(Holy Week) Tuesday, 11 April 2017 : Tuesday of Holy Week, Memorial of St. Stanislas, Bishop and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
John 13 : 21-33, 36-38

At that time, after He said a discourse to His disciples after He washed their feet, Jesus was distressed in Spirit, and said plainly, “Truly, one of you will betray Me.” The disciples then looked at one another, wondering whom He meant. One of the disciples, the one Jesus loved, was reclining near Jesus; so Simon Peter signalled him to ask Jesus whom He meant.

And the disciple, who was reclining near Jesus, asked Him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “I shall dip a piece of bread in the dish, and he to whom I give it, is the one.” So Jesus dipped the bread and gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And as Judas took the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus then said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”

None of the others, reclining at the table, understood why Jesus said this to Judas. As Judas had the common purse, they may have thought that Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or “Give something to the poor.” Judas left as soon as he had eaten the bread. It was night.

When Judas had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him. God will glorify Him, and He will glorify Him very soon. My children, I am with you for only a little while; you will look for Me, but as I already told the Jews, so now I tell you : where I am going you cannot come.”

Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, where are You going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but afterwards you will.” Peter said, “Lord, why can I not follow You now? I am ready to give my life for You.”

“To give your life for Me?” Jesus asked Peter, “Truly I tell you, the cock will not crow, before you have denied Me three times.”

(Holy Week) Tuesday, 11 April 2017 : Tuesday of Holy Week, Memorial of St. Stanislas, Bishop and Martyr (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Psalm 70 : 1-2, 3-4a, 5-6ab, 15 and 17

In You, o Lord, I seek refuge; let me not be disgraced. In Your justice help me and deliver me, turn Your ear to me and save me!

Be my Rock of refuge, a Stronghold to give me safety, for You are my Rock and my Fortress. Rescue me, o my God, from the hand of the wicked.

For You, o Lord, have been my Hope, my Trust, o God, from my youth. I have relied on You from birth : from my mother’s womb You brought me forth.

My lips will proclaim Your intervention and tell of Your salvation all day, little though it is what I can understand. You have taught me from my youth and until now I proclaim Your marvels.

(Holy Week) Tuesday, 11 April 2017 : Tuesday of Holy Week, Memorial of St. Stanislas, Bishop and Martyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Isaiah 49 : 1-6

Listen to me, o islands, pay attention, peoples from distant lands. YHVH called me from my mother’s womb; He pronounced my name before I was born. He made my mouth like a sharpened sword. He hid me in the shadow of His hand. He made me into a polished arrow set apart in His quiver.

He said to me, “You are Israel, my servant, through you I will be known.” “I have laboured in vain,” I thought, “and spent my strength for nothing.” Yet what is due me was in the hand of YHVH, and my reward was with my God. I am important in the sight of YHVH, and my God is my Strength.

And now YHVH has spoken, He Who formed me in the womb to be His servant, to bring Jacob back to Him, to gather Israel to Him. He said : “It is not enough that you be My servant, to restore the tribes of Jacob, to bring back the remnant of Israel. I will make you the light of the nations, that My salvation will reach to the ends of the earth.”

(Holy Week) Monday, 10 April 2017 : Monday of Holy Week (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we continue our journey through the Holy Week, the holiest moment in our whole liturgical year. We progress on from what we celebrate yesterday in Palm Sunday of our Lord’s Passion, when we celebrate the coming of the King of glory into His city, praised and welcomed by the people crying out, “Hosanna! Hosanna to the Son of David!”

And as we progress towards the celebrations of the Easter Triduum, when we commemorate the same King, Who was abandoned by His people, condemned to death and put to death on the cross, and later to rise from the dead, through these few days in between these two important events, all of us are called to reflect on what our Lord had done for our sake through His Passion, death and resurrection.

God has allowed Himself to assume the human flesh, taking up our form to share with us the suffering we have received because of our sins and wickedness. And while we sinned and disobeyed Him, He was willing to forgive us, as He wanted us all to be reconciled to Him, because He loved each one of us. And therefore, because of this great love which our God had shown us, definitely we want to thank Him and to glorify Him for all He had done for us.

In the Gospel today, that was what Mary, the sister of Lazarus had done onto Jesus. Imagine, brothers and sisters in Christ, the joy that she must have had, when she saw her brother Lazarus, who was very sick and whom once thought to be dead, rose from the dead because of what Jesus had done for him. We can just imagine just how great the joy is in the heart of Mary, of having received such a great grace from God, the gift of a new life.

Therefore, she anointed His feet with expensive perfume, told to be from pure spikenard, among the most expensive and highest quality of perfumes, honouring Him and glorifying Him. In another account from the Gospels, Mary also wet His feet with her tears and dried them all with her hair. Such was the adoration and worship that she had given to Him, entrusting Him with all of her attention and her heart, and yet, Judas judged her and complained on what she had done.

Judas, under the pretext that Mary was wasting the perfume that was so expensive that it could have been sold to provide money to be given to the poor had judged Mary in front of others, pretending to care for the poor. But as mentioned in the Gospel passage itself, he was not concerned at the least for the poor, but because when Mary did that to Jesus, Judas was filled with jealousy and desire, greed and anger, because he was not able to help himself to the money which thus far he had taken from the common funds of the disciples.

In all this, we encounter the situation that often happens in our world today, when there are many who accuse us in the Church as being removed from the reality of our world, and many who slandered and attacked the Church because they thought that the Church had been an elitist institution who could have done all the things that Jesus had asked us to do, if they were to strip down all of their churches and properties and sell off everything, giving them all to the poor.

But they did not realise just how much the Church had done for the sake of the poor and the needy. The Church is the greatest and the most active contributor to charity and good works anywhere in the world. It has done so much for the sake of those who need assistance, but of course there are always more to be done to help. And the help from each and every one of us is needed.

Many perceived the Church as being ignorant of the plight of the poor, because they saw the actions of many Christians who are indifferent and selfish, greedy and filled with corruption just like Judas Iscariot. Many of us are putting our own wants and desires ahead of our obligations to serve the Lord with faith, and that is why many people found the Church scandalised, because of our own actions, all of us who called ourselves Christians and yet we did not act as how Christians should have acted and lived.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all learn from the example of Mary, and not from the examples shown by Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Jesus. Let us all leave behind our greed, our attachments to worldly pleasures and all the things that had corrupted our hearts, our minds and our entire being, as how they had turned Judas into betraying Jesus. All of us had indeed once erred, but there is always the opportunity to turn ourselves into a new life.

Let us all therefore seek to be humble and to act as Mary, the sister of Lazarus had done. Let us all devote our time and effort from now on to give our best to the Lord, putting our complete trust in Him and not in worldly matters and goods. Let us not fall into the same temptation as Judas had fallen into, so that we may not fall into damnation but may instead receive eternal life. May God be with all of us, always. Amen.

(Holy Week) Monday, 10 April 2017 : Monday of Holy Week (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
John 12 : 1-11

At that time, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where He had raised Lazarus, the dead man, to life. Now they gave a dinner for Him, and while Martha waited on them, Lazarus sat at the table with Jesus.

Then Mary took a pound of costly perfume, made from genuine spikenard and anointed the feet of Jesus, wiping them with her hair. And the whole house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

Judas Iscariot – the disciple who was to betray Jesus – remarked, “This perfume could have been sold for three hundred silver coins, and the money given to the poor.” Judas, indeed, had no concern for the poor; he was a thief, and as he held the common purse, he used to help himself to the funds.

But Jesus spoke up, “Leave her alone. Was she not keeping it for the day of My burial? (The poor you always have with you, but you will not always have Me.)” Many Jews heard that Jesus was there and they came, not only because of Jesus, but also to see Lazarus whom He had raised from the dead.

So the chief priests thought about killing Lazarus as well, for many of the Jews were drifting away because of him, and believing in Jesus.

(Holy Week) Monday, 10 April 2017 : Monday of Holy Week (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Psalm 26 : 1, 2, 3, 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.

When the wicked rush at me to devour my flesh, it is my foes who stumble, my enemies fall.

Though an army encamp against me, my heart will not fail; though war break out against me, I will still be confident.

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!

(Holy Week) Monday, 10 April 2017 : Monday of Holy Week (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Isaiah 42 : 1-7

Here is My Servant Whom I uphold, My Chosen One in Whom I delight. I have put My Spirit upon Him, and He will bring justice to the nations. He does not shout or raise His voice. Proclamations are not heard in the streets.

A broken reed He will not crush, nor will He snuff out the light of the wavering wick. He will make justice appear in truth. He will not waver or be broken until He has established justice on earth; the islands are waiting for His law.

Thus says God, YHVH, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread the earth and all that comes from it, Who gives life and breath to those who walk on it. I, YHVH, have called you for the sake of justice; I will hold your hand to make you firm; I will make you as a covenant to the people, and as a light to the nations, to open eyes that do not see, to free captives from prison, to bring out to light those who sit in darkness.