Saturday, 6 May 2017 : 3rd Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
John 6 : 60-69

At that time, after the Jews heard Jesus, many of His followers said, “This language is very hard! Who can accept it?”

Jesus was aware that His disciples were murmuring about this, and so He said to them, “Does this offend you? Then how will you react when you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before? It is the Spirit that gives life, not the flesh. The words that I have spoken to you are Spirit and they are life. But among you there are some who do not believe.”

From the beginning, Jesus knew who would betray Him. So He added, “As I have told you, no one can come to Me unless it is granted by the Father.” After this many disciples withdrew and no longer followed Him. Jesus asked the Twelve, “Will you also go away?

Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We now believe and know that You are the Holy One of God.”

Saturday, 6 May 2017 : 3rd Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White
Psalm 115 : 12-13, 14-15, 16-17

How can I repay the Lord for all His goodness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the Name of the Lord.

I will fulfil my vows to the Lord in the presence of all His people. It is painful to the Lord to see the death of His faithful.

O Lord, I am Your servant, truly Your servant, Your handmaid’s son. You have freed me from my bonds. I will offer You a thanksgiving sacrifice; I will call on the Name of the Lord.

Saturday, 6 May 2017 : 3rd Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Acts 9 : 31-42

Meanwhile, the Church had peace. It was building up throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria with eyes turned to the Lord and filled with comfort from the Holy Spirit.

As Peter travelled around, he went to visit the saints who lived in Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas who was paralysed, and had been bedridden for eight years. Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; get up and make your bed!”

And the man got up at once. All the people living in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord. There was a disciple in Joppa named Tabitha, which means Dorcas or Gazelle. She was always doing good works and helping the poor. At that time she fell sick and died. After having washed her body, they laid her in the upstairs room.

As Lydda is near Joppa, the disciples, on hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request, “Please come to us without delay.” So Peter went with them. On his arrival they took him upstairs to the room. All the widows crowded around him in tears, showing him the clothes that Dorcas had made while she was with them.

Peter made them them all leave the room and then he knelt down and prayed. Turning to the dead body he said, “Tabitha, stand up.” She opened her eyes, looked at Peter and sat up. Peter gave her his hand and helped her up. Then he called in the saints and widows and presented her to them alive.

This became known throughout all of Joppa and many people believed in the Lord because of it.

Friday, 5 May 2017 : 3rd Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard from the Sacred Scriptures, the passages on the conversion of Saul, once a great enemy of the Church and persecutor of the faithful, who would later on become one of the most faithful and ardent defender of the faith, St. Paul the Apostle. And then we also continue to hear the Lord Jesus speaking of Himself as the Bread of Life, and the giving of His own Body and Blood for the consumption of the faithful.

In all these readings which we have heard and received, we heard how someone who have lived in ignorance and rejection of the truth of the Lord was converted because he came to realise the truth, and in this case it was St. Paul who was touched by the Lord, and came to realise the folly of his past sins and misled zeal, and then came to believe wholeheartedly in the Lord and became His faithful follower.

Jesus revealed Himself to Saul as the One Whom the prophets and the messengers of God had spoken about, the One through Whom God would save all of His people, and this He had done, through none other than by the outpouring of His love, by His act of love on the cross, the greatest singular act of love of all, as He laid down His life for our sake, so that through His death, He might redeem us all mankind from our sins.

He is the Lamb of God, Whose Body had been given for all the faithful, through the bread that He and all of our priests had blessed and transformed into the very essence and reality of His Precious Body, the Lamb of sacrifice that is perfect and unblemished, far greater beyond the lambs that the Israelites ate at their first Passover in Egypt, and beyond the bread of the manna that they ate during their journey in the desert.

The blood of the lambs had been used for the marking of the doorposts of the houses of the Israelites, at the time when God was to send His greatest plague upon Egypt, the plague of death and destruction on all the firstborn sons and children of the Egyptians. All the houses of Israel marked with the blood of the lamb escaped the fated destruction as sent by God throughout the land of Egypt.

And the blood of lambs and bulls were also used to sanctify the people of God, and as a sign of penance and the absolution of sins, as the symbol of the covenant between God and His people. And in the end, God Himself as the true Lamb, shed His own Blood, given to us, through the wine which He Himself had blessed, and which He and all of our priests had transformed into the very essence and reality of His Most Precious Blood.

Through His Most Precious Body and Blood, Christ Himself had come to dwell in each and every one of us who believe in Him, and who place our trust and faith in Him. He has come to redeem us and to free us from our bondage to sin, to open our eyes and allow us to see once again His truth and His light. That was exactly what had happened to Saul as he laid blind for three days in Damascus, unable to see and living in darkness.

That blindness and darkness is a representation of just how wicked and sinful, corrupted and tainted the soul of Saul had been before his conversion. But God did not wish to see him perish in his sins. Instead, the Lord called Saul out of the darkness, and opened his eyes, not just the eyes of his body as Ananias did to him, but also the eyes of his heart and soul.

That was how Saul was transformed completely and thoroughly, being filled anew with a new life blessed by the Holy Spirit, from a creature of darkness and sin, and from a ruthless and terrible enemy of Christ and His Church, into its greatest protector and one of His greatest servants. Such a turnaround is possible because Saul opened himself to God’s love and mercy, and repented from his past sins, and committing himself completely to a new way of life, one that is in accordance with the Lord’s will.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore, today as we reflect on today’s Scripture passages, let us all reflect on our own lives, our actions and deeds in life. Let us all think of how we have carried out our lives thus far, and see if we have allowed God to come to us and transform our lives. He Himself had given His own Body and Blood, as real food and real sustenance, that He is living in each one of us, and becoming the source of our strength. Shall we now then do what He wants us to do?

May the Lord bless our works and give us the strength to commit ourselves to a new life filled with grace, hope and love, that we may do everything in life in accordance with what the Lord had taught us and willed us to do. May He strengthen our faith inside us, that we may always strive to be closer to Him and be more like Him in everything. Amen.