Saturday, 18 April 2015 : 2nd Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 6 : 16-21

At that time, after the feeding of the five thousand, when evening came, the disciples went down to the shore. After a while they got into a boat to make for Capernaum on the other side of the sea, for it was now dark and Jesus had not yet come to them.

But the sea was getting rough because a strong wind was blowing. They had rowed about three or four miles, when they saw Jesus walking on the sea, and He was drawing near to the boat. They were frightened, but He said to them, “It is I! Do not be afraid!”

They wanted to take Him into the boat, but immediately the boat was at the shore to which they were going.

Saturday, 18 April 2015 : 2nd Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 32 : 1-2, 4-5, 18-19

Rejoice in the Lord, you who are just, praise is fitting for the upright. Give thanks to Him on the harp and lyre, making melody and chanting praises.

For upright is the Lord’s word and worthy of trust is His work. The Lord loves justice and righteousness; the earth is full of His kindness.

But the Lord’s eyes are upon those who fear Him, upon those who trust in His loving kindness to deliver them from death and preserve them from famine.

Saturday, 18 April 2015 : 2nd Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 6 : 1-7

In those days, as the number of disciples grew, the so called Hellenists complained against the so called Hebrews, because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution.

So the Twelve summoned the whole body of disciples together and said, “It is not right that we should neglect the word of God to serve at tables. So, friends, choose from among yourselves seven respected men full of Spirit and wisdom, that we may appoint them to this task. As for us, we shall give ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the Word.”

The whole community agreed and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and Holy Spirit; Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenus and Nicolaus of Antioch who was a proselyte. They presented these men to the Apostles who first prayed over them and then laid hands upon them.

The Word of God continued to spread, and the number of disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly and even many priests accepted the faith.

Friday, 17 April 2015 : 2nd Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard the reading that is very famous and certainly known by all of us, that is the reading of the feeding of the multitudes of five thousand men and many more, uncounted women and children among all those who followed Jesus and heard His teachings. The feeding of the five thousand with a mere five loaves of bread and two fishes which Jesus miraculously transformed into food of abundance that filled them all showed the world that He is indeed the Christ, the Lord, the Almighty One who had come into the world.

And for He is God, He is our Lord and Father. He cares for us all with all of His heart, and His love for us is ever generous and boundless. He showed mercy and compassion when He saw the multitudes of people went hungry and weakened by the lack of food, even though they stayed on to listen to the teachings of Jesus. He would not let the people to go hungry, and He fed them with food, both physical and spiritual food.

The people were filled and satisfied, but many of them did not understand what God truly wanted from them. If we follow on the story, the people after that tried to seize Jesus and force Him to become their king, and rebel against their Roman rulers. They did so because they wanted earthly and worldly satisfaction, the satisfaction which only such greatness and wonders can give them.

They wanted earthly joy and satisfaction, the feeling of satiation similar to when we have our stomachs filled. But is this true joy and true satisfaction? No, it is not. Those are temporary joy and happiness, that often distract us from seeking and finding the true joy of our life, that is to be with our Lord, our loving God. We always crave for attention, crave for that satisfaction of the flesh, by seeking worldly pleasures, and as a result, we fall into sin.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we have to seek the Lord, seek His truth and know about His love for us. We have to follow the example of Christ, who showed us how we should act and indeed react to the temptations lying all over around us. It will not be easy to overcome ourselves, our ego and our desires, but certainly it is possible for us to put in the effort to reject the worldliness offered by the evil one.

Jesus showed us the perfect example, that we may know how to live like a good and devoted Christian, as believers and followers of our God. We ought to imitate what Jesus had done if we would like to be true disciples of our Lord. He is humble, unassuming, and He is always obedient, even when the temptations of the world rose up to tempt Him to turn from His perfect obedience to the will of God.

He was tempted when He encountered Satan in the desert, beset with hunger and the great heat of the desert. He was tempted to show off His power by changing the stones into bread. But remember what Jesus said to Satan? Exactly, He said that men does not live on bread alone, but also on every words that come from the mouth of God. This is the spiritual food which our Lord Jesus had given us, the food that is the nourishment for our souls and for our spiritual well-being.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we have shared in the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ since the time when we received it for the first time. And by that, we have the Lord dwelling in us and staying in our midst, just as God was with people, and therefore, we should keep ourselves, the Temple of His presence, to be always clean and worthy of Him, or else risk the retribution and punishment of His wrath.

We have to remember that God loves us, and that He cares for us greatly. But this does not mean that God ignores the sins and wickedness which we had committed. This does not mean that God looks away from those faults and corruptions which had kept us in the darkness. It means that God wants us to achieve sincere and genuine conversion, a total change of heart, mind, body and soul, so that in all things, we may be made whole and complete again, and blameless as on the day when we were created.

Let us vow, that as we continue to progress through this holy Easter season, we may be awakened to the need for genuine conversion and sincere faith. Yes, not faith that is just merely lip-service or empty, but also one that is living, vibrant, dynamic and real. This Easter, let us all renew our faith and commitment to the Lord. Let us no longer be paralysed by our fears and the temptations and challenges around us, but let us go forth with pride and faith, to be closer to God and to bring all mankind to Him. God bless us all. Amen.

Friday, 17 April 2015 : 2nd Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 6 : 1-15

At that time, Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, near Tiberias, and large crowds followed Him, because of the miraculous signs they saw, when He healed the sick. So He went up into the hills and sat down there with His disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand.

Then lifting up His eyes, Jesus saw the crowds that were coming to Him, and said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread so that these people may eat?” He said this to test Philip, for He Himself knew what He was going to do. Philip answered Him, “Two hundred silver coins would not buy enough bread for each of them to have a piece.”

Then one of Jesus’ disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother said, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?” Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass there, so the people, about five thousand men, sat down.

Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were seated. He did the same with the fish, and gave them as much as they wanted. And when they had eaten enough, He told His disciples, “Gather up the pieces left over, that nothing may be lost.”

So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with bread, that is, with pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. When the people saw the miracle which Jesus had performed, they said, “This is really the Prophet, the One who is to come into the world.”

Jesus realised that they would come and take Him by force to make Him king; so He fled to the hills by Himself.

Friday, 17 April 2015 : 2nd Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 26 : 1, 4, 13-14

The Lord is my Light and my Salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the rampart of my life; I will not be afraid.

One thing I ask of the Lord, one thing I seek – that I may dwell in His house all the days of my life, to gaze at His jewel and to visit His sanctuary.

I hope, I am sure, that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Trust in the Lord, be strong and courageous. Yes, put your hope in the Lord!

Friday, 17 April 2015 : 2nd Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 5 : 34-42

But one of the Council members, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the Law highly respected by the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin. He ordered the men to be taken outside for a few minutes and then he spoke to the assembly.

He said, “Fellow Israelites, consider well what you intend to do to these men. For some time ago Theudas came forward, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men joined him. But he was killed and all his followers were dispersed or disappeared. After him, Judas the Galilean appeared at the time of the census and persuaded many people to follow him. But he too perished and his whole following was scattered.”

“So, in this present case, I advise you to have nothing to do with these men. Leave them alone. If their project or activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself. If, on the other hand, it is from God, you will not be able to destroy it and you may indeed find yourselves fighting against God.”

The Council let themselves be persuaded. They called in the Apostles and had them whipped, and ordered them not to speak again of Jesus the Saviour. Then they set them free. The Apostles went out from the Council rejoicing that they were considered worthy to suffer disgrace for the sake of the Name. Day after day, both in the Temple and in people’s homes, they continued to teach and to proclaim that Jesus was the Messiah.