(Holy Week) Thursday, 13 April 2017 : Holy Thursday, Chrism Mass (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Luke 4 : 16-21

At that time, when Jesus came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, as He usually did. He stood up to read, and they handed Him the book of the prophet Isaiah.

Jesus then unrolled the scroll and found the place where it is written : “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me. He has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives and new sight to the blind; to free the oppressed and to announce the Lord’s year of mercy.”

Jesus then rolled up the scroll, gave it to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. Then He said to them, “Today these prophetic words come true, even as you listen.”

(Holy Week) Thursday, 13 April 2017 : Holy Thursday, Chrism Mass (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Revelations 1 : 5-8

And from Jesus Christ, the faithful Witness, the Firstborn of the dead, the Ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him Who loves us and has washed away our sins with His own Blood, making us a kingdom and priests for God His Father, to Him be the glory and power forever and ever. Amen.

See He comes with the clouds and everyone will see Him, even those who pierced Him; on His account all the nations of the earth will beat his breast. Yes. It will be so. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, He Who is, Who was and Who is to come : the Master of the universe.

(Holy Week) Thursday, 13 April 2017 : Holy Thursday, Chrism Mass (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White
Psalm 88 : 21-22, 25 and 27

I have found David my servant, and with My holy oil I have anointed him. My hand will be ever with him and My arm will sustain him.

My faithfulness and love will be with him, and by My help he will be strong. He will call on Me, ‘You are my Father, my God, my Rock, my Saviour.’

(Holy Week) Thursday, 13 April 2017 : Holy Thursday, Chrism Mass (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Isaiah 61 : 1-3a, 6a, 8b-9

The Spirit of the Lord YHVH is upon Me, because YHVH has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent Me to bind up broken hearts, to proclaim liberty to the captives, freedom to those languishing in prison; to announce the year of YHVH’s favour and the day of vengeance of our God; to give comfort to all who grieve; (to comfort those who mourn in Zion) and give them a garland instead of ashes.

But you will be named priests of YHVH, you will be called ministers of our God. I will give them their due reward and make an everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants shall be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a race YHVH has blessed.

(Holy Week) Wednesday, 12 April 2017 : Wednesday of Holy Week (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard again the story of the betrayal of Judas, because especially in the tradition of our faith handed down from the Apostles, today, as Holy Wednesday, the day before the Last Supper was to happen, was the day when Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus and plotted to hand Him over to them for a monetary sum.

And Judas sold Jesus out to the chief priests for a sum of thirty silver pieces. This may seem a lot to us, but in fact at that time, that price was roughly how much a slave would be worth in the slave market, at a time when slavery was still widely practiced. Thus, Judas sold his Lord and Master out for the price of a mere slave, as foretold in the Scriptures, that the One Whom God sent into the world would be betrayed and priced at the worth of a mere slave.

We may think that this is insignificant to us, but in fact, all of us should really pay very close attention to what Judas had done, and what the Lord wants to remind us with, as we all listen to the way that Judas had betrayed Him. Judas was a greedy man, and he was always helping himself to the common funds of the disciples of the Lord, as we read in the Gospels. He was a thief, and concerned more about money and benefits of following the Lord rather than truly believing in Him.

He was with the Lord Jesus so long as it benefitted him to do so. The moment that he saw an opportunity to betray Him for something more lucrative, he would do so at the first opportunity. He saw that opportunity when he saw Mary, the sister of Lazarus, the man whom Jesus raised from the dead, poured expensive perfume on the feet of Jesus and anointed it. He could not understand why it was done, because in his mind, money and his desire for money took the first place before the Lord.

Thus, he betrayed the Lord, because ultimately, as Jesus said in another occasion, that man cannot serve two masters, be it God or money. Man will love one and hate the other. So, eventually Judas made his choice, and it was not God’s side that he took up. We may think that this is what he had done, and it had no significance on us. But we are truly very wrong if we think that it is the case.

In fact, let us ponder on our own lives and actions. Let us all remember all the times when the Lord called upon us and wanted us to follow Him, and yet, we always say ‘no’ to Him, or ‘later’ or ‘do not disturb me, for I am busy now’ or ‘I will do it later’. Surely each and every one of us, at some point of time in our lives have done all these, have said all these to the Lord as our response to His call.

And let us remember whenever we are saying, ‘I have given donations and money to the Church, I have attended the Mass every Sunday, so I have done my obligations, therefore, let me be and allow me to continue with my daily business, for I have done what was asked of me.’ This is often the attitude which quite a few of had done, or indeed are doing all the time, whenever we are called by the Lord.

Are we not making excuses before the Lord? And are we not doing just exactly what Judas had done? We treated the Lord as if He is insignificant compared to whatever things that we are pursuing in life, be it wealth, be it possession, fame or renown, or power or authority, or other things that we mankind often seek for in life. We are so busy with all these things and all of these pursuits that we have neglected our main duty in life, to serve the Lord with all of our strength.

Why is that so, brothers and sisters in Christ? For in reality, we are all nothing without God! God is the source of all our lives, and all the breath we take, every single one of them are blessings from the Lord. But we often do not appreciate this fact. We treated Him just like how Judas sold Him out for just a mere thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave.

Remember, brothers and sisters, that as we progress through this Holy Week, we should realise just how much it is that God has loved each and every one of us, even though we are all sinners and rebels before Him. He wants us all to be redeemed and to be reconciled with Him, and to that extent, He has endeavoured to give it all for our sake, by sending none other than His own begotten Son, the Divine Word made flesh, to be the Saviour of us all.

Let us remember this as we are about to commemorate the death of Jesus on the cross this Good Friday. He has paid the ultimate price for His love for us. He has held nothing back, even to the extent of giving up His own life for our sake, so that by His death, we may also die to our past sins, and also to be able to share in His glorious resurrection, that each and every one of us will be cleansed thoroughly from all the unworthy things that had kept us away from God’s grace and love.

Let us remember therefore, that all of us who are Christians, as those who believe in Him as our Lord and Saviour, have our respective obligations in life, to be fully committed to follow the Lord and His ways in all things, by the generous and selfless giving of ourselves to one another. Let us all imitate the great love which God had poured down on us, and share the same love to our fellow brethren, to one another.

If we do all of these, then surely our faith will become stronger, and we will draw closer to God, and we will not suffer the same fate as Judas, who had rejected the Lord and chose the tempting hold of wealth and worldly possessions instead of the Lord. Let us all enter the most holy of all times and seasons with heart filled with love and also with understanding, of the ultimate loving sacrifice that Jesus our Lord had given us from the cross, and thus strive to show the same love to all, to God and to our brethren alike. May God bless us all, and be with us, now and forevermore. Amen.