Wednesday, 30 March 2016 : First Week of Easter, Wednesday within Easter Octave (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 24 : 13-35

At that time, the same day as the day of the resurrection of Jesus, two followers of His 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, 30 March 2016 : First Week of Easter, 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, 30 March 2016 : First Week of Easter, 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, 29 March 2016 : First Week of Easter, Tuesday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard more about the testimony of faith by St. Peter the Apostle, after they have received the Holy Spirit, the Advocate God had promised to them. The disciples of Jesus were once afraid to even come out in the open, and after Jesus had died on the cross, they were really like chickens who just lost their mother hen, and they were in despair.

But the Lord showed them that there is always hope beyond the despair, light beyond the darkness. And despite the darkest moments, the light of God shone through, and hope blossomed. And it is this hope which we are all celebrating with great joy during this time of Easter. God will not abandon His beloved people to the darkness, and He will rescue them from all of their troubles.

In the Gospel we heard of how Mary of Magdala, or Mary Magdalene, one of the most faithful disciples of Jesus, was weeping, and she was filled with sorrow, uncertainty and fear, all because of the fact that the Body of her Lord and Master had gone missing, and she did not know who dared to come and take the Body away, and she had no clue to its whereabouts.

And certainly we have also felt the same feeling too, brothers and sisters in Christ? We have felt in the same manner whenever we feel and find that life is getting tough on us, when we thought that no one cares about us, or when we think that God has abandoned us. That was the same sentiment and feeling that Mary of Magdala, the Apostles, including Peter himself encountered in their own life journey in faith.

But God showed them that there is hope beyond the darkness, and if they persevered in faith, and continued to devote themselves to Him, then they shall receive great rewards indeed. This is the joy of our Easter celebrations, as we rejoice together, celebrating the victory of our God, and indeed, our own victory against all those who sought to bring harm and evil intention upon us.

It is in our human nature for us to feel fear, uncertainty, and it is indeed easier for us to look on despair rather than hope, especially in times of great difficulty. But we must remember that no matter how bad things are, and no matter how great the troubles facing us are, if we put our trust in the Lord, we should have no need for fear. It is precisely because we often put our trust in the strength of men that we get disappointed, because we are putting our trust in something that feeble and untrustworthy.

Let us all reflect on this even as we rejoice in our Risen Lord during this time of Easter. Let us all renew our faith and our commitment to Him, and open ourselves to welcome Him into our lives. May the grace and the love, the light and the Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of us, strengthening us and giving us the strong resolve to carry on with great zeal and commitment.

May the Lord bless us all and bless all of our endeavours, and may He grant us rest and peace, for all of us who believed in Him, and all of us who have placed ourselves under His protection. God be with all of us, and may the joy of Easter be with us always. Amen.