(Holy Week) Wednesday, 12 April 2017 : Wednesday of Holy Week (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Matthew 26 : 14-25

Then one of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “How much will you give me if I hand Him over to you?” They promised to give him thirty pieces of silver, and from then on, he kept looking for the best way to hand Jesus over to them.

On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and said to Him, “Where do You want us to prepare the Passover meal for you?” Jesus answered, “Go into the city, to the house of a certain man, and tell him, ‘The Master says : My hour is near, and I will celebrate the Passover with My disciples in your house.'”

The disciples did as Jesus had ordered, and prepared the Passover meal. When it was evening, Jesus sat at table with the Twelve. While they were eating, Jesus said, “Truly I say to you : one of you will betray Me.” They were deeply distressed, and they asked Him, one after the other, “You do not mean me, do You, Lord?”

He answered, “The one who dips his bread with Me will betray Me. The Son of Man is going as the Scripture says He will. But alas for that one who betrays the Son of Man : better for him not to have been born.” Judas, who was betraying Him, also asked, “You do not mean me, Master, do You?” Jesus replied, “You have said it.”

(Holy Week) Wednesday, 12 April 2017 : Wednesday of Holy Week (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Psalm 68 : 8-10, 21bcd-22, 31 and 33-34

Since I am held in contempt for Your sake, and shame has covered My face. I have become a stranger to My kindred, an alien to My mother’s sons. Zeal for Your house consumes Me as fire and those who insult You insult Me as well.

I looked for sympathy and there was none, for comforters and there was no one. They gave me poison for food and vinegar to drink.

I will praise the Name of God in song; I will glorify Him with thanksgiving. Let the lowly witness this and be glad. You who seek God, may your hearts be revived. For the Lord hears the needy and does not despise those in captivity.

(Holy Week) Wednesday, 12 April 2017 : Wednesday of Holy Week (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Isaiah 50 : 4-9a

The Lord YHVH has taught Me so I speak as His disciple and I know how to sustain the weary. Morning after morning He wakes Me up to hear, to listen like a disciple. The Lord YHVH has opened My ear. I have not rebelled, nor have I withdrawn.

I offered My back to those who strike Me, My cheeks to those who pulled My beard; neither did I shield My face from blows, spittle and disgrace. I have not despaired, for the Lord YHVH comes to My help. So, like a flint I set My face, knowing that I will not be disgraced.

He Who avenges Me is near. Who then will accuse Me? Let us confront each other. Who is now My accuser? Let him approach. If the Lord YHVH is my Help, who will condemn Me?

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

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard about how Jesus said that one of His own disciples would betray Him and surrendered Him to the hands of the chief priests and the elders. He was speaking of the time of His own suffering and death, which at that time was indeed about to occur. We heard of the betrayal of Judas who left to inform the chief priests and the elders on how and when to arrest Jesus in exchange for monetary compensation of thirty silver pieces.

Then we also heard how Jesus predicted that Peter would deny Him three times before others, even as he said that he would give his life for the sake of the Lord. This is what we are certainly quite well aware of, how during the time when Jesus had been arrested, out of fear and doubt, Peter denied three times knowing Jesus and had wanted nothing to do with Him when the bystanders at the trial of Jesus asked him.

In what we have heard thus far, what the Lord wants us to know is that all of us mankind have sinned, committed acts out of disobedience to Him, and we are easily tempted by various things, from money, to pleasures of the body, to desire, to lust and greed for power, human ambition, to fame and renown, and all other things that have caused us to doubt, to falter and to fall into sin, as the disciples had done when the Lord was arrested. They all abandoned Him and hid themselves out of fear.

Yet, we must be wondering why then did God call such weak and easily tempted men to be His disciples? Then, we should also think then that the Lord called people who were sinners like the tax collectors, prostitutes and all others whom the general public considered to be the dregs and the lowest of them all, outcasts and unworthy people, who should have been condemned because of all the wickedness that they had done.

But God called them and made them turn away from their past sinfulness and He made them to abandon their old ways of wickedness. He had transformed all of them from the beings of darkness and sin, into the children of the light, and therefore, we have to realise that even all saints were once themselves sinners too, just like each and every one of us.

What is it that differentiate between saints and all those who have fallen into damnation? Since all of them were once the same in what they had done, in whatever sins they have committed, we may not realise the answer for this question. But truly, it is because while saints turned away from their sins and made the commitment to sin no more, those who have been condemned ended up with such a fate because they continued to live in the state of sin.

As we progress through the Holy Week, and approach the time when we will commemorate again the suffering, death and resurrection of our Lord, let us all ponder upon these matters and reflect on our actions in life thus far. How have we made use of this life and opportunity given to us by our Lord? Have we used it in accordance with what He wanted us and willed for us? Or have we instead ignored His will and decided to follow our own path, by turning into sin and debauchery?

We should look upon the examples set by St. Stanislas or St. Stanislaus the Bishop and Martyr, who was a renowned saint and martyr from Poland, who lived almost a millennia ago, as the Bishop of Krakow in Poland. St. Stanislas was a just and upright man, who committed himself wholeheartedly to the mission to which he had been called to. He spent much of his time to help guide the people of God through difficulties, challenges and temptations in life to seek God and His ways.

And he was very courageous in standing up to his faith and to the truth that could be found in the Lord alone, as he even stood up against the king of Poland, king Boleslav who was told to be immoral in his life and in his activities. He was chastised by the courageous saint, who ended up excommunicating the king when he refused to change his ways and continued to commit scandalous acts before God and men alike.

The king took matter to his own hands and personally killed the Bishop as he was celebrating the Holy Mass outside the city. The uproar over the killing of such a holy and pious man forced the king off from his throne, and it was told that he had to go into exile, and some accounts placed him as a penitent who went about trying to be forgiven from his grievous sin of murdering a holy man of God. Nevertheless, the faith of St. Stanislas were widely noted and many venerated him after his death.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us should also walk in the footsteps of St. Stanislas. We should emulate his commitment to live a pious and worthy life, rejecting all forms of sins and wickedness. We should turn our way back from our sins, and reject all those things that had led us to sin. Let us all devote ourselves and our time from now on to serve the Lord with all of our hearts, with all of our strength, so that we may join the company of the saints, all the sinners whom God had forgiven and welcomed back into His embrace, and now enjoy the eternal glory of heaven. May the Lord bless us all. Amen.