Tuesday, 7 May 2013 : 6th Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

John 16 : 5-11

But now I am going to the One who sent Me, and none of you asks Me where I am going; instead you are overcome with grief, because of what I have said. Believe Me, it is better for you that I go away, because as long as I do not leave, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go away, it is to send Him to you, and when He comes, He will vindicate the truth before a sinful world; and He will vindicate the paths of righteousness and justice.

What is the world’s sin, in regard to Me? Disbelief. What is the path of righteousness? It is the path I walk, by which I go to the Father; and you shall see Me no more. What is the path of justice? It is the path on which the prince of this world will always stand condemned.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013 : 6th Week of Easter (Psalm)

Psalm 137 : 1-2a, 2bc-3, 7c-8

I thank You, o Lord, with all my heart, for You have heard the word of my lips. I sing Your praise in the presence of the gods. I bow down towards Your Holy Temple, and give thanks to Your Name.

For Your love and faithfulness, for Your word which exceeds everything. You answered me when I called; You restored my soul and made me strong.

You save me from the wrath of my foes, with Your right hand You deliver me. How the Lord cares for me! Your kindness, o Lord, endures forever. Forsake not the work of Your hands.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013 : 6th Week of Easter (First Reading)

Acts 16 : 22-34

So they set the crowd against them and the officials tore the clothes off Paul and Silas and ordered them to be flogged. And after inflicting many blows on them, they threw them into prison, charging the jailer to guard them safely. Upon receiving these instructions, he threw them into the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

About midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, a severe earthquake shook the place, rocking the prison to its foundations. Immediately all the doors flew open and the chains of all the prisoners fell off.

The jailer woke up to see the prison gates wide open. Thinking that the prisoners had escaped, he drew his sword to kill himself, but Paul shouted to him, “Do not harm yourself! We are all still here.” The jailer asked for a light, then rushed in, and fell at the feet of Paul and Silas. After he had secured the other prisoners, he led them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They answered, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you and your household will be saved.”

Then they spoke the word of God to him and to all his household. Even at that hour of the night, the jailer took care of them and washed their wounds; and he and his whole household were baptised at once. He led them to his house, spread a meal before them and joyfully celebrated with his whole household his newfound faith in God.

Monday, 6 May 2013 : 6th Week of Easter (Scripture Reflection)

My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, to be with Christ, and to remain faithful in Him, as His disciples, and as His children, is not easy, and never will be easy. There is bound to be rejection and opposition against Christ, especially by the agents of the evil one, who does not want mankind to be saved, and he wants rather that mankind fall with him into hell, in his jealousy of the Lord.

There will be those who also will hear and follow the Word of God, just as the first reading today has told us, about the devout Jewish lady named Lydia, and her family, who listened to the apostles, and became a believer, and who were baptised and therefore were joined into the number of those who were promised eternal life in God.

That is why we should never give up nor abandon the task that Christ had entrusted us, just as He had entrusted the same task to the apostles, that is to evangelise and bring the Good News to all nations, to the ends of the earth, that all will listen to the Good News, repent, be baptised, in the Name of the Holy Trinity, and therefore gain eternal life in salvation.

As the apostles had shown us, and all the disciples in Christ had shown in the early times of the Church, that preaching the truth of Christ and the Good News would bring about opposition, apathy, and even persecution by those who did not believe, and those who had closed their hearts from the truth that Christ had brought. They had closed their ears and the doors of their hearts to Christ. Nevertheless, they too are the children of God, our brethren.

We must not act n the same way that they had acted on us, that is we should not counter their hatred and opposition with hatred on our own, or any kind of loathing. Rather, let us, through our words, and most importantly our actions, show them, what being the followers of Christ is like, that is filled with love and compassion, that is of the Lord, that they too will eventually learn the truth, and believe.

This is because, for the Lord, nothing is indeed impossible, and even the most hardened enemies of Christ, may eventually repent and become great saints and disciples, with full dedication to the Lord. Remember that many of the greatest saints and holy men in the Church were once great sinners and even fornicators, with all sorts of evil-led life imaginable, but yet they repented, and then became ardent defenders of the faith, and now they enjoyed their great rewards in heaven, and became now, our intercessors before the throne of God.

Even St. Paul himself, the great missionary, the Apostle to the Gentiles, was also once a great enemy of the faithful, a great persecutor, who captured many who believed in Jesus, and subjected them to torture for their faith, and who had once vowed to destroy the Church of God. After his conversion to the faith on the way to Damascus, when the Lord Himself appeared to Paul, he became the greatest champion of the Church, and through him, many people were saved.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us persevere in the mission that God had entrusted to us, that we will become great missionaries like the apostles were, even though we are also great sinners ourselves. Let us keep our faith in God burning strong, and let us keep our sight always in focus towards the Lord. May God grant us strength and courage to be His evangelists and may the light of God be brought to all mankind. Amen.

Monday, 6 May 2013 : 6th Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

John 15 : 26 – John 16 : 4a

From the Father, I will send you the Spirit of truth. When the Helper has come from the Father, He will be My witness, and you, too, will be My witnesses, for you have been with Me from the beginning.

I tell you all this to keep you from stumbling and falling away. They will put you out of the synagogue. Still more, the hour is coming, when anyone who kills you will claim to be serving God; they will do this, because they have not known the Father or Me.

I tell you all these things now so that, when the time comes, you may remember that  I told you.

Monday, 6 May 2013 : 6th Week of Easter (Psalm)

Psalm 149 : 1-2, 3-4, 5-6a and 9b

Alleluia! Sing to the Lord a new song, sing His praise in the assembly of His saints. Let Israel rejoice in his Maker, let the people of Zion glory in their King!

Let them dance in praise of His Name and make music for Him with harp and timbrel. For the Lord delights in His people; He crowns the lowly with victory.

The saints will exult in triumph; even at night on their couches. Let the praise of God be on their lips. This is the glory of all His saints. Alleluia!

Monday, 6 May 2013 : 6th Week of Easter (First Reading)

Acts 16 : 11-15

So we put out to sea from Troas and sailed straight across to Samothrace Island, and the next day to Neapolis. From there we went inland to Philippi, the leading city of the district of Macedonia, and a Roman colony. We spent some days in that city.

On the sabbath we went outside the city gate to the bank of the river where we thought the Jews would gather  to pray. We sat down and began speaking to the women who were gathering there. One of them was a God-fearing woman named Lydia from Thyatira City, a dealer in purple cloth.

As she listened, the Lord opened her heart to respond to what Paul was saying. After she had been baptised together with her household, she invited us to her house, “If you think I am faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us to accept her invitation.

Sunday, 5 May 2013 : 6th Sunday of Easter (Scripture Reflection)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, peace of Christ be with all of you. For Christ is the true peace, and the true light of the world. There is no true peace without Christ in it, since Christ is the Prince of Peace and the bringer of salvation to all creation. For in Him lies the true peace that only God can give, the peace of knowing that we are saved, and will no longer be separated from He who created us, and peace of knowing that we will live with Him in bliss and true joy for eternity.

Peace is not something to be easily found in this world today. We do not even need to refer to the true peace that only Christ can offer, but even it is difficult to achieve worldly and temporal peace in this world. Look around you, and you can easily find in any kind of situation, in any society, violence and hatred running rampant throughout, showing that we still have much to go to achieve true and lasting peace.

For since evil has entered the hearts of men since the beginning of creation, peace has been shrouded by veil of violence and hatred, and love has dissipated from mankind. It is evil and our rebellion that has veiled our hearts and darkened it against the light of God’s love and peace. We who believe and keep our faith in God has received new love and peace through Christ, and if we keep His commandments of love, we will remain always in His love.

If we remain in the love of Christ, we will receive the reward that is due to us, that is the bliss of eternal life of true joy, happiness, and love in the heavenly Jerusalem, as we had heard in the second reading from the Book of Revelation. Heavenly Jerusalem is not just a city of joy and physical happiness, as it may indeed be very beautiful and magnificent, as St. John had described it in the Book, but in fact the even greater happiness that we will receive, if we remain in God’s love, is the pure, inexplicable happiness of our soul, a spiritual joy that nothing else can replace.

For if we do what is good in the eyes of God, and follow His commandments, to love Him greater than any other things, and to love Him unconditionally with all our minds, our hearts, and our souls, and if we also love and care for our fellow men, just as we love Him and just as we love ourselves, we would gain true peace and calmness in our hearts. This is a peace that only God can give, that will remain in our hearts, forever and ever.

With God, all things are possible, and nothing is impossible. He will renew us and our spirit, that we be reborn as people of peace, of justice, and of love. But, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, those of us that believe, and indeed have received the peace and love of the Lord, will still need to be active in our world. We cannot be idle while there is still violations to peace, justice, and love in this world.

Just as St. Francis of Assisi said in his famous prayer, let us be the bringer of peace, to bring peace when there is violence, and to bring love when hatred ruins the harmony of the people of God. Let us be the harbinger of peace wherever peace had been silenced, and let us bring love where love had been snuffed out from the hearts of men. Show this world that love and peace that is of the Lord, is still the norm and let us show the power of God, against the violence and hatred of Satan.

Peace is not impossible to achieve, and with God’s help, we will surely gain it. Not even Satan can keep us away from the Lord and His everlasting peace, if we remain faithful to Him. Let us from now on, commit ourselves to peace, and love, that we become the children of peace, the children of our One, true God, who is peace and love. Work for peace, love, and harmony in our world, that everyone can also enjoy the peace that our Lord has offered, that they too eventually will believe and listen to the Word of God through Christ.

Therefore, beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, today, let us renew our commitment to peace in this world, and to achieve everlasting peace both in this earth, this world, and also in the world that is to come. Let us renew our commitment to bring peace to all mankind, to let Satan has his hold over us no more, and let violence and hatred to no longer have any place in our hearts. Let God remain in our hearts, and let Him transform us into beings of light, that we will be like Him, who is peace, who is love, and who is perfect.

May God remain with us, at all times, within our hearts, and protect us, always. May all of us also remain in His love, forever and ever. Amen.

Sunday, 5 May 2013 : 6th Sunday of Easter (Gospel Reading)

John 14 : 23-29

Jesus answered Judas, “If anyone loves Me; he will keep My word and My Father will love him; and We will come to Him and make a room in his home. But if anyone does not love Me, he will not keep My words; and these words that you hear are not mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.”

“I told you all this while I was still with you. From now on the Helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My Name, will teach you all things, and remind you of all that I have told you. Peace be with you! I give you My peace; not as the world gives peace do I give it to you.”

“Do not be troubled; do not be afraid. You heard Me say, ‘I am going away, but I am coming to you.’ If you loved Me, you would be glad that I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you this now before it takes place, so that when it does happen, you may believe.”

Sunday, 5 May 2013 : 6th Sunday of Easter (Second Reading)

Revelation 21 : 10-14, 22-23

The angel took me up in a spiritual vision to a very high mountain and he showed me the holy city Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shines with the glory of God, like a precious jewel with the colour of crystal-clear jasper.

Its wall, large and high, has twelve gates; stationed at them are twelve angels. Over the gates are written the name of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. Three gates face the east; three gates face the north; three gates face the south; and three gates face the west. The city wall stands on twelve foundation stones on which are written the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God, Master of the universe, and the Lamb are themselves its Temple. The city has no need of the light of the sun or the moon, since God’s glory is its light and the Lamb is its lamp.