Thursday, 9 April 2015 : Thursday within Easter Octave (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 24 : 35-48

At that time, the two disciples from Emmaus told what had happened on the road to there, 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, “Do you have 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, 9 April 2015 : 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 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 paths of the ocean.

Thursday, 9 April 2015 : Thursday within Easter Octave (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 3 : 11-26

While the healed beggar clung to Peter and John, all the people, struck with astonishment, came running to them in 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, 8 April 2015 : Wednesday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we continue to rejoice in the Easter season and through this octave or eight days of great joy for our Lord’s resurrection and triumph, we heard about the story of how Peter and John, our Lord’s Apostles, who healed the beggar who could not walk at the Temple, at the Name of Jesus. The beggar could walk again and the people were astonished.

And in the Gospel reading, we heard about the disciples of Jesus who encountered the Risen Lord on their way from Jerusalem to the village of Emmaus. They started with heavy heart, uncertainty and sorrow, when they left Jerusalem, bereft and without hope, having witnessed their supposed Lord and Saviour rejected by the people, condemned and died a criminal’s death on the cross.

But Jesus came into their midst and even though they did not realise it at first, and even though they did not recognise Him at first, and He healed the problems of their heart. He lifted up their spirit and encouraged them at heart with the words of the Scriptures made clear through His own words and teaching. It was like the moment when the veil of great darkness was torn apart and light gushes forth like a torrent, the moment of truth and hope which all of them had been waiting for.

And thus, this is also the essence of our celebration of this Easter. Easter is not just about rejoicing, partying and merrymaking without clear reason why we do so. Easter is truly about the moment of truth, where all lies and darkness fail, and the truth of our Lord’s salvation and love for us was made real through Jesus. This is the true joy, knowing that our Lord cares for us greatly, and He will not let us to fall into damnation, unless it is we ourselves who purposefully look for it.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, what we heard today in the Scriptures are proofs of God’s love for us, and the healing He wanted to bring to all of us, the healing of the body, mind and spirit. And the most important of which is the healing of the spirit, and of the soul. For while external and physical afflictions and diseases may cause great discomfort and pain, they do not last forever, and there will indeed be a time when we all shall be free of those, but the effects of the illness and sickness of the soul, shall last forever if we are not vigilant.

The sickness of the soul is sin, and sin is a taint upon our otherwise immaculate soul. The pure and clean soul had been dirtied by the presence of sin, through our greed and human desires, through our pride and selfishness, and through the many acts we had committed which were not in accordance to the will and to the teachings of the Lord. These things distanced ourselves from God, and in time, they will bring about condemnation for us.

And that is why, all of us should realise that we still have the chance and opportunities given to us by the Lord, to change our ways and repent. If we accept fully His Laws and commandments, and committing ourselves to reject all forms of sin and wickedness, in our daily life and actions, then truly, we have hope. It is therefore, a reminder to all of us this Easter season, that we ought to conquer sin and wickedness in this time of grace, just as Christ had conquered death itself.

Let us take up this opportunity to renew and strengthen our faith to the Lord, and let us make real the renewal of our baptismal promises which we have just made on the Easter Sunday. Let us not be afraid anymore, or be uncertain in any way, for indeed our Lord had triumphed, and He shall bring us all healing and succour. Just as through His Name the beggar was healed, and just as the two disciples on their way to Emmaus were strengthened and healed in spirit, we too will receive the same healing and grace. God bless us all. Amen.