Friday, 7 April 2017 : 5th Week of Lent, Memorial of St. John Baptist de la Salle, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
John 10 : 31-42

At that time, the Jews then picked up stones to throw at Jesus; so He said, “I have openly done many good works among you, which the Father gave Me to do. For which of these do you stone Me?”

The Jews answered, “We are not stoning You for doing a good work, but for insulting God; You are only a Man, and You make Yourself God.” Then Jesus replied, “Is this not written in your law : I said, you are gods? So those who received this word of God were called gods, and the Scripture is always true.”

“What then should be said of the One anointed, and sent into the world, by the Father? Am I insulting God when I say, ‘I am the Son of God?’ If I am not doing the works of My Father, do not believe Me. But if I do them, even if you have no faith in Me, believe because of the works I do; and know that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.”

Again they tried to arrest Him, but Jesus escaped from their hands. He went away again to the other side of the Jordan, to the place where John had baptised, and there He stayed. Many people came to Jesus, and said, “John worked no miracles, but he spoke about You, and everything he said was true.” And many became believers in that place.

Friday, 7 April 2017 : 5th Week of Lent, Memorial of St. John Baptist de la Salle, Priest (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Psalm 17 : 2-3a, 3bc-4, 5-6, 7

I love You, o Lord, my Strength, the Lord is my Rock, my Fortress, my Deliverer and my God.

He is the Rock in Whom I take refuge. He is my Shield, my powerful Saviour, my Stronghold. I call on the Lord, Who is worthy of praise : He saves me from my enemies!

A deadly flood surrounded me, devillish torrents rushed at me; caught by the cords of the grave, I was brought to the snares of death.

But I called upon the Lord in my distress, I cried to my God for help; and from His Temple He heard my voice, my cry of grief reached His ears.

Friday, 7 April 2017 : 5th Week of Lent, Memorial of St. John Baptist de la Salle, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Jeremiah 20 : 10-13

I hear many people whispering, “Terror is all around! Denounce him! Yes, denounce him!” All my friends watch me to see if I will slip : “Perhaps he can be deceived,” they say; “then we can get the better of him and have our revenge.”

But YHVH, a mighty Warrior, is with me. My persecutors will stumble and not prevail; that failure will be their shame and their disgrace will never be forgotten. YHVH, God of hosts, You test the just and probe the heart and mind.

Let me see Your revenge on them, for to You I have entrusted my cause. Sing to YHVH! Praise YHVH and say : He has rescued the poor from the clutches of the wicked!

Thursday, 6 April 2017 : 5th Week of Lent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard about the faith of Abraham, the father of many nations and peoples, who had heard the Lord’s call and followed His call to go to the land He had promised to him and to his descendants. And that was why God blessed Abraham and made His covenant with him, and with all of his descendants.

But the Israelites at the time of Jesus refused to believe in Him when He came into this world to establish a new covenant with them. They were very proud of themselves as the descendants of Abraham, and yet in their actions, they showed what were contrary to how Abraham had lived his life. They were vain, filled with human ambitions and desires, acted unjustly upon others and did what was sinful in the sight of God.

They thought that by being born children and direct descendants of Abraham, then they alone deserved God’s love, grace and salvation. Unfortunately, because of their actions and wicked deeds, even Abraham himself would be ashamed to have these people calling themselves his descendants. Their actions have brought scandal to the name of Abraham, for they have not acted and did things in the same manner as Abraham had done.

They have not been faithful to God, and they have not done what the Lord had asked them to do. They gave in to worldly temptations of power, desire and all other sorts of things that kept them away from being truly faithful to God. And they forgot that, as God mentioned to Abraham at that time, and written in the book of Genesis, they need to obey the commandments of God and be actively involved in living up their part of the covenant.

Yes, a covenant is not a one-directional transaction between God and Abraham. A covenant instead is a transaction and agreement, between two parties, and in this case, involving both God and Abraham. Both sides would have to fulfil their respective part of the covenant, or else, the covenant would not be fulfilled. And that was what happened to the Israelites, as they disregarded their obligations to fulfil the commandments of God, they had lost their right for the covenant with God.

That was why they also suffered the consequences, having been conquered and put down by their enemies, having to leave behind which God had promised to them and to their forefathers, because of their lack of faith. They were brought to faraway lands and had to endure humiliation among the foreigners, who as written in the Scriptures, mocked them for their disobedience and fate.

Yet, the Lord is ever forgiving and loving, and that is what all of us need to remember as we progress through this time of Lent, and as we deepen our relationships with God. God sent us a new Hope in the person of Jesus Christ, His Son, the Saviour and Deliverer He had promised to all of us, as the sign of His love and faith, as well as commitment to His covenant with all of us, remembering the covenant He Himself made with Abraham.

To this extent, through Jesus God had established a new covenant with us all, one that will never end and be broken, for it is by none other than through His own Precious Blood and Body shed on the cross at Calvary, that He had sealed and made fulfilled the covenant that He made anew with us. This new Covenant is the covenant between us and God, and through this Covenant all of us are called to come closer to God, to be forgiven from all of our sins and to receive God’s everlasting grace.

Are we then able to commit ourselves to God in the same way that God had committed Himself. God is ever so faithful and committed to His words and covenants that He was willing to lay down His life for the sake of us all, the partakers of His covenant. If God Himself is willing to go so far for our sake, then should we all mankind then do the same? Shall we all show Him as great a commitment and faith that we can muster?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all renew our commitment to God from now on. Let us all be renewed in faith, and show it through our actions and deeds. Everything we say and do, we should do it with genuine Christian love and charity. Let us all give ourselves to the service and help for our brethren in need, all those around us who are in need of help, and have no one to help them. May the Lord bless us all and our endeavours, and may He bring us all to His everlasting glory, all of us who partake in His wonderful covenant. Amen.

Thursday, 6 April 2017 : 5th Week of Lent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
John 8 : 51-59

At that time, Jesus said to the Jews, “Truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word, he will never experience death.” The Jews replied, “Now we know that You have a demon. Abraham died and the prophets as well, but You say, ‘Whoever keeps My word will never experience death.’ Who do You claim to be? Do You claim to be greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets also died.”

Then Jesus said, “If I were to praise Myself, it would count for nothing. But He Who gives glory to Me is the Father, the very One you claim as your God, although you do not know Him. I know Him, and if I were to say that I do not know Him, I would be a liar like you. But I know Him and I keep His word. As for Abraham, your ancestor, he looked forward to the day when I would come; and he rejoiced when he saw it.”

The Jews then said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old and You have seen Abraham?” And Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” They then picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and left the Temple.

Thursday, 6 April 2017 : 5th Week of Lent (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Psalm 104 : 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

Look to the Lord and be strong; seek His face always. Remember His wonderful works, His miracles and His judgments.

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.

Thursday, 6 April 2017 : 5th Week of Lent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Genesis 17 : 3-9

Abram fell face down and God said to him, “This is My covenant with you : you will be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer will you be called Abram, but Abraham, because I will make you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you more and more famous; I will multiply your descendants; nations shall spring from you, kings shall be among your descendants.”

“And I will establish a covenant, an everlasting covenant between Myself and you and your descendants after you; from now on I will be your God and the God of your descendants after you, for generations to come. I will give to you and your descendants after you the land you are living in, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession and I will be the God of your race.”

God said to Abraham, “For your part, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you, generation after generation.”