Tuesday, 18 April 2017 : Tuesday within Easter Octave (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
John 20 : 11-18

At that time, Mary stood weeping outside the tomb; and as she wept, she bent down to look inside. She saw two Angels in white, sitting where the Body of Jesus had been, one at the head, and the other at the feet. They said, “Woman, why are you weeping?”

She answered, “Because they have taken my Lord and I do not know where they have put Him.” As she said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not recognise Him. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?”

She thought it was the gardener and answered Him, “Lord, if You have taken Him away, tell me where You have put Him, and I will go and remove Him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned, and said to Him, “Rabboni!” – which means Master. Jesus said to her, “Do not touch Me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to My brothers and say to them : I am ascending to My Father, Who is your Father, to My God, Who is your God.”

So Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord, and this is what He said to me.”

Tuesday, 18 April 2017 : Tuesday within Easter Octave (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White
Psalm 32 : 4-5, 18-19, 20 and 22

For upright is the Lord’s word and worthy of trust is His work. The Lord loves justice and righteousness; the earth is full of His kindness.

But the Lord’s eyes are upon those who fear Him, upon those who trust in His loving-kindness to deliver them from death and preserve them from famine.

In hope we wait for the Lord for He is our help and our shield. O Lord, let Your love rest upon us, even as our hope rests in You.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017 : Tuesday within Easter Octave (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Acts 2 : 36-41

Peter said, “Let Israel then know for sure that God has made Lord and Christ this Jesus Whom you crucified.” When they heard this, they were deeply troubled. And they asked Peter and the other Apostles, “What shall we do, brothers?”

Peter answered : “Each of you must repent and be baptised in the Name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins may be forgiven. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise of God was made to you and your children, and to all those from afar whom our God may call.”

With many other words Peter gave the message and appealed to them saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who accepted his word were baptised; some three thousand persons were added to their numbers that day.

Monday, 17 April 2017 : Monday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, as we enter the blessed and holy season of Easter, all of us are called to the joy and the bliss of living in the knowledge, knowing that Christ our Lord had died for us and then rose again in glory, for the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is central to our faith, and without the resurrection, then our faith would have been meaningless and empty, since we all then would have believed in a Man Who died and that was all.

But as we all know, we believe in the Son of God Who died for our sake, and Who was buried in the tomb, for in His humanity, He had laid down His divinity and allowed Himself to suffer and die for our sake, and therefore, we all have hope, and that hope came about because Christ rose from the dead, breaking forever the chains of death, showing all of us that death will not have the final say over us, just as it did not have the final say and authority over Jesus, our Risen Lord and Saviour.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore we all now have that hope, the hope that the Lord will bring us to His eternal glory and salvation, no longer bound by the chains of sin, because we have believed in Him, the Lord of life and death, and wholeheartedly placed our trust in Him. Yet, as we can see, in the Gospel passage today, that there were still those people who refused to believe in God and in His truth, as the Pharisees and the chief priests had done.

They had not believed in the Lord’s resurrection from the dead, just as they refused to believe in Him when He was still walking about them and teaching in their midst. They had hardened their hearts and no matter what happened, God’s truth had been sundered from their hearts and minds. That was why they persisted in opposing the Lord by spreading lies and misinformation that the disciples of Jesus had come and stolen the Body of Jesus while the guards were asleep, in order to discredit the resurrection of the Lord.

There were those who believed in the untruth, and there were those who were swayed to persecute all those who believed in the resurrection. And yet, the disciples of the Lord did not remain quiet for long. Initially, they were indeed afraid of the oppression of the Jewish leaders and elders, who had made it forbidden to teach and preach in the Name of Jesus the Lord and Messiah. However, the Holy Spirit that God granted to all of His faithful ones had given a new courage in their hearts, a new joy, the great and true joy of Easter, that no fear or evil could overcome.

That was why in the first reading, the Apostle St. Peter, in accordance to the Acts of the Apostles spoke to the multitudes of people gathered in Jerusalem, preaching witness and truth about the Lord Who came to redeem His people, Who had died because of their sins, and yet, rose again in glory in accordance with what had been foretold in the Scriptures by the prophets and the messengers of God.

He spoke courageously to the people, who heard from his witness of how the Lord Jesus had delivered them all by His death and His resurrection from the dead, as the perfect fulfilment of God’s promise and plans, the truth which the chief priests and the elders refused to believe in. They were warned not to teach in the Name of the Lord, and yet, braving through opposition and challenges, they preached about Him regardless, calling many people to repentance and to baptism in the Name of the Lord.

And thus was how the Church of God was established, by the witnesses of the Lord who bravely preached His truth to the people who had not yet known of God and His ways. Had the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord preferred to remain in safety and hid within the comfort of their homes and obeyed the commands of the chief priests and the elders, they would not have spoken out about the Lord Jesus as they had done, and consequently, countless souls would not have been saved. All would have perished, not having heard the word of God’s salvation.

This brings us all to the reality of our participation in the Church today, brothers and sisters in Christ. Each and every one of us as Christians are called to be light of the world just as our Lord Jesus Christ is the Light of the world. We reflect and shine together with the beauty and brightness of God’s light, through which many people will see the light of God through us. By our actions and deeds, by our courageous acts, all done in the Name of the Lord, we shall help many more on their way towards God and His salvation.

May the Lord bless us all, and may He strengthen each and every one of us in our faith, so that we may become ever more faithful and worthy disciples of His, enlightened with the Light of Christ and bearing upon ourselves the great and true joy of Easter. May the Lord be with us all. Amen.

Monday, 17 April 2017 : Monday within Easter Octave (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Matthew 28 : 8-15

At that time, the woman left the tomb at once in fear, yet with great joy, and they ran to tell the news to Jesus’ disciples. Suddenly, He met them on the way and said, “Rejoice!” The women approached Him, embraced His feet and worshipped Him. But Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid! Go and tell My brothers to set out for Galilee; there they will see Me.”

While the women were on their way, the guards returned to the city, and some of them reported to the chief priests all that had happened. The chief priests met with the elders, and decided to give the soldiers a large sum of money, with this instruction, “Say that His disciples came by night while you were asleep, and stole the Body of Jesus. If Pilate comes to know of this, we will explain the situation and keep you out of trouble.”

The soldiers accepted the money and did as they were told. This story has circulated among the Jews until this day.

Monday, 17 April 2017 : Monday within Easter Octave (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White
Psalm 15 : 1-2a and 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11

Keep me safe, o God, for in You I take refuge. I say to the Lord, “O Lord, my inheritance and my cup, my chosen portion – hold secure my lot.”

I bless the Lord Who counsels me; even at night my inmost self instructs me. I keep the Lord always before me; for with Him at my right hand, I will never be shaken.

My heart, therefore, exults, my soul rejoices; my body too will rest assured. For You will not abandon my soul to the grave, nor will You suffer Your Holy One to see decay in the land of the dead.

You will show me the path of life, in Your presence the fullness of joy, at Your right hand happiness forever.

Monday, 17 April 2017 : Monday within Easter Octave (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Acts 2 : 14, 22-33

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven and, with a loud voice, addressed them, “Fellow Jews and all foreigners now staying in Jerusalem, listen to what I have to say. Fellow Israelites, listen to what I am going to tell you about Jesus of Nazareth. God accredited Him and through Him did powerful deeds and wonders and signs in your midst, as you well know.”

“You delivered Him to sinners to be crucified and killed, and in this way the purpose of God from all times was fulfilled. But God raised Him to life and released Him from the pain of death, because it was impossible for Him to be held in the power of death. David spoke of Him when He said : I saw the Lord before me at all times; He is by my side, that I may not be shaken.”

“Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue rejoiced; my body too will live in hope. Because You will not forsake me in the abode of the dead, nor allow Your Holy One to experience corruption. You have made known to me the paths of life, and Your presence will fill me with joy.”

“Friends, I do not need to prove that the patriarch David died and was buried; his tomb is with us to this day. But he knew that God had sworn to him that One of his descendants would sit upon his throne and, as he was a prophet, he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah. So he said that He would not be left in the region of the dead, nor would His Body experience corruption.

This Messiah is Jesus and we are all witnesses that God raised Him to life. He has been exalted at God’s right side and the Father has entrusted the Holy Spirit to Him; this Spirit He has just poured upon us as you now see and hear.