they saw Him, and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Your father and I were very worried while searching for You.” Then He said to them, “Why were you looking for Me? Did you not know that I must be in My Father’s house?” But they did not understand this answer.

Jesus went down with them, returning to Nazareth, and He continued to be subject to them. As for His mother, she kept all these things in her heart.