Thursday, 24 April 2014 : Thursday within Easter Octave (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the resurrection of Jesus is a fact of our faith, and it is true, despite the attempt by many people trying to disprove or ridicule the concept of the resurrection, or even that Christ is the Son of God, or even more so, the existence of the Almighty God Himself.

Mankind doubted God and His love, and they often rejected His undying love for mankind themselves, and as Peter rightly pointed out in the first reading today, that mankind likely did so because of their ignorance, or meaning the veil of darkness that covers their eyes, which prevented them from seeing the truth of God, and therefore resulting in the ignorance that mankind has pertaining God and His actions.

Yet for all of us who believe in God, we know that the Lord had indeed died for us on the cross, and He indeed rose from the dead and showed Himself to His disciples, which many had testified to its truth. We know this because we have that crucial faith in us, as well as the ability to love, that is to appreciate and comprehend the love of God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we have to treasure this faith we have in God, as it is due to this faith that we are all able to understand God’s love and therefore understand His mission and dealings in this world. After all, who could comprehend God’s actions in coming down into this decadent and wicked world if He is perfect and all-powerful just to die for us sinners and unworthy rebels against His will? How can we understand His actions therefore, without first understanding His eternal love for all of us?

This Easter we again commemorate the resurrection of Christ, but indeed, not just His resurrection, but indeed the entire life and happenings in Jesus’ earthly sojourn, to His death and resurrection, and what He proclaimed after He was risen. This Easter is a celebration of life, that all who were once condemned to death was saved and brought to a new hope, where a new dawn has risen with Christ, to be our beacon towards eternal redemption and joy.

Indeed, the truth is sadly that we have often neglected this spirit of Easter, and we have grown decadent and lax in our lives, that we end up forgetting our true aim in life, that is to bring glory to God and follow the Lord and His ways in our lives. We have grown to worry and care only about ourselves. And we grow to be selfish and self-serving in our actions and deeds.

We often care only about the desires that we have, the wants and the concerns of the world that frequently occupy our minds. This Easter we are called to rediscover ourselves and seek the Lord once again. This is the perfect opportunity for us to make a genuine change in our lives. Let us not waste this opportunity, and as we celebrate the joy of Easter, let us also make the concrete and concerted effort to seek the Lord once again in our lives, that we no longer have any doubt about the love of God, but just complete faith in God.

May Almighty God bless us with a fruitful Easter season, strengthen our faith and guide us to be ever more faithful and loving servants of His, that our actions may ever always reflect the nature of God, and our nature as God’s children. Keep the spirit of Easter alive! Amen.

Thursday, 24 April 2014 : Thursday within Easter Octave (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 24 : 35-48

Then the two disciples told what had happened on the road to Emmaus, and how Jesus had made Himself known, when He broke bread with them.

While they were still talking about this, Jesus Himself stood in their midst. He said to them, “Peace to you.” In their panic and fright they thought they were seeing a ghost, but He said to them, “Why are you upset, and how does such an idea cross your minds?”

“Look at My hands and feet, and see that it is I Myself! Touch Me, and see for yourselves, for a ghost has no flesh and bones as I have!” As He said this, He showed His hands and feet.

In their joy they did not dare believe, and were still astonished; so He said to them, “Have you anything to eat?” And they gave Him a piece of broiled fish. He took it, and ate it before them. Then Jesus said to them, “Remember the words I spoke to you when I was still with you : ‘Everything written about Me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.’” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.

And He said, “So it was written : the Messiah had to suffer, and on the third day rise from the dead. Then repentance and forgiveness in His Name would be proclaimed to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things.”

Thursday, 24 April 2014 : Thursday within Easter Octave (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 8 : 2a and 5, 6-7, 8-9

O Lord, our Lord, how great is Your Name throughout the earth! What is a man that You be mindful of him, the Son of Man, that You should care for Him?

Yet You made Him a little lower than the angels; You crowned Him with glory and honour and gave Him the works of Your hands; You have put all things under His feet.

Sheep and oxen without number and even the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, the fish of the sea, and all that swim the path of the ocean.

Thursday, 24 April 2014 : Thursday within Easter Octave (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 3 : 11-26

While the healed paralytic man clung to Peter and John, all the people, struck with astonishment, came running to them to Solomon’s Porch, as it was called.

When Peter saw the people, he said to them, “Fellow Israelites, why are you amazed at this? Why do you stare at us as if it was by some power or holiness of our own that we made this man walk? The God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob, the God of our ancestors has glorified His servant Jesus whom you handed over to death and denied before Pilate, when even Pilate had decided to release Him.”

“You rejected the Holy and Just One, and you insisted that a murderer be released to you. You killed the Master of life, but God raised Him from the dead and we are witnesses to this. It is His Name, and faith in His Name, that has healed this man whom you see and recognise. The faith that comes through Jesus has given him wholeness in the presence of all of you.”

“Yet I know that you acted out of ignorance, as did your leaders. God has fulfilled in this way what He had foretold through all the prophets, that His Messiah would suffer. Repent, then, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out and the time of refreshment may come by the mercy of God, when He sends the Messiah appointed for you, Jesus.”

“For He must remain in heaven until the time of the universal restoration which God spoke of long ago through His holy prophets. Moses foretold this when he said : ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among your own people; you shall listen to Him in all that He says to you. Whoever does not listen to that prophet is to be cut off from among his people.’”

“In fact, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel onward, have announced the events of these days. You are the children of the prophets and heirs of the covenant that God gave to your ancestors when He said to Abraham : ‘All the families of the earth will be blessed through your descendant.’ It is to you first that God sends His Servant; He raised Him to life to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.”

Wednesday, 23 April 2014 : Wednesday within Easter Octave (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard of what happened to the two disciples on their way to the village of Emmaus, when they met the Risen Christ along the way. The two disciples met Jesus who then went on to change their hopelessness and despair into hope, and eventually to faith and understanding about the nature of Christ and His resurrection.

Once again, as we continue to progress through this Easter season, we are made aware of the truth about Christ and the nature of His mission of which He came with into this world. Easter is about the celebration of life, and the celebration of the liberation of mankind from their previous hopelessness and despair into the realm of hope.

The disciples on their way to Emmaus, arguing about the death and resurrection of Jesus, and the paralytic man begging at the gate of the Temple both represent our old lives, the ones that were filled with uncertainty, fear, helplessness and despair. Then, the Lord came to them and also through the disciples, the Good News and proclamation of the salvation of the Lord changed those who received the Word and believed in Him.

That was essentially what happened to the disciples walking towards Emmaus and to the paralytic man. They were changed and transformed when the Lord touched their lives and their hearts. Their infirmities, the afflictions of their body, heart and soul were healed and they were made anew in God. They received courage and healing, that is the healing of their sorrow and sadness, exchanged for joy and happiness.

Our attitude should also be like that of the paralytic man after he was healed by Peter and John through the authority given to them by Christ, as well as the two disciples who ran with joy and amazement from Emmaus back to Jerusalem to inform the other disciples of Jesus of the proof that He who died for us, is risen from the dead in glory, and that this is true.

We as children of God and members of His Church, having been liberated from sin through our baptism and having experienced the fruits of His resurrection, should be like them, changing our hearts and attitudes of apathy and laxity with ones that are filled with great love for God and zeal to spread His truth. We should rejoice like that of the paralytic man, of having been lifted up from death into life, and from a life in darkness into a life in the light of God.

As Christians, we have our mission granted to us through the Apostles and the other disciples of Christ, that is to spread the Good News to all the peoples of all nations, and this Good News is none other than, that the Lord Jesus Christ, who is God, who is with God, and who is the Word of God, having came down to us to be our Saviour, died for our sins, and by being the only sacrifice worthy to erase our sins, He rose from the dead in glory, that He became the light of hope to all the nations, conquering death and sin in a total and complete victory.

This is the hard truth of our faith, and we should not be discouraged to proclaim it to all, not just by word, but also through our deeds and actions. We must have the spirit and courage of the two disciples who went all the way back from Emmaus to Jerusalem, their hearts filled with excitement having seen the Risen Lord, to proclaim this Good News to others.

Let us all in this Easter season first rejoice for the gift and joy of life that we have enjoyed, and for the gift of new life that God had given us through sacred baptism, when we are sealed in His Name to embark on a new life towards holiness and perfection in God. Let us remember this on this Easter, to keep our lives always holy and worthy of God, and of course, as mentioned, to share this joy and the knowledge of the truth of God with all peoples, that they too may believe and be saved together with us.

May God bless us this Easter and bring us the abundance of graces that we may always be faithful to His will and continue to bring goodness and light to this increasingly darkened world. God be our light. Amen.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014 : Wednesday within Easter Octave (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 24 : 13-35

That same day, two followers of Jesus were going to Emmaus, a village seven miles from Jerusalem, and they talked about what had happened. While they were talking and arguing about what had happened, Jesus came up and walked with them, but their eyes were not able to recognise Him.

He asked, “What is it you are talking about?” The two stood still, looking sad. Then the one named Cleophas answered, “Why, it seems you are the only traveller to Jerusalem who does not know what has happened there these past few days.” And He asked, “What is it?”

They replied, “It is about Jesus of Nazareth. He was a Prophet, you know, mighty in word and deed before God and the people. But the chief priests and our rulers sentenced Him to death. They handed Him over to be crucified. We had hoped that He would redeem Israel. It is now the third day since all this took place.”

“It is also true that some women of our group have disturbed us. When they went to the tomb at dawn, they did not find His Body; and they came and told us that they had had a vision of angels who said that Jesus was alive. Some of our people went to the tomb and found everything just as the women had said, but they did not find a body in the tomb.”

He said to them, “How dull you are, how slow of understanding! Is the message of the prophets too difficult for you to understand? Is it not written that the Christ should suffer all this, and then enter His glory?” Then starting with Moses, and going through the prophets, He explained to them everything in the Scriptures concerning Himself.

As they drew near the village they were heading for, Jesus made as if to go farther. But they prevailed upon Him, “Stay with us, for night comes quickly. The day is now almost over.” So He went in to stay with them. When they were at table, He took the bread, said a blessing, broke it, and gave each a piece.

Then their eyes were opened, and they recognised Him; but He vanished out of their sight. And they said to one another, “Were not our hearts filled with ardent yearning when He was talking to us on the road and explaining the Scriptures?”

They immediately set out and returned to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and their companions gathered together. They were greeted by these words : “Yes, it is true, the Lord is risen! He has appeared to Simon!” Then the two told what had happened on the road to Emmaus, and how Jesus had made Himself known, when He broke bread with them.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014 : Wednesday within Easter Octave (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 104 : 1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9

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

Glory is His holy Name; let those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and be strong; seek His face always.

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

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