Monday, 19 May 2014 : 5th Week of Easter (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, to all of us had been revealed the truth, that is there is one God, and that God who is all-powerful and mighty, had come into the world, in the person of Jesus Christ, who walked on this earth, and who performed great miracles from the power of His glory. And in His Name, through the Apostles, whom He had entrusted with power and authority, great healings and miracles happened

He is the one and true God, the only God to exist and the creator of all things and all universe. But not all the peoples knew about Him, and there were indeed those who believed in things other than the truth, such as what the different peoples and different cultures believed. For example, the ancient Greek mythology with their gods and creatures which the Greeks and the Romans believed.

They believed in those gods, which represented each the different elements of nature, such as Zeus or Jupiter with lightning, Apollo and Helios with the sun, Poseidon or Neptune with the sea and the waves, and Hades or Pluto with the realm of the dead. These were powerful and the then little understood aspects and phenomena of nature which the people of the past were awed with.

They worshipped these aspects and phenomena as gods and powerful divine beings because they failed to understand that these were mere creations. The Aztecs and their sun-worship and the other traditions and nations with their various traditions including those mentioned earlier were in awe of these phenomena and often sought to placate ‘the anger of the gods’ by offering them sacrifices and worship, and in some cases, even human sacrifices.

God created all of us, but many did not realise this basic fact, and hence in their ignorance, mankind tried to do different things that stood contrary to the truth that is in God. And that was why He resolved to reveal Himself to mankind, beginning with Abraham, and through His descendants, whom He chose to be His first chosen people.

He revealed His love to them, and gave them His laws and precepts to be followed. Yet, they did not remain completely faithful, and they erred on numerous occasions. As a result, God sent numerous messengers in the prophets to remind these people of their need to obey the Lord and to turn back to His ways.

But yet they continued to refuse to listen to His words, and when He sent His own Son, Jesus Christ to be the One who would finally liberate the entire people of God from the world of darkness, they rejected Him and refused yet again to believe in His teachings and in what He had done. And that was what also happened to the two disciples, Paul and Barnabas, when they went to proclaim the Lord to the Gentiles in the Greek-speaking areas of the Roman Empire.

Because those people had long believed in the supreme power of natural phenomena that they worshipped as the gods, they naturally saw the miracles of Paul and Barnabas as the manifestation of these gods, and that was why they worshipped the two disciples, much to their dismay. That is what is meant by, even though the two disciples taught the people about the Lord, but they failed to understand and failed to open their hearts to accept the Lord into them.

Hence, brethren, this also applies to us who live in this world today. Let us not harden our hearts against the Lord, and let us not close our hearts to Him. Let God enter into our hearts and make ourselves anew. Allow God to speak to us and help us to understand His truth. Do not be indignant as those Gentiles and also the Jews had been. Allow the Lord to do His wonderful works in us. God bless us. Amen.

Monday, 19 May 2014 : 5th Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 14 : 21-26

Jesus said, “Whoever keeps My commandments is the one who loves Me. If he loves Me, he will also be loved by My Father; I too shall love him and show Myself clearly to him.”

Judas – not Judas Iscariot – asked Jesus, “Lord, how can it be that You will show Yourself clearly to us and not to the world?”

Jesus answered him, “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.”

Monday, 19 May 2014 : 5th Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 113B : 1-2, 3-4, 15-16

Not to us, o Lord, not to us, but to Your Name be the glory, for the sake of Your love and faithfulness. Why should the pagans say, “Where is their God?”

There in heaven is our God; whatever He wishes, He does. Not so the hand-made idols, crafted in silver and gold.

May you be blessed by the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth. Heaven belongs to the Lord, but the earth He has given to humans.

Monday, 19 May 2014 : 5th Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 14 : 5-18

A move was made by pagans and Jews, together with their leaders, to harm the Apostles and to stone them. But Paul and Barnabas learnt of this and fled to the Lycaonian towns of Lystra and Derbe and to the surrounding countryside, where they continued preaching the Good News.

Paul and Barnabas spent a fairly long time at Lystra. There was a crippled man in Lystra who had never been able to stand or walk. One day, as he was listening to the preaching, Paul looked intently at him and saw that he had the faith to be saved.

So he spoke to him in a loud voice, “In the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I command you to stand up on your feet!” And the man stood up and began to walk around. When the people saw what Paul had done, they cried out in the language of Lycaonia, “The gods have come to us in human likeness!”

They named Barnabas Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes, since he was the chief speaker. Even the priest of the Temple of Zeus, which stood outside the town, brought oxen and garlands to the gate; together with the people, he wanted to offer sacrifice to them.

When Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their garments to show their indignation and rushed into the crowd, shouting, “Friends, why are you doing this? We are human beings with the same weakness you have and we are now telling you to turn away from these useless things to the living God who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and all that is in them.”

“In the past generations He allowed each nation to go its own way, though He never stopped making Himself known; for He is continually doing good, giving you rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, providing you with food and filling your hearts with gladness.”

Even these words could hardly keep the crowd from offering sacrifice to them.