Tuesday, 27 March 2018 : Tuesday of Holy Week (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in today’s Scripture readings we are reminded of God’s salvation that He sent to us through His Son Jesus Christ, Our Lord, of Whom the prophet Isaiah wrote in our first reading passage today, of the coming of the liberation and reconciliation of the descendants of Israel to their Lord and God. God sent His Messiah or Saviour into the world, to gather back all the scattered children of God, and to reconcile them to Himself.

But remembering what we have just heard in another passage taken from the book of the prophet Elijah in our Palm Sunday readings, about the suffering Servant of God, the Suffering Messiah, God did all of His works through the suffering and the obedience of Jesus Christ, His beloved Son, that by accepting death, death on the cross, persecuted and rejected, and even betrayed by His own disciple, Judas Iscariot, He became the source of salvation for us all mankind.

That is how God gave us His love, the proof of His dedication and love for each and every one of us, that He was willing to bear and suffer the unimaginably heavy burden of the cross. The cross that the Lord Jesus bore was extremely heavy not only because of the physical mass and dimensions of the wooden cross, but even more so, because as He bore that cross, He bore for us, the multitudes of our countless sins and trespasses.

Every wound He endured and suffered from, every lashes of the whip He received, every ridicule and rejection He received and heard from those same people who have just so recently welcomed Him as King, but then quickly rejected Him and condemned Him to death, all of these, every single one of them, are our sins and wickedness. Yes, our sins and evils are the wounds that we have inflicted upon the Lord’s Body.

But many of us do not realise this, and we are not aware how our sins and faults have been borne by the Lord, Who suffered because of all the things we committed in our respective lives. Instead, we continue to sin more and more, and we continue to do what is wicked and unworthy in the sight of God. As a result, we are dragged deeper and deeper into the state of sin, and we become even more desensitised from sin, that we are no longer ashamed of what we have done.

Our attitude is also often like that of St. Peter, when he said before the Lord Jesus, that he would defend Him, even to the point of giving up his own life for His sake. The same thing was repeated by the other disciples as well. But when the time came, all of them abandoned the Lord and ran away, scared for their own lives, and when confronted about being a disciple of Christ, St. Peter denied knowing Him three times, just as He had foretold.

How many of us have this kind of faith, brothers and sisters in Christ? How many of us are not firm in our faith, that we flee the moment persecution and trouble come to us? Let me ask you now, brethren, when the Lord Jesus was presented with the great suffering and tribulation that He had to endure as part of His work of salvation, having to bear the heavy and painful cross, did He run away or reject the responsibility?

Indeed, His humanity agonised over this, for no human being should ever have to suffer such great misery and trouble. But in the end, He is always obedient to the will of His Father, Who loves each and every one of us, and thus He was obedient unto death, death on the cross for us, because of His great and undying love. If God can love us so much, to the point of enduring everything for our sake, then can we not love Him in the same way?

Today, as we continue to progress towards the Easter Triduum at the end of this Holy Week, are we reflecting upon these realities of our faith? Have we lived our lives with true and genuine faith? Have we loved the Lord just as He has loved us? If He can love us so much so as to accept a most painful death and to endure the most horrible of sufferings and pains, then why can’t we do the same?

Too many of us think that we have no time for God. But if we actually spend some time to think about it, we can actually take some time of our busy schedule if we want to. But do we want to? Do we want to spend time with God? Remember that He spent an entire six hours on the cross, and not counting the many more hours on the way to Golgotha, since the moment when He was arrested, full of ridicule, persecution, suffering, torture and difficulties for our sake.

Shall we all make a new commitment to the Lord during this Holy Week? Shall we devote our time, effort and attention to the Lord with renewed zeal and love for Him? This is what we should do, and which we should prioritise in our own lives. Remember, that if God can do so much for us, then at least we should give our very best to love Him as well.

May the Lord continue to be with us, guiding us on our way and blessing us all the days of our lives. May He empower us to live ever with more commitment and love for God, day after day, living with faith, alive and zealous. May our Holy Week celebrations be fruitful for us, for our salvation in God. Amen.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018 : Tuesday of Holy Week (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

John 13 : 21-33, 36-38

At that time, after He said a discourse to His disciples after He washed their feet, Jesus was distressed in Spirit, and said plainly, “Truly, one of you will betray Me.” The disciples then looked at one another, wondering whom He meant. One of the disciples, the one Jesus loved, was reclining near Jesus; so Simon Peter signalled him to ask Jesus whom He meant.

And the disciple, who was reclining near Jesus, asked Him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “I shall dip a piece of bread in the dish, and he to whom I give it, is the one.” So Jesus dipped the bread and gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And as Judas took the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus then said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”

None of the others, reclining at the table, understood why Jesus said this to Judas. As Judas had the common purse, they may have thought that Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or “Give something to the poor.” Judas left as soon as he had eaten the bread. It was night.

When Judas had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him. God will glorify Him, and He will glorify Him very soon. My children, I am with you for only a little while; you will look for Me, but as I already told the Jews, so now I tell you : where I am going you cannot come.”

Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, where are You going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but afterwards you will.” Peter said, “Lord, why can I not follow You now? I am ready to give my life for You.”

“To give your life for Me?” Jesus asked Peter, “Truly I tell you, the cock will not crow, before you have denied Me three times.”

Tuesday, 27 March 2018 : Tuesday of Holy Week (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 70 : 1-2, 3-4a, 5-6ab, 15ab and 17

In You, o Lord, I seek refuge; let me not be disgraced. In Your justice help me and deliver me, turn Your ear to me and save me!

Be my Rock of refuge, a Stronghold to give me safety, for You are my Rock and my Fortress. Rescue me, o my God, from the hand of the wicked.

For You, o Lord, have been my Hope, my Trust, o God, from my youth. I have relied on You from birth : from my mother’s womb You brought me forth.

My lips will proclaim Your intervention and tell of Your salvation all day, little though it is what I can understand. You have taught me from my youth and until now I proclaim Your marvels.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018 : Tuesday of Holy Week (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Isaiah 49 : 1-6

Listen to me, o islands, pay attention, peoples from distant lands. YHVH called me from my mother’s womb; He pronounced my name before I was born. He made my mouth like a sharpened sword. He hid me in the shadow of His hand. He made me into a polished arrow set apart in His quiver.

He said to me, “You are Israel, my servant, through you I will be known.” “I have laboured in vain,” I thought, “and spent my strength for nothing.” Yet what is due me was in the hand of YHVH, and my reward was with my God. I am important in the sight of YHVH, and my God is my Strength.

And now YHVH has spoken, He Who formed me in the womb to be His servant, to bring Jacob back to Him, to gather Israel to Him. He said : “It is not enough that you be My servant, to restore the tribes of Jacob, to bring back the remnant of Israel. I will make you the light of the nations, that My salvation will reach to the ends of the earth.”