Wednesday, 8 April 2015 : 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, 8 April 2015 : 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 in 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.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015 : Wednesday within Easter Octave (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

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, 7 April 2015 : Tuesday within Easter Octave, Memorial of St. John Baptist de La Salle, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard two stories from the Scriptures. Our first reading, the reading from the Acts of the Apostles showed us how the Church of God was born, through the testimony which Peter showed the people in Jerusalem at the time of the Pentecost, and converted three thousand people who gave themselves to be baptised.

And in the Gospel from the Gospel according to St. John, we heard about the story of how Mary Magdalene, the faithful woman who was among the chief female disciples of Jesus, who grieved because she thought someone had stolen the body of Jesus, only for Jesus Himself to show Himself to her, as a proof that His body was not lost or stolen, but instead He had risen in glory, in Body and Spirit, just as the prophets had foretold about Him.

All these showed us that while once we were unsure of what is to become of us, and while we were once sorrowful and grieving because of our sins and wickedness, but because Christ is risen from the dead, we can rejoice once again, because we now know that death does not have the final say over us. We have no need to fear death, because death is just the beginning of a new life filled with joy and happiness with God, and not the end.

Through baptism, we have died to our old selves, our sinful past and our wicked nature, and we have been brought into a new life founded upon the Law and precepts of the Lord. Through baptism we have shared in the death of our Lord Jesus, cast away all of the impurities of our old selves, and then share in the resurrection of our Lord, reborn anew in a body of grace and filled with the light of God.

But one thing we cannot forget is that, while we all have been saved and made whole, there are many others who are still left behind in the darkness, and many of them do not know the way to go in order to reach the Lord their God. Thus they remain lost in the darkness, condemned and forsaken. Many remained lost and many have not yet heard the Good News of our Lord and His truth. Many remains unloved and uncared for, even rejected by the society for their sins.

Today we celebrate the feast day of St. John Baptist de la Salle, a French priest who lived a few hundred years ago, who was the founder of the order of the Brothers of Christian Schools, missionaries and people dedicated to the service of God and His people, especially in the field of Catholic education, educating countless masses and people throughout the world.

St. John Baptist de la Salle was from a privileged background and had a wonderful career as a priest and canon of the Cathedral of Rheims, a well-respected position and assured career, but he heard a higher call and decided that there was still so many things he could do in order to help all those people who were poor, lowest and least in the society, many of whom have not been saved due to their sins and wickedness.

And by what he had started then, many people and many souls had been saved from the brink of disaster, rescued from the darkness and brought into the light. We too should follow in his footsteps and realise how much we can do in order to change the fate of so many others around us. We cannot be apathetic to their cause, for we are all brethren in the same Lord.

And did the Lord Jesus not command His disciples to spread the Good News of salvation to all of the world? Yes, this He did, and it is therefore, our duty and obligation, for us to preach the Good News of God and carry it far and wide. Thus, let us make this Easter more meaningful by using it to deepen our faith and devotion, through real action in bringing the Good News of God to those who have yet heard it, so that they too may be saved. God bless us all. Amen.