Thursday, 25 July 2019 : Feast of St. James, Apostle (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Matthew 20 : 20-28

At that time, the mother of James and John came to Jesus with her sons, and she knelt down, to ask a favour. Jesus said to her, “What do you want?” And she answered, “Here, You have my two sons. Grant, that they may sit, one at Your right hand and one at Your left, in Your kingdom.”

Jesus said to the brothers, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They answered, “We can.” Jesus replied, “You will indeed drink My cup; but to sit at My right or at My left is not for Me to grant. That will be for those, for whom My Father has prepared it.”

The other then heard all this, and were angry with the two brothers. Then Jesus called them to Him and said, “You know, that the rulers of nations behave like tyrants, and the powerful oppress them. It shall not be so among you : whoever wants to be great in your community, let him minister to the community. And if you want to be the first of all, make yourself the servant of all. Be like the Son of Man, Who came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life to redeem many.”

Thursday, 25 July 2019 : Feast of St. James, Apostle (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 125 : 1-2ab, 2cd-3, 4-5, 6

When YHVH brought the exiles back to Zion, we were like those moving in a dream. Then, our mouths were filled with laughter, and our tongues with songs of joy.

Among the nations it was said, “YHVH has done great things for them.” YHVH had done great things for us, and we were glad indeed.

Bring back our exiles, o YHVH, like fresh streams in the desert. Those who sow in tears will reap with songs and shouts of joy.

They went forth weeping, bearing the seeds for sowing, they will come home with joyful shouts, bringing their harvested sheaves.

Thursday, 25 July 2019 : Feast of St. James, Apostle (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

2 Corinthians 4 : 7-15

However, we carry this treasure in vessels of clay, so that this all-surpassing power may not be seen as ours, but as God’s. Trials of every sort come to us, but we are not discouraged. We are left without answer, but do not despair; persecuted but not abandoned, knocked down but not crushed.

At any moment, we carry, in our person, the death of Jesus, so, that, the life of Jesus may also be manifested in us. For we, the living, are given up continually to death, for the sake of Jesus, so, that, the life of Jesus may appear in our mortal existence. And as death is at work in us, life comes to you.

We have received the same Spirit of faith referred to in Scripture, that says : I believed and so I spoke. We also believed, and so we speak. We know that He, Who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us, with Jesus, and bring us, with you, into His presence. Finally, everything is for your good, so that grace will come more abundantly upon you, and great will be the thanksgiving for the glory of God.

Thursday, 18 July 2019 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture speaking to us about the trust that all of us must have in God, for He alone is capable of supporting, guiding and providing for us, giving us the strength and courage required for us to remain strong despite the adversity and challenges we have to face in life. We should not lose faith in Him and instead, keep our trust in Him ever stronger.

In today’s first reading, we heard of the doubt and uncertainty which Moses showed the Lord in the Book of Exodus the moment when God called him at Mount Horeb through a miraculously burning bush. Moses was unsure of the role into which God has called him, and wanted assurance from the Lord as he was not confident of his own abilities and strength in having to do what the Lord has entrusted on his shoulders.

But the Lord quickly reassured him and told him what he ought to say before the assembled people of Israel, that He was with him and that He has sent Moses into their midst to be the one who would deliver them out of slavery, and bring them into the land promised to them and to their ancestors. God Himself revealed to Moses what He was about to do in order to bring His people out of the land of Egypt.

Certainly, it was not something that Moses would enjoy doing or have things going his way easily. In order for him to carry on what the Lord has commanded him to do, Moses had to endure a lot of difficulties and challenges throughout the many years that he was leading the people of Israel through the times when they were still in Egypt, when he led the people out of the land of Egypt, and as he led them through the desert.

Moses had to endure a lot of troubles and pain, humiliations and pressure from the people, who refused to listen to him and defiantly reject to obey the will of God and His laws. Yet, God was always with him, guiding him and providing for him along the way. He was always there for him, giving him guidance and advice, and strengthened him to carry on his duties as the leader of the whole nation.

This is what we heard in our Gospel passage today, as the Lord spoke to the people about the yoke that He has brought into this world, His yoke that is lighter than the yoke of the world. This yoke is referring to the difficulties and challenges that all of us as Christians may have to endure as we remain true and faithful to our commitment as those whom God has called to be His own people.

But this yoke is much lighter indeed compared to the yoke of sin, which is the yoke of slavery and bondage caused by our sins and all of our disobedience against God. The yoke of sin may seem to us to be less troublesome, more appealing and less painful, and they may even seem to be enjoyable, but we must not be tempted or fooled. This is Satan’s trick to bring us into our downfall by making the path to our ruin less painful and more appealing than the reality.

The sufferings we may have to endure in this world indeed can be difficult and painful, and Moses himself had suffered the same kind of difficulties and challenges, and he also agonised over them. However, we must persevere, be courageous and strong despite these temptations, as in the end, those sufferings we have to bear as those who are faithful to God are just temporary but the sufferings caused by sin will be for eternity.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore commit ourselves anew towards God from now on, doing whatever we can to be good disciples and followers of the Lord, as those who are truly worthy of being called as true Christians. May the Lord continue to guide us in our journey and may He strengthen us in our faith, now and always. Amen.

Thursday, 18 July 2019 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 11 : 28-30

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart; and you will find rest. For My yoke is easy; and My burden is light.”

Thursday, 18 July 2019 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 104 : 1 and 5, 8-9, 24-25, 26-27

Give thanks to YHVH, call on His Name; make known His works among the nations. Remember His wonderful works, His miracles and His judgments.

He remembers His Covenant forever, His promise to a thousand generations, the Covenant He made with Abraham, the promise He swore to Isaac.

YHVH made His people fruitful and much stronger than their foes; whose hearts He turned, to hate His people, to deal deceitfully with His servants.

Then He sent Moses His servant and Aaron whom He had chosen. They performed His signs among them, His miracles in the land of Ham.

Thursday, 18 July 2019 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Exodus 3 : 13-20

Moses answered God, “If I go to the Israelites and say to them : ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ they will ask me : ‘What is His Name?’ What shall I answer them?”

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO AM. This is what you will say to the sons of Israel : ‘I AM sent me to you.” God then said to Moses, “You will say to the Israelites : ‘YHVH, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, has sent me.’ That will be My Name forever, and by this Name they shall call upon Me for all generations to come.”

“Go! Call together the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘YHVH, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob appeared to me and said : I have seen and taken account of how the Egyptians have treated you, and I mean to bring you out of all this oppression in Egypt and take you to the land of the Canaanites, a land flowing with milk and honey.'”

“The elders of Israel will listen to you and, with them, you shall go to the palace of the king of Egypt and say to him : ‘The God of the Hebrews, YHVH, has met with us. Now let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness to sacrifice to YHVH our God.'”

“I well know that the king of the Egyptians will not allow you to go unless he is forced to do so. I will therefore stretch out My hand and strike Egypt in extraordinary ways, after which he will let you go.”