Friday, 5 May 2017 : 3rd Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
John 6 : 52-59

At that time, the Jews were arguing among themselves, “How can this Man give us flesh to eat?” So Jesus replied, “Truly, I say to you, if you do not eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood, you have no life in you. The one who eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood lives eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

“My Flesh is really food, and My Blood is truly drink. Those who eat My Flesh and drink My Blood, lives in Me, and I in them. Just as the Father, Who is life, sent Me, and I have life from the Father, so whoever eats Me will have life from Me. This is the Bread which came from heaven; not like that of your ancestors, who ate and later died. Those who eat this Bread will live forever.”

Jesus spoke in this way in Capernaum when He taught them in the synagogue.

Friday, 5 May 2017 : 3rd Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White
Psalm 116 : 1, 2

Alleluia! Praise the Lord, all you nations; all you peoples, praise Him.

How great is His love for us! His faithfulness lasts forever.

Friday, 5 May 2017 : 3rd Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Acts 9 : 1-20

Meanwhile Saul considered nothing but violence and death for the disciples of the Lord. He went to the High Priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues of Damascus that would authorise him to arrest and bring to Jerusalem anyone he might find, man or woman, belonging to the Way.

As he travelled along and was approaching Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul! Why do you persecute me?” And he asked, “Who are You, Lord?” The voice replied, “I am Jesus Whom you persecute. Now get up and go into the city; there you will be told what you are to do.”

The men who were travelling with him stood there speechless : they had heard the sound, but could see no one. Saul got up from the ground and, opening his eyes, he could not see. They took him by the hand and brought him to Damascus. He was blind and he did not eat or drink for three days.

There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias, to whom the Lord called in a vision, “Ananias!” He answered, “Here I am, Lord!” Then the Lord said to him, “Go at once to Straight Street and ask, at the house of Judas, for a man of Tarsus named Saul. You will find him praying, for he has just seen in a vision that a man named Ananias has come in and placed his hands upon him, to restore his sight.”

Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man and all the harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem, and now he is here with authority from the High Priest to arrest all who call upon Your Name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go! This man is My chosen instrument to bring My Name to the pagan nations and their kings, and the people of Israel as well. I Myself will show him how much he will have to suffer for My Name.”

So Ananias left and went to the house. He laid his hands upon Saul and said, “Saul, my brother, the Lord Jesus, Who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me to you so that you may receive your sight and be filled with Holy Spirit.” Immediately something like scales fell from his eyes and he could see; he got up and was baptised. Then he took food and was strengthened.

For several days Saul stayed with the disciples at Damascus, and he soon began to proclaim in the synagogues that Jesus was the Son of God.

Thursday, 4 May 2017 : 3rd Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture speaking about the conversion of the Ethiopian official, who heard the truth about Jesus Christ the Saviour of the world, touched in his heart, and therefore, asked to be baptised by St. Philip the Apostle, who explained the meaning of the Word to him.

In the Gospel today, then we heard about Jesus Who spoke to the people who followed Him, after He had fed them with bread, at the breaking of the five loaves and two fishes, that more than five thousand men, and many more women and children were filled to satisfaction with much food to spare. Many of the people followed Jesus because He fed them with food, and this was a reminder of the manna which God Himself gave to the Israelites as they journeyed through the desert to the Promised Land.

But Jesus showed the people that all the bread that they have received, and all the manna, even as bread from heaven that their ancestors had received and ate, all of these were not true fulfilment for them. All these physical nourishment and food satisfy the body and give strength to mankind, but they did not give true life to them. Instead, Jesus revealed that He Himself is the true Bread from Heaven, through which God bestowed on the world the fullness of life.

It is through Christ, and the generous giving of His own Flesh and Blood, which Jesus our Lord offered freely for the salvation of our souls, that all of us mankind have received the promise of salvation and the hope of eternal life. For He is the Divine Word of God, through which God had willed the whole creation into being, as the Book of Genesis told it, how God created the whole universe by just willing it into being through His Word.

And the same Word of God became incarnate into Man, taking up the humble flesh and blood of mankind, to walk amongst us and be one like us in Jesus Christ. And He has come into this world bearing the truth of God, and all who listened and believed in Him became His disciples. In the same manner, the Word of God, the truth of Jesus Christ had been delivered by St. Philip to the official of the Ethiopian Queen, and the Word dwelled in the heart of the official, and sealed by the sacrament of baptism, he was saved.

That was what had happened to all of us Christians as well. We have received the truth of the Lord Jesus Christ, His ways and teachings, by the teachings and the traditions of our faith passed down to us through the Church, via our priests and bishops, who faithfully kept the same teachings that the Lord had passed onto His Apostles and disciples, the same truth and teachings as St. Philip preached to the Ethiopian official.

But even more than all these, we all have received the very Body and Blood of our Lord Himself, in the Most Holy Eucharist, the greatest and most precious of all God’s gifts for us. At the Last Supper He had with His disciples, He broke the bread just as He had done when He fed the five thousand men and more, but He did something even more extraordinary at that supper. He gave them the bread, that had been transformed into His own Body, and the wine, which had been transformed into His own Blood.

Yes, this is what all of us believe, that the Lord has given us His own Body and Blood as the perfect spiritual food, the true Bread of Heaven, and the Bread of Life as He had mentioned. The bread and the wine that we use in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass may seem to appear as bread and wine, but in reality, in essence and all, the bread and wine had been completely transformed in reality and substance into the Most Precious Body and Blood, the very Holy Presence of our Lord Himself.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, now that we realise how God is living in us, dwelling in us, let us all reflect this reality and think of what we can do from now on in order to worthily be able to follow the Lord as His disciples, as those upon whom He had shown His favour and love. Let us remember that God has loved us so much, that He was willing to give it all for our sake, even to die on the cross for us, and to bear the burden of our sins.

What is it then that all of us must do? It is by remembering what the Apostle St. Philip had done, in revealing the truth of God and teaching it to the Ethiopian official. In our time today, there are still many people who have not yet known about God, or indeed they knew about Him, but they distanced themselves from Him, because they did not know Him, or worse still, they knew Him, but kept themselves away from Him because of the actions of Christians that scandalised God and made people to refuse to believe in Him.

Therefore, in all of our actions, in everything that we say and do, we must make sure that we truly live a Christian life, in all we act, so that by showing our mercy to the poor and the sick, by showing our love, care and concern for those who are rejected by others, to those who have been unloved, we may inspire more people to believe in God, not because of what we have said or taught them alone, but also through our own actions in life.

May the Lord empower all of us to become ever better disciples of His, and give us the strength and perseverance to walk in His ways, and become a people worthy of the Lord and His love. May the Lord bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

Thursday, 4 May 2017 : 3rd Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
John 6 : 44-51

At that time, Jesus said to the Jews, “No one can come to Me unless he is drawn by the Father Who sent Me; and I will raise Him up on the last day. It has been written in the Prophets : They shall all be taught by God. So whoever listens and learns from the Father comes to Me.”

“For no one has seen the Father except the One Who comes from God; He has seen the Father. Truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the Bread of Life. Though your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, they died. But here you have the Bread which comes from heaven, so that you may eat of it, and not die.”

“I am the Living Bread which as come from heaven; whoever eats of this Bread will live forever. The Bread I shall give is My flesh, and I will give it for the life of the world.”

Thursday, 4 May 2017 : 3rd Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White
Psalm 65 : 8-9, 16-17, 20

Praise our God, o nations, let the sound of His praise be heard, for He has preserved us among the living and kept our feet from stumbling.

All you who fear God, come and listen; let me tell you what He has done. I cried aloud to Him, extolling Him with my tongue.

May God be blessed! He has not rejected my prayer; nor withheld His love from me.

Thursday, 4 May 2017 : 3rd Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Acts 8 : 26-40

An Angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south towards the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, the desert road.” So he set out and it happened that an Ethiopian was passing along that way. He was an official in charge of the treasury of the queen of the Ethiopians; he had come on pilgrimage to Jerusalem and was on his way home. He was sitting in his carriage and reading the prophet Isaiah.

The Spirit said to Philip, “Go and catch up with that carriage.” So Philip ran up and heard the man reading the prophet Isaiah; and he asked, “Do you really understand what you are reading?” The Ethiopian replied, “How can I, unless someone explains it to me?” He then invited Philip to get in and sit beside him.

This was the passage of Scripture he was reading : He was led like a sheep to be slaughtered; like a lamb that is dumb before the shearer, He did not open His mouth. He was humbled and deprived of His rights. Who can speak of His descendants? For He was uprooted from the earth.

The official asked Philip, “Tell me, please, does the prophet speak of himself or of Someone else?” Then Philip began to tell him the Good News of Jesus, using this text of Scripture as his starting point. As they travelled down the road they came to a place where there was some water. Then the Ethiopian official said, “Look, here is water; what is to keep me from being baptised?”

And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” Then he ordered the carriage to stop; both Philip and the Ethiopian went down into the water and Philip baptised him. When they came out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord took Philip away. The Ethiopian saw him no more, but he continued on his way full of joy.

Philip found himself at Azotus, and he went about announcing the Good News in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.