Wednesday, 29 June 2022 : Solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul, Apostles (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Matthew 16 : 13-19

At that time, Jesus came to Caesarea Philippi. He asked His disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They said, “For some of them, You are John the Baptist; for others Elijah, or Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.”

Jesus asked them, “But you, who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “It is well for you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for it is not flesh or blood that has revealed this to you, but My Father in heaven.”

“And now I say to you : You are Peter; and on this Rock I will build My Church; and never will the powers of death overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven : whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you unbind on earth shall be unbound in heaven.”

Wednesday, 29 June 2022 : Solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul, Apostles (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

2 Timothy 4 : 6-8, 17-18

As for me, I am already poured out as a libation, and the moment of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. Now, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, with which the Lord, the just Judge, will reward me, on that day, and not only me, but all those who have longed for His glorious coming.

But the Lord was at my side, giving me strength, to proclaim the Word fully, and let all the pagans hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will save me from all evil, bringing me to His heavenly kingdom. Glory to Him forever and ever. Amen!

Wednesday, 29 June 2022 : Solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul, Apostles (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 33 : 2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

I will praise YHVH all my days; His praise will be ever on my lips. My soul makes its boast in YHVH; let the lowly hear and rejoice.

Oh, let us magnify YHVH; together, let us glorify His Name! I sought YHVH, and He answered me; from all my fears He delivered me.

They who look to Him are radiant with joy, their faces never clouded with shame. When the poor cry out, YHVH hears and saves them from distress.

YHVH’s Angel encamps and patrols, to keep safe those who fear Him. Oh, see and taste the goodness of YHVH! Blessed is the one who finds shelter in Him!

Wednesday, 29 June 2022 : Solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul, Apostles (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Acts 12 : 1-11

About that time king Herod decided to persecute some members of the Church. He had James, the brother of John, killed with the sword, and when he saw how it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also.

This happened during the Festival of the Unleavened Bread. Herod had him seized and thrown into prison with four squads, each of four soldiers, to guard him. He wanted to bring him to trial before the people after the Passover feast, but while Peter was kept in prison, the whole Church prayed earnestly for him.

On the very night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound by a double chain, while guards kept watch at the gate of the prison. Suddenly, an Angel of the Lord stood there and a light shone in the prison cell. The Angel tapped Peter on the side and woke him saying, “Get up quickly!”

At once, the chains fell from Peter’s wrists. The Angel said, “Put on your belt and your sandals.” Peter did so; and the Angel added, “Now, put on your cloak and follow me.” Peter followed him out; yet he did not realise that what was happening with the Angel was real; he thought he was seeing a vision.

They passed the first guard, and then the second, and they came to the iron door leading out to the city, which opened by itself for them. They went out and made their way down a narrow alley, when suddenly the Angel left him. Then Peter recovered his senses and said, “Now I know that the Lord has sent His Angel and has rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from all that the Jews had in store for me.”

Tuesday, 28 June 2022 : Vigil Mass of the Solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul, Apostles (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

John 21 : 15-19

At that time, after Jesus and His disciples had finished breakfast, He said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these do?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, You know that I love You.” And Jesus said, “Feed My lambs.”

A second time Jesus said to him, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” And Peter answered, “Yes, Lord, You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Look after My sheep.” And a third time He said to him, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”

Peter was saddened because Jesus asked him a third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said, “Lord, You know everything; You know that I love You.” Jesus then said, “Feed My sheep! Truly, I say to you, when you were young, you put on your belt and walked where you liked. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will put a belt around you, and lead you where you do not wish to go.”

Jesus said this to make known the kind of death by which Peter was to glorify God. And He added, “Follow Me!”

Tuesday, 28 June 2022 : Vigil Mass of the Solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul, Apostles (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Galatians 1 : 11-20

Let me remind you, brothers and sisters, that the Gospel we preached to you is not a human message, nor did I receive it from anyone, I was not taught of it; but it came to me, as a revelation from Christ Jesus. You have heard of my previous activity in the Jewish community; I furiously persecuted the Church of God and tried to destroy it. For I was more devoted to the Jewish religion than many fellow Jews of my age, and I defended the traditions of my ancestors more fanatically.

But one day, God called me, out of His great love, He, Who had chosen me from my mother’s womb; and he was pleased to reveal, in me, His Son, that I might make Him known among the pagan nations. Then, I did not seek human advice nor did I go up to Jerusalem, to those who were Apostles before me. I immediately went to Arabia, and from there, I returned, again, to Damascus.

Later, after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to meet Cephas, and I stayed with him for fifteen days. But I did not see any other Apostle except James, the Lord’s brother. On writing this to you, I affirm before God that I am not lying.

Tuesday, 28 June 2022 : Vigil Mass of the Solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul, Apostles (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 18 : 2-3, 4-5

The heavens declare the glory of God; the firmament proclaims the work of His hands. Day talks it over with day; night hands on the knowledge to night.

No speech, no words, no voice is heard – but the call goes on, throughout the universe, the message is felt to the ends of the earth.

Tuesday, 28 June 2022 : Vigil Mass of the Solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul, Apostles (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Acts 3 : 1-10

Once when Peter and John were going up to the Temple at three in the afternoon, the hour for prayer, a man crippled from birth was being carried in. Every day they would bring him and put him at the Temple gate called “Beautiful”; there he begged from those who entered the Temple.

When he saw Peter and John on their way into the Temple, he asked for alms. Then Peter with John at his side looked straight at him and said, “Look at us.” So he looked at them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have neither silver nor gold, but what I have I give you : In the Name of Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, walk!”

Then he took the beggar by his right hand and helped him up. At once his feet and ankles became firm, and jumping up he stood on his feet and began to walk. And he went with them into the Temple walking and leaping and praising God. All the people saw him walking and praising God; they recognised him as the one who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple, and they were all astonished and amazed at what had happened to him.

Tuesday, 28 June 2022 : 13th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Irenaeus, Bishop, Martyr and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are reminded that all of us must have trust in God, and believe that in Him we shall be well taken care of, and we have nothing to fear or worry about. We have to believe that in God we shall be triumphant in the end, and not fall into the temptations to abandon Him for other sources of comfort in life. Often times we may be swayed to turn to those distractions that can prevent us from finding our path in God, but this is where our Christian faith should hold us firm in our trust in God.

In our first reading, we heard yet again from the prophet Amos, the prophet whom God had called from the land of Judah to prophesy and proclaim the word and will of God among the people of the northern kingdom of Israel, during the last years of its existence. By that time, the northern kingdom of Israel had already long defied the Lord and its people and king had always committed what is vile and wicked in the sight of God, and the Lord hence proclaimed His judgment on them through Amos.

The Lord told them all that there is nothing that He does not know about the actions and behaviours of the people whose wickedness had been so despicable and unbecoming of those whom God had called to be His own people. He said to them that everything that happened in this world, are known to Him, and by their own actions and deeds hence, they would be judged and crushed by their sins, by their stubbornness and wickedness, and shall be consigned to the eternal darkness and suffering.

The prophet Amos was prophesying of the coming downfall of the kingdom of Israel, which happened just a few decades after the time of the ministry of Amos, proving that everything which the Lord had spoken truly came true, and serve as a good lesson and reminder to us, that if we turn away from God and continue walking down the path of sin, in the end, we will likely fall into ruin and destruction, if we leave the Lord and His assurances behind, and follow the tides and sway of the world instead.

Today, in our Gospel passage, we also heard about the story of when the Lord Jesus and His disciples were travelling a boat in the middle of a great storm, with lots of wind and waves, battering against the boat in which the Lord and His disciples were in. The disciples were afraid and were panicking, worried that the storm and the waves would overcome them, and sink the boat. They woke the Lord up and begged Him to help them, and to save them from their predicament. The Lord rebuked and chided them for their lack of faith, but said then that they truly had nothing to fear about, and they ought to have faith in Him.

The Lord proceeded then to miraculously calm the storm down, and the whole place become calm again, with no trace of the storm, the wind or the waves, in the sight of all the incredulous disciples, who were all astonished at seeing such great miracles occurring before their very own eyes. They were persuaded that truly, the One they were following was the Holy One of God, the Messiah and the Son of God, as they themselves witnessed in many other occasions, of His miraculous deeds, works and great Wisdom.

Now, through what we have heard in that story, there were plenty of symbolisms there, which should serve as a reminder for us in how we are to follow the Lord faithfully. First of all, the boat is a representation of the Church, while the waves, the storm and the wind are representative of the troubles, trials and challenges that the Church and the faithful often face in this world, all the temptations and struggles, the forces of evil and those who seek to sway us to the path towards destruction. And what we must then therefore remember is that the Lord never abandons His Church and His flock, and He is journeying with us through this turbulent world.

If we choose to jump ship and to abandon Him and the Church, then we shall surely perish in the waves and the storm. The disciples, although they were afraid and were panicking, but they at least trusted in the Lord and believed in Him, and called on Him to help them out of their predicament. Contrast this to the Israelites who sought for help from various sources but the Lord, putting their trust in the pagan gods and idols, and believing in the false prophets and leaders who misled them down the path of evil and disobedience against God. The Lord showed us all what those people would experience and how they fell from His grace into suffering.

Today, we should also heed the good examples set by St. Irenaeus, whose feast day we are celebrating today. St. Irenaeus was the renowned bishop of the region of what is today southern France, who hailed from Smyrna in Asia Minor, who was a courageous defender of the faith and was renowned for his many efforts to defend the Christian orthodoxy against the many heretical teachings and efforts to undermine the Church by various groups and peoples. The Lord has called St. Irenaeus to minister to his flock, and he did so amazingly, spending a lot of time and effort to care for them and also in his time spent in his writings and works against the heretical teachings of his day.

In his most famous work, Against Heresies, St. Irenaeus strongly defended Christian truths and orthodox teachings against the numerous fallacies and falsehoods promoted by the supporters of those wicked teachings, and he also persevered and laboured hard against those among the authorities and the people who supported the heretical paths. St. Irenaeus committed himself thoroughly to serve the Lord and to glorify Him by his works and deeds, becoming a great champion of the Christian faithful, and whose dedication earned him the title of Doctor Unitatis or the Doctor of Unity, declared by Pope Francis, our current Pope as the newest Doctor of the Church very recently.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore seek the Lord with renewed faith and commit ourselves thoroughly to Him from now on. Let us no longer be stubborn and be easily swayed by those who sought to lead us down the path of ruin, and remember that through the Lord alone there is salvation, true happiness and grace. May God be with us all and may He bless each and every one of us, now and always, forevermore. Amen.

Tuesday, 28 June 2022 : 13th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Irenaeus, Bishop, Martyr and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Matthew 8 : 23-27

At that time, Jesus got into the boat and His disciples followed Him. Without warning, a fierce storm burst upon the lake, with waves sweeping the boat. But Jesus was asleep.

The disciples woke Him up and cried, “Lord save us! We are lost!” But Jesus answered, “Why are you so afraid, you of little faith?” Then He stood up and rebuked the wind and sea; and it became completely calm.

The disciples were astonished. They said, “What kind of Man is He? Even the winds and the sea obey Him.”