Monday, 15 May 2017 : 5th Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
John 14 : 21-26

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Whoever keeps My commandments is the one who loves Me. If he loves Me, he will also be loved by My Father; I too shall love him and show Myself clearly to him.”

Judas – not Judas Iscariot – asked Jesus, “Lord, how can it be that You will show Yourself clearly to us and not to the world!” Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word and My Father will love him; and We will come to him and make a room in his home.”

“But if anyone does not love Me, he will not keep My words; and these words that you hear are not Mine, but the Father’s Who sent Me. I told you all this while I was still with you. From now on the Helper, the Holy Spirit Whom the Father will send in My Name, will teach you all things, and remind you of all that I have told you.”

Monday, 15 May 2017 : 5th Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White
Psalm 113B : 1-2, 3-4, 15-16

Not to us, o Lord, not to us, but to Your Name be the glory, for the sake of Your love and faithfulness. Why should the pagans say, “Where is their God?”

There in heaven is our God; whatever He wishes, He does. Not so the hand-made idols, crafted in silver and gold.

May you be blessed by the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth. Heaven belongs to the Lord, but the earth He has given to humans.

Monday, 15 May 2017 : 5th Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Acts 14 : 5-18

A move was made by pagans and Jews, together with their leaders, to harm the Apostles and to stone them. But Paul and Barnabas learnt of this and fled to Lycaonian towns of Lystra and Derbe and to the surrounding countryside, where they continued preaching the Good News.

Paul and Barnabas spent a fairly long time at Lystra. There was a crippled man in Lystra who had never been able to stand or walk. One day, as he was listening to the preaching, Paul looked intently at him and saw that he had the faith to be saved. So he spoke to him in a loud voice, “In the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I command you to stand up on your feet!” And the man stood up and began to walk around.

When the people saw what Paul had done, they cried out in the language of Lycaonia, “The gods have come to us in human likeness!” They named Barnabas Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes, since he was the chief speaker. Even the priest of the Temple of Zeus, which stood outside the town, brought oxen and garlands to the gate; together with the people, he wanted to offer sacrifice to them.

When Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their garment to show their indignation and rushed into the crowd, shouting, “Friends, why are you doing this? We are human beings with the same weakness you have and we are now telling you to turn away from these useless things to the living God Who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and all that is in them.”

“In past generations He allowed each nation to go its own way, though He never stopped making Himself known; for He is continually doing good, giving you rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, providing you with food and filling your hearts with gladness.”

Even these words could hardly keep the crowd from offering sacrifice to them.

Sunday, 14 May 2017 : Fifth Sunday of Easter, Feast of St. Matthias, Apostle (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Sunday, the fifth in the season of Easter, it happens that we also celebrate the feast of one of the Holy Apostles, that is St. Matthias the Apostle, who was not originally counted among the Twelve Apostles, but was added to their number in order to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus our Lord.

In the first reading today, we have also heard about the decision by the Apostles to choose from among the faithful, seven holy men, filled with the Holy Spirit, in order to serve as the new order of Christian Deacons, which was the moment of the foundation of the diaconate. The deacons were meant to serve the people of God, the community of the faithful, by complementing the works of the Apostles, who were indeed the priests newly appointed by God, given the authority to forgive sins, and to transform the bread and wine offered to the Lord into the very essence and reality of the Most Precious Body and Blood of our Lord Himself.

And in the second reading today, taken from the first Epistle written by St. Peter, the first Pope and leader of the Church, we heard about how all of us Christians have been called by God, to become living stones, meaning to become living temples of the Lord’s Most Holy Presence, for He has called us out of the darkness into the light, in order to become His disciples, and He has given us Himself, His own Body and Blood to be eaten and consumed, and thus, He Himself dwells in each and every one of us.

And He has revealed all about God’s love to us, how God has sent us His own beloved Son, Jesus Christ, that through Him, and by all those who believed in Him, all will be made worthy of the Lord, and be forgiven of all their sins, provided that they are willing to be forgiven. This is what the Lord intended for us mankind, His desire that all of us should be reconciled with Him, and saved from eternal damnation in hell, which was our fate.

Thus, after hearing all of these passages from the Scriptures, keeping in mind what the Apostles, the disciples of the Lord, the deacons had done for the sake of the Church, and what each of us as Christians had received from the Lord, it is time for us all to reflect on what being a Christian and being a member of the Church which Christ our Lord had established in this world mean for us.

What is the mission of the Church, and indeed what is our mission, our responsibility as part of God’s Church? What is it that we need to do so that we may be able to actively take part in the works of the Church? The primary mission of the Church is the salvation of all the souls of all mankind, that no one, not a single one of us mankind, children of God, should have to perish in hell because of our sins and wickedness.

The Church is the manifestation of God’s love, which He had made evident and real to us through Jesus Christ, our Lord, by His suffering and death on the cross, and then by His glorious resurrection from the dead. It was His triumphant victory over death, over the chains of sin and evil that bound us mankind to suffering and death, which had become the foundation of the Church He established and entrusted on the Apostles He had called.

Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ, God had entrusted to all of us in His Church, the mission to deliver the truth He had revealed to His Apostles, and thus to all of us, that if mankind are to believe in Him, have faith in Him, and put their trust in Him, then they shall not falter any more, and sin and evil will no longer have any dominion or power over them. For just as the Lord had conquered sin, evil and death, He will also liberate all those who have put themselves in Him from all these, and lead them into the eternal life and glory He had promised them.

But there are still many people out there who have not yet heard of God’s love and mercy, of His desire to forgive them from their sins and wickedness, and they continue to live in ignorance of God and His truth. They continue to live in a state of sin, and if nothing is done, the devil and his allies will then be victorious over them, as they will be successful in dragging these souls into hell, for their failure to repent from their sins.

And there are also many others who have drifted away from the Lord, even many of those who were once counted among the faithful ones. There are indeed in reality, many Christians who are no longer regularly attending the celebrations of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, coming to the church only in the festive moments of Christmas and Easter, or certain feast days, instead of regularly attending and participating in the Holy Mass as is necessary.

And there are even more of those who have stopped coming to the Holy Mass altogether, and those who have stopped believing in God. Thus, after coming to realisation of this reality, all of us must do our best to help these brethren of ours who are in need of our help. It is often that our actions in life are not representative of what we believe in Christians, and it is often this that had prevented many more people from coming to believe in God.

Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ. How are we supposed to make people believe in God and accept the Lord Jesus as their Saviour, if we ourselves as Christians fight among ourselves, and are involved in numerous immoral and unjust acts? How can people believe in what we preach to them, if we ourselves do not do as we have believed? Then we are no better than the Pharisees, whom the Lord Jesus Himself had criticised as those who preached well, but did not practice what they preached, and thus told the people to listen to them, but not follow their practices.

Let us all therefore, from now on, renew our commitment to the Lord, by putting our greatest effort to live faithfully as Christians, devoting our time and effort to serve Him with zeal, and by practicing love and grace in our daily actions. We must be true Christians through our actions, that we should show love to the unloved, to those who have been rejected by others, and show mercy to our enemies and those who have wronged us.

Let us all be exemplary in our actions, and do whatever we can as members and parts of the Church of God, devoting our time and effort, walking in the footsteps of the holy deacons, the Apostles, St. Matthias and his fellow disciples of the Lord, so that many more people may come to be saved through our efforts, and all of us may rejoice together as one people, in the loving presence of our God. Amen.

Sunday, 14 May 2017 : Fifth Sunday of Easter, Feast of St. Matthias, Apostle (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
John 14 : 1-12

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Do not be troubled! Trust in God and trust in Me! In My Father’s house there are many rooms; otherwise, I would not have told you that I go to prepare a place for you. After I have gone and prepared a place for you, I shall come again and take you to Me, so that where I am, you also may be. Yet you know the way where I am going.”

Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. If you know Me, you will know the Father also; indeed you know Him, and you have seen Him.”

Philip asked Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and that is enough.” Jesus said to him, “What! I have been with you so long and you still do not know Me, Philip? Whoever sees Me sees the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me?”

“All that I say to you, I do not say of Myself. The Father Who dwells in Me is doing His own work. Believe Me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; at least believe it on the evidence of these works that I do. Truly, I say to you, the one who believes in Me will do the same works that I do; and he will even do greater than these, for I am going to the Father.”

Sunday, 14 May 2017 : Fifth Sunday of Easter, Feast of St. Matthias, Apostle (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
1 Peter 2 : 4-9

He is the living Stone rejected by people but chosen by God and precious to Him; set yourselves close to Him so that you, too, become living stones built into a spiritual temple, a holy community of priests offering spiritual sacrifices that please God through Jesus Christ.

Scripture says : See, I lay in Zion a chosen and precious Cornerstone; whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed. This means honour for you who believed, but for unbelievers also the stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone and it is a stone to stumble over, a rock which lays people low. They stumble over it in rejecting the Word, but the plan of God is fulfilled in this.

You are a chosen race, a community of priest-kings, a consecrated nation, a people God has made His own to proclaim His wonders. For He called you from your darkness to His own wonderful light.

Sunday, 14 May 2017 : Fifth Sunday of Easter, Feast of St. Matthias, Apostle (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White
Psalm 32 : 1-2, 4-5, 18-19

Rejoice in the Lord, you who are just, praise is fitting for the upright. Give thanks to Him on the harp and lyre, making melody and chanting praises.

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.