Wednesday, 19 April 2017 : Wednesday within Easter Octave, Twelfth Anniversary of the Pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI, Vicar of Christ, Bishop of Rome, Supreme Pontiff and Leader of the Universal Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Luke 24 : 13-35

At that time, on the same day Jesus rose from the dead, two followers of Jesus were going to Emmaus, a village seven miles from Jerusalem, and they talked about what had happened. While they were talking and arguing about what had happened, Jesus came up and walked with them. But their eyes were not able to recognise Him.

He asked, “What is it you are talking about?” The two stood still, looking sad. Then the one named Cleophas answered, “Why, it seems You are the only traveller to Jerusalem who does not know what haw happened there these past few days.” And He asked, “What is it?”

They replied, “It is about Jesus of Nazareth. He was a Prophet, You know, mighty in word and deed before God and the people. But the chief priests and our rulers sentenced Him to death. They handed Him over to be crucified. We had hoped that He would redeem Israel. It is now the third day since all this took place.”

“It is also true that some women of our group have disturbed us. When they went to the tomb at dawn, they did not find His Body; and they came and told us that they had had a vision of Angels, who said that Jesus was alive. Some of our people went to the tomb and found everything just as the women had said, but they did not find a Body in the tomb.”

He said to them, “How dull you are, how slow of understanding! Is the message of the prophets too difficult for you to understand? Is it not written that the Christ should suffer all this, and then enter His glory?” Then starting with Moses, and going through the prophets, He explained to them everything in the Scriptures concerning Himself.

As they drew near the village they were heading for, Jesus made as if to go farther. But they prevailed upon Him, “Stay with us, for night comes quickly. The day is now almost over.” So He went in to stay with them. When they were at table, He took the bread, said a blessing, broke it, and gave each a piece.

Then their eyes were opened, and they recognised Him; but He vanished out of their sight. And they said to one another, “Were not our hearts filled with ardent yearning when He was talking to us on the road and explaining the Scriptures?” They immediately set out and returned to Jerusalem.

There they found the Eleven and their companions gathered together. They were greeted by these words : “Yes, it is true, the Lord is risen! He has appeared to Simon!” Then the two told what had happened on the road to Emmaus, and how Jesus had made Himself known, when He broke bread with them.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017 : Wednesday within Easter Octave, Twelfth Anniversary of the Pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI, Vicar of Christ, Bishop of Rome, Supreme Pontiff and Leader of the Universal Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White
Psalm 104 : 1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9

Give thanks to the Lord, call on His Name; make known His works among the nations. Sing to Him, sing His praise, proclaim all His wondrous deeds.

Glory in His holy Name; let those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and be strong; seek His face always.

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.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017 : Wednesday within Easter Octave, Twelfth Anniversary of the Pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI, Vicar of Christ, Bishop of Rome, Supreme Pontiff and Leader of the Universal Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Acts 3 : 1-10

Once when Peter and John were going up to the Temple at three in the afternoon, the hour for prayer, a man crippled from birth was being carried in. Every day they would bring him and put him at the Temple gate called “Beautiful”; there he begged from those who entered the Temple.

When he saw Peter and John on their way into the Temple, he asked for alms. Then Peter with John at his side looked straight at him and said, “Look at us.” So he looked at them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have neither silver nor gold, but what I have I give you : In the Name of Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, walk!”

Then he took the beggar by his right hand and helped him up. At once his feet and ankles became firm, and jumping up he stood on his feet and began to walk. And he went with them into the Temple walking and leaping and praising God. All the people saw him walking and praising God; they recognised him as the one who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple, and they were all astonished and amazed at what had happened to him.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017 : Tuesday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard how Jesus comforted Mary Magdalene, who wept when she saw that the Body of her Lord missing from the tomb. She thought that someone had stolen the Body and thus she despaired. To her, the Lord was the One Who had saved her, as it was told by the tradition of our faith that Mary Magdalene was the prostitute who was forgiven by the Lord, and out of whom seven demons were exorcised out.

To her, the loss of her Lord and Master, as she followed Him all the way even to His Passion, suffering and death on the cross, must have been devastating. It was like light itself had been snuffed out and darkness had come to reign over ourselves. It was like when hope itself had been sundered and hidden away from us, and therefore, we despair as Mary Magdalene had despaired.

She was so deep in her anguish and sorrow that she was not able to recognise the Lord Jesus Who appeared before her, and she thought that He was a gardener, and asked Him if He knew where the Body of the Lord had been taken to. But the Lord revealed Himself to her, and Mary Magdalene was so joyful at the sight of her Lord and Saviour, that she shouted with joy, ‘Rabboni!’

This is the joy that Easter brings to all of us. It is a great joy that surpassed the darkness and the despair that had once covered us. The light of Christ has shone through the veil of darkness, and shine in our midst. He has brought us a new hope, that by seeing Him, we all knew that He had conquered death, and death no longer have any power over us, if we cling on to Christ, Who has risen from the dead.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, as we continue to progress through the season of Easter, let us all reflect on the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and what it means to each and every one of us. How do we celebrate Easter, brothers and sisters in Christ? Are we treating is just like any other festivities and celebrations? Are we celebrating it by our traditions and habits such as looking for Easter eggs, or dressing up like Easter bunnies, or by our usual Easter luncheon or dinner, or any other forms of merrymaking and parties?

That is not how we should celebrate Easter. Rather, we should find the true joy of Easter like that of Mary Magdalene. For her, there was no greater joy than seeing her salvation in front of her at Easter, seeing Jesus risen in glory from the dead, and from what was once despair and hopelessness having been transformed into hope and courage. She had been saved from the darkness and brought into the light, and for that, she had rejoiced.

Therefore, for each and every one of us, we should also find our joy in the Lord, by realising that all of us sinners, who have deserved death and damnation, have been rescued from that fate by our Lord, Who have triumphed over death, and showed us that death will not have the final say over us, so long as we believe in Him, and walk in His path.

Let us all therefore endeavour together, to live an upright Christian life with joy and commitment to live our lives with faith, that in all of our words, deeds and actions, we will always be true to our faith and all of us can be considered to be worthy of the Lord and His salvation. May His Easter joy be upon us, and may we all draw ever closer to Him and to His love. God bless us all. Amen.