Tuesday, 20 May 2014 : 5th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Bernardine of Siena, Priest (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard how the Apostles continued to carry on the mission they had been entrusted with, and brought the Word of God to many peoples, bringing them closer and closer to the salvation in God. The Apostles and their disciples went to spread the Good News to many people, some of whom accepted them and the message they brought to them, while some were reluctant and doubtful while others rejected them outright.

That what the Apostles were doing, and in their hard toils, they managed to convert many to the faith and in the process. The Apostles went around to many places, around the Eastern Mediterranean seaboard, facing tough challenges in order to evangelise the people. They spread the Good News about the Lord and Christ who has died for us and was risen in glory, and whose peace and love, He wanted to share with all the nations.

Not all the people were receptive to this revelation though, because many would prefer to remain in the darkness of ignorance and sin, die to various reasons, mainly because they cannot part with the goodness and all the pleasures that this world can offer, although by indulging in these they risk corruption with sin and hence damnation.

In this world, it is increasingly becoming more and more commercialised and materialistic, to the point that many pursue their career and work, that they can gain more prosperity and more financial strength, or simply more money. This world offers so much good things to us, that we end up being bought over, and our attitudes and lifestyles change.

We have not been able to keep our faith strong because of all these temptations, which are ever present and keep us separated from the Lord and His love. This world is ever moving towards the tendency to drift away from God and indulge in oneself, that is in pleasures of the flesh and goodness of the world. Gluttony, desire and greed are common problems and weaknesses that mankind has.

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Bernardine of Siena, a humble and holy man, who was a priest and a Franciscan missionary, who was well known as the Apostle of Italy during his time, because of his hard works and dedication to eliminate evil and vices in the society that prevented mankind from seeking and be reunited with God.

St. Bernardine of Siena was well-known for his preaching and evangelisation works. He worked hard to spread the Gospel and explain the message of the Good News to the people of God, and calling on them to repent for their sins and unworthy behaviour. He was persuasive and yet rich of love and mercy, and his sermons and exhortations never failed to inspire the people and made many convert to the true faith and keep their lives free from sin.

St. Bernardine of Siena was particularly known for his attack on the excesses of life, where he encouraged the people to cast down and throw away those excesses into a bonfire. In that way, he encouraged the people to turn their back to the excesses and the corruptions promoted by the world, which are not different in form, even in this modern day. Yes, to turn their back on these excesses and impurities and seek the Lord with all of their heart.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, following the example and heeding the call of St. Bernardine of Siena, let us all resolve in changing our ways, that we no longer seek what is vain and corrupting, namely the pleasures of the flesh and the decadent and opulent lifestyle as promoted by the world. Especially for us who live in prosperous and developed countries, it is easy for us to fall into the temptation of possession and material wealth.

Instead, let us resolve to seek the Lord with all of our might, and commit ourselves completely and entirely to Him. How do we do that, brethren? We should be charitable in all of our actions, that in all things, we bring good to others and dedicate ourselves to make better the life of others. Shall we do this, and follow the Lord and St. Bernardine of Siena in their way? Let us cast away the old life of vice and excesses, and embrace the new life based on love.

May God be with us and guide us on our way, and may He bless us ever more with His love, and therefore grant us His light to light our path. Amen.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014 : 5th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Bernardine of Siena, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 14 : 27-31a

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. It is very little what I may still tell you, for the prince of this world is at hand, although there is nothing in Me that he can claim. But see, the world must know that I love the Father.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014 : 5th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Bernardine of Siena, Priest (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 144 : 10-11, 12-13ab, 21

All Your works will give You thanks; all Your saints, o  Lord, will praise You. They will tell of the glory of Your kingdom and speak of Your power.

That all may know of Your mighty deeds, Your reign and its glorious splendour. Your reign is from age to age. Your dominion endures from generation to generation.

Let my mouth speak in praise of the Lord, let every creature bless His holy Name, for ever and ever.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014 : 5th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Bernardine of Siena, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 14 : 19-28

Then some Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium and turned the people against them. They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the town, leaving him for dead. But when his disciples gathered around him, he stood up and returned to the town. And the next day he left for Derbe with Barnabas.

After proclaiming the Gospel in that town and making many disciples, they returned to Lystra and Iconium and on to Antioch. They were strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain firm in the faith, for they said, “We must go through many trials to enter the Kingdom of God.”

In each church they appointed elders and, after praying and fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had placed their faith. Then they travelled through Pisidia, and came to Pamphylia. They preached the Word in Perga and went down to Attalia. From there they sailed back to Antioch, where they had first been commanded to God’s grace for the task they had now completed.”

“On their arrival they gathered the Church together and told them all that God had done through them and how He had opened the door of faith to the non-Jews. They spent a fairly long time there with the disciples.”