Tuesday, 23 May 2017 : 6th Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
John 16 : 5-11

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “But now I am going to the One Who sent Me, and none of you asks Me where I am going; instead you are overcome with grief, because of what I have said.”

“Believe Me, it is better for you that I go away, because as long as I do not leave, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go away, it is to send Him to you, and when He comes, He will vindicate the truth before a sinful world; and He will vindicate the paths of righteousness and justice.”

“What is the world’s sin, in regard to Me? Disbelief. What is the path of righteousness? It is the path I walk, by which I go to the Father; and you shall see Me no more. What is the path of justice? It is the path on which the prince of this world will always stand condemned.”

Tuesday, 23 May 2017 : 6th Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White
Psalm 137 : 1-2a, 2bc-3, 7c-8

I thank You, o Lord with all my heart, for You have heard the word of my lips. I sing Your praise in the presence of the gods. I bow down towards Your holy Temple and give thanks to Your Name.

For Your love and faithfulness, for Your word which exceeds everything. You answered me when I called; You restored my soul and made me strong.

You save me from the wrath of my foes, with Your right hand You deliver me. How the Lord cares for me! Your kindness, o Lord, endures forever. Forsake not the work of Your hands.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017 : 6th Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Acts 16 : 22-34

So the slave owners of Philippi set the crowd against Paul and Silas and the officials tore the clothes of them and ordered them to be flogged. And after inflicting many blows on them, they threw them into prison, charging the jailer to guard them safely. Upon receiving these instructions, he threw them into the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

About midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly a severe earthquake shook the place, rocking the prison to its foundations. Immediately all the doors flew open and the chains of all the prisoners fell off.

The jailer woke up to see the prison gates wide open. Thinking that the prisoners had escaped, he drew his sword to kill himself, but Paul shouted to him, “Do not harm yourself! We are all still here.” The jailer asked for a light, then rushed in, and fell at the feet of Paul and Silas. After he had secured the other prisoners, he led them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

They answered, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you and your household will be saved.” Then they spoke the word of God to him and to all his household. Even at that hour of the night, the jailer took care of them and washed their wounds; and he and his whole household were baptised at once. He led them to his house, spread a meal before them and joyfully celebrated with his whole household his newfound faith in God.

Monday, 22 May 2017 : 6th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Rita of Cascia, Religious (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, we are all reminded that as Christians, all of us must remain united with the Lord, and we cannot be separated from Him in our faith. We must remain truly and firmly rooted in Him, the One and only True Vine, out of which all truth and graces come from. If we are separated from Him, we shall perish.

That is the fundamental truth which all of us Christians must be aware of, that we have to cling to the truth which the Lord had revealed to us, and He has established a vessel through which all of these can be done, namely through the Church He had founded upon the foundation of the Apostle St. Peter and with the assistance of the other Apostles and disciples of the Lord.

It is through the Church that God had done many of His wonderful works in this world, even though He no longer physically walks among us in this world as He had done at the time when He was still with His Apostles and disciples prior to His Ascension into heaven. Yet, God Who ascended in glory to heaven never left behind His Church and His people, and He is always ever with them through good times and bad times alike.

And as Jesus mentioned in the Gospel today, the world needs to know about our Lord Jesus, about the love which He had shown His Father, our Father and Creator. For Jesus is the Son of God, Who had assumed the flesh of mankind, that by sharing in our humanity, He might show all of us the meaning of true faith and devotion to God, the meaning of perfect obedience and submission to the will of God.

That is the mission which Jesus our Lord had given to His Apostles and disciples, as He entrusted it to them before He ascended in His glory to heaven. This is the primary mission of the Church, the salvation of all souls, that all may be freed from the darkness of their sins and wickedness, and come into the light of the Lord. It is important for us to remember this as we are all parts of the Church, and as the members of God’s Church we have our responsibilities and obligations.

We cannot overlook or ignore this obligation, as without us, then who will be the ones to bear forth the word of God and tell the world of His salvation? It was because of the Apostles and their dedication to their given mission, which had brought about the birth and the growth of the Church. They have laboured hard for the propagation of the Good News of God’s salvation, and many had been saved through them.

In the same manner, many of the holy saints and devout servants of God throughout the ages and history have dedicated themselves, their lives and their efforts in the good works of the Lord, bringing salvation upon many souls, not least of all, the saint whose memory we remember today, namely St. Rita of Cascia. St. Rita of Cascia was a holy religious, an Italian widower, who was renowned for her great piety in life.

And she was also a devoted wife and mother, who was known to persuade her husband to get rid of his violent and abusive lifestyle, often getting into conflict with rival families and groups. Unfortunately, it ended with him being murdered by his enemies, leaving St. Rita of Cascia a widow and her children without a father. During those turbulent times, where rivalry and vengeance were common, St. Rita of Cascia strongly dissuaded her children from seeking vengeance.

As it was inevitable that her children would end up committing sins by the blood feud and vengeance that her larger family plotted, it was told that St. Rita of Cascia begged in her prayers before the Lord, that her sons should be spared the fate of eternal damnation, by calling them up to heaven early. It was told that, precisely that was what the Lord granted to her, by their death through dysentery in the same year.

After that, she joined the monastery, but the nuns feared her husband’s families’ feuding that would affect the community. As a result, she was allowed to join on a condition that she should help to resolve the bloody feud among the noble families. St. Rita of Cascia managed to do just that, through her hard work she made it possible for the feuding families and nobles to be reconciled with each other and ceased all forms of hostilities.

The examples of St. Rita of Cascia, her great piety and devotion to the Lord, her exemplary lifestyle and commitment to her faith should be inspiration to all of us. All of us should be more and more inspired to follow in her footsteps, in how we ought to live our faith life, and therefore, fulfilling our obligations as the members of the Church, as I mentioned earlier in this homily, to bring the people of God closer to God, and get them out of the darkness and into the light, through our actions.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all pray that the Lord will give us strength, courage and commitment, so that we will be able to follow in the footsteps of the Apostles, the holy saints and martyrs, especially the holy woman, St. Rita of Cascia, so that by our good works and deeds, we may bring more and more souls towards the salvation in God. May God bless us all. Amen.