Tuesday, 9 May 2017 : 4th Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
John 10 : 22-30

At that time, the time came for the Feast of the Dedication. It was winter, and Jesus walked back and forth in the portico of Solomon. The Jews then gathered around Him and said to Him, “How long will You keep us in doubt? If You are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

Jesus answered, “I have already told you, but you do not believe. The works I do in My Father’s Name proclaim Who I am, but you do not believe because, as I said, you are not My sheep. My sheep hear My voice and I know them; they follow Me and I give them eternal life.”

“They shall never perish, and no one will ever steal them from Me. What the Father has given Me is above everything else, and no one can snatch it from out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are One.”

Tuesday, 9 May 2017 : 4th Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White
Psalm 86 : 1-3, 4-5, 6-7

He Himself has built it in His holy mountain; the Lord prefers the gates of Zion to all of Jacob’s towns. Great things have been foretold of you, o city of God.

Between friends we speak of Egypt and Babylon; and also Philistia, Tyre, Ethiopia : “Here so-and-so was born.” But of Zion it shall be said, “More and more are being born in her.” For the Most High Himself has founded her.

And the Lord notes in the people’s register : “All these were also born in Zion.” And all will dance and sing joyfully for You.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017 : 4th Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Acts 11 : 19-26

Those who had been scattered because of the persecution over Stephen travelled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, telling the message, but only to the Jews. But there were some natives of Cyprus and Cyrene among them who, on coming into Antioch, spoke also to the Greeks, giving them the Good News of the Lord Jesus. The hand of the Lord was with them so that a great number believed and turned to the Lord.

News of this reached the ears of the Church in Jerusalem, so they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw the manifest signs of God’s favour, he rejoiced and urged them all to remain firmly faithful to the Lord; for he himself was a good man filled with Holy Spirit and faith. Thus large crowds came to know the Lord.

Then Barnabas went off to Tarsus to look for Saul and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they had meetings with the Church and instructed many people. It was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians.

Monday, 8 May 2017 : 4th Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, following the celebrations yesterday of the Good Shepherd Sunday, the fourth Sunday in the season of Easter, today’s Gospel continue speaking about the Lord as our Good Shepherd, as the One Who cares for us and loves us so tenderly, that He is a loving Shepherd to us, desiring nothing else but our redemption and reconciliation with Him.

He has chosen us all His beloved people, by calling us to Himself, like a shepherd calling upon his sheep to gather to him. A shepherd knows all of his sheep, and it is often that each of them has a way to identify each one of them, by their appearances, by marks, or by assigning names to them. In that way, he would know if any of them are not around or are lost from him.

The sheep know their shepherd, and they will only follow him. If another person is to come and call them, they will not follow the stranger. Yet, it is possible indeed for the sheep to be led astray at times, and they become lost. In this, we see the reality about ourselves, how all of us, each of whom belonging to the Lord’s own flock, as He is our Shepherd, can be lost to Him through sin.

The devil has lured us all through his lies and falsehoods, empty and sweet words, filled with false promises, which however sound very alluring and attractive to us. Just as when he tempted our ancestors, Adam and Eve, who got attracted to his lies, and therefore disobeyed God and sinned. And ever since then, Satan, the devil, has worked busily day and night, all the time, trying to lure us away from God’s salvation.

This therefore bring us to the need to realise the fact that in this world, there are still many lost sheep out there, the people who have been separated from God and the rest of His flock. There are still a lot of people who have not yet known the love of God, and are still either ignorant or unaware of His love, His ways and His teachings. And there are many people who have lived in a state of sin, doing things that disobey the will of God, and therefore causing them to be separated further and further from God.

That was what happened at the time of Jesus and His Apostles as well. At that time, the revelation of the truth of God was limited mostly to the Jewish people, the descendants of the people of God, whom He had chosen from among the children of Abraham. However, there were numerous other peoples, originating from various other nations, cultures, races and languages, who have not yet believed in God, and indeed had not yet heard of His salvation.

And because the Lord loves every single one of us mankind, without any exception, for He is our loving God and Creator, and because as our Shepherd, He is the Lord and Master over all of us, even the greatest of sinners, therefore, He does not want any of us to be lost to Him. And as such, He calls everyone to Him, to turn themselves away from their sinfulness, and find their way to Him.

But such is the difficulty of accomplishing the task, that it requires all of our combined efforts in order to make sure that this can succeed. For what is at stake is none other than, and nothing less than the fate of the souls of mankind, the souls of our own brothers and sisters. And the Apostles and disciples had been given the commandment to spread the Good News and the truth to the whole world, that the light of Christ may come to all the peoples, of all races, languages, and origins.

And we are their successors, continuing the good works they had started. We must not falter in our efforts to evangelise, not just by mere words and proclamations, but more importantly, also through action, just as the Lord, our Good Shepherd has shown us His love by dying on the cross for us. We too, therefore, should become shepherds for one another, helping each other on our way to the Lord.

Let us all keep ourselves faithful and true to the faith we have in God. Let us help guide each other on the way of the faith, so that none of us will be lost to the temptations of the devil, but will remain true in faith in all the things we say and do, in our whole lives. May God bless us all, now and forever. Amen.

Monday, 8 May 2017 : 4th Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
John 10 : 11-18

Jesus said to His disciples, “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep. Not so the hired hand, or any other person who is not the shepherd, and to whom the sheep do not belong. They abandon the sheep as soon as they see the wolf coming; then the wolf snatches and scatters the sheep. This is because the hired hand works for pay and cares nothing for the sheep.”

“I am the Good Shepherd. I know My own and My own know Me, as the Father knows Me and I know the Father. Because of this, I give My life for My sheep. I have other sheep which are not of this fold. These I have to lead as well, and they shall listen to My voice. Then there will be one flock, since there is one Shepherd.”

“The Father loves Me, because I lay down My life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down freely. It is Mine to lay down and to take up again : this mission I received from My Father.”

Monday, 8 May 2017 : 4th Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White
Psalm 41 : 2-3 and Psalm 42 : 3, 4

As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for You, o God.

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I go and see the face of God?

Send forth Your light and Your truth; let them be my guide, let them take me to Your holy mountain, to the place where You reside.

Then will I go to the Altar of God, to God, my gladness and delight. I will praise You with the lyre an harp, o God, my God.

Monday, 8 May 2017 : 4th Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Acts 11 : 1-18

News came to the Apostles and the brothers and sisters in Judea that even foreigners had received the Word of God. So, when Peter went up to Jerusalem, these Jewish believers began to argue with him, “You went to the home of uncircumcised people and ate with them!”

So Peter began to give them the facts as they had happened, “I was at prayer in the city of Joppa when, in a trance, I saw a vision. Something like a large sheet came down from the sky and drew near to me, landing on the ground by its four corners. As I stared at it, I saw four-legged creatures of the earth, wild beasts and reptiles, and birds of the sky.”

“Then I heard a voice saying to me : ‘Get up, Peter, kill and eat!’ I replied, ‘Certainly not, Lord! No common or unclean creature has ever entered my mouth.’ A second time the voice from the heavens spoke, ‘What God has made clean, you must not call unclean.’ This happened three times, and then it was all drawn up into the sky. At that moment three men, who had been sent to me from Caesarea, arrived at the house where we were staying.”

“The Spirit instructed me to go with them without hesitation; so these six brothers came along with me and we entered into the man’s house. He told us how he had seen an Angel standing in his house and telling him : ‘Send someone to Joppa and fetch Simon, also known as Peter. He will bring you a message by which you and all your household will be saved.”

“I had begun to address them when suddenly the Holy Spirit came upon them, just as it had come upon us at the beginning. Then I remembered what the Lord had said : ‘John baptised with water, but you shall be baptised with the Holy Spirit.’ If, then, God had given them the same gift that He had given us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to resist God?”

When they heard this they set their minds at rest and praised God saying, “Then God has granted life-giving repentance to the pagan nations as well.”