Thursday, 29 March 2018 : Chrism Mass, Holy Thursday (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 4 : 16-21

At that time, when Jesus came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, as He usually did. He stood up to read, and they handed Him the book of the prophet Isaiah.

Jesus then unrolled the scroll and found the place where it is written : “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me. He has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives and new sight to the blind; to free the oppressed and to announce the Lord’s year of mercy.”

Jesus then rolled up the scroll, gave it to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. Then He said to them, “Today these prophetic words come true, even as you listen.”

Thursday, 29 March 2018 : Chrism Mass, Holy Thursday (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Revelations 1 : 5-8

And from Jesus Christ, the faithful Witness, the Firstborn of the dead, the Ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him Who loves us and has washed away our sins with His own Blood, making us a kingdom and priests for God His Father, to Him be the glory and power forever and ever. Amen.

See He comes with the clouds and everyone will see Him, even those who pierced Him; on His account all the nations of the earth will beat his breast. Yes. It will be so. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, He Who is, Who was and Who is to come : the Master of the universe.

Thursday, 29 March 2018 : Chrism Mass, Holy Thursday (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 88 : 21-22, 25 and 27

I have found David my servant, and with My holy oil I have anointed him. My hand will be ever with him and My arm will sustain him.

My faithfulness and love will be with him, and by My help he will be strong. He will call on Me, ‘You are my Father, my God, my Rock, my Saviour.’

Thursday, 29 March 2018 : Chrism Mass, Holy Thursday (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Isaiah 61 : 1-3a, 6a, 8b-9

The Spirit of the Lord YHVH is upon Me, because YHVH has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent Me to bind up broken hearts, to proclaim liberty to the captives, freedom to those languishing in prison; to announce the year of YHVH’s favour and the day of vengeance of our God; to give comfort to all who grieve; (to comfort those who mourn in Zion) and give them a garland instead of ashes.

But you will be named priests of YHVH, you will be called ministers of our God. I will give them their due reward and make an everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants shall be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a race YHVH has blessed.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018 : Wednesday of Holy Week (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, the Wednesday of the Holy Week is traditionally known in the Church as the Spy Wednesday, as on this day the Scripture reading from the Gospel of St. Matthew highlights the betrayal of the Lord Jesus by Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples. On this day, according to the tradition of the Apostles, Judas went to the chief priests and the elders to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.

Judas betrayed the Lord Jesus because he did not have genuine faith in Him. He followed Him for ulterior motives, that is to profit and enrich himself through his frequent ‘helpings’ to the common fund of the disciples which was placed under his care, and thus he was corrupt in his ways and dealings. All these despite him having followed the Lord Jesus for over three years as one of His closest disciples.

Despite all the miracles the Lord had performed before him and the other disciples, and also all the teachings and parables He had used and mentioned throughout His ministry, Judas ultimately chose to betray the Lord and instead settled for what he has always been tempted to, that is money. He could not resist the temptation of wealth and worldly goods, and Satan made use of it to bring him to commit a great sin against God.

And thus Judas Iscariot was forever placed in the hall of infamy, for having committed the betrayal against Jesus, for his repeated and unrepented sinful acts, cheating his fellow disciples for the sake of his own greed and selfish desires. He had been given the free will to choose whether he should follow the Lord and repent, or whether he ought to continue walking down his path of sin.

Is that the path we want to take, brothers and sisters in Christ? He alone out of the Twelve chosen by the Lord at the start of His ministry fell out of grace and he alone did not die in the state of grace, having failed his Lord and Master, and instead of being obedient, he fell into sin and betrayed Him for worldly wealth, for thirty pieces of silver. To him, the Lord and His ministry was just means to an end, to achieve more wealth and power for himself.

Instead, brothers and sisters in Christ, we should follow the examples of the Apostles, especially that of St. Peter. Why is that so? Just like Judas Iscariot, they have also abandoned the Lord when He was arrested after the Last Supper, and they were scattered in fear after that moment. Yet, they repented and had great regret in their hearts after what they had done, and that was how they were reconciled and eventually became the courageous Apostles.

Those Apostles henceforth had to endure the same pain and suffering that the Lord Jesus had endured, being subjected to ridicule, rejection, anger, persecution, punishment and even prison and exile by those people to whom they had gone to, in preaching the Gospel and the Good News. They had embraced the roles which the Lord had entrusted them with, and did their best to follow the Lord in His ways.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, now as we have heard all these readings from the Scriptures and reflected on it, let us all think of how we can apply it in our own lives. We have been called to be true and devout Christians, to walk in the Lord’s path with faith and devotion, and with genuine and zealous love for God. Are we able to devote ourselves in this manner? Or are we still like Judas Iscariot, who placed his greed and worldly desires ahead of his commitment to God?

As we journey through this time of the Holy Week, let us all turn away from our sinful past, from all of our wickedness, and turn towards the Lord with all of our hearts. Let us all grow ever more faithful day after day, that despite the challenges and temptations we may face along our way, we will continue to persevere regardless and grow deeper in our commitment towards Him.

May the Lord bless us all and may He grant us the strength to persevere in faith, that all of us will grow to understand and appreciate better the love that He has for each and every one of us, that we will no longer be swayed by the temptation of money as Judas had done, but instead, place the Lord as the priority and the centre focus of our lives. May God be with us always, now and forever. Amen.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018 : Wednesday of Holy Week (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Matthew 26 : 14-25

Then one of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “How much will you give me if I hand Him over to you?” They promised to give him thirty pieces of silver, and from then on, he kept looking for the best way to hand Jesus over to them.

On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and said to Him, “Where do You want us to prepare the Passover meal for you?” Jesus answered, “Go into the city, to the house of a certain man, and tell him, ‘The Master says : My hour is near, and I will celebrate the Passover with My disciples in your house.'”

The disciples did as Jesus had ordered, and prepared the Passover meal. When it was evening, Jesus sat at table with the Twelve. While they were eating, Jesus said, “Truly I say to you : one of you will betray Me.” They were deeply distressed, and they asked Him, one after the other, “You do not mean me, do You, Lord?”

He answered, “The one who dips his bread with Me will betray Me. The Son of Man is going as the Scripture says He will. But alas for that one who betrays the Son of Man : better for him not to have been born.” Judas, who was betraying Him, also asked, “You do not mean me, Master, do You?” Jesus replied, “You have said it.”

Wednesday, 28 March 2018 : Wednesday of Holy Week (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 68 : 8-10, 21-22, 31 and 33-34

Since I am held in contempt for Your sake, and shame has covered My face. I have become a stranger to My kindred, an alien to My mother’s sons. Zeal for Your house consumes Me as fire and those who insult You insult Me as well.

I looked for sympathy and there was none, for comforters and there was no one. They gave me poison for food and vinegar to drink.

I will praise the Name of God in song; I will glorify Him with thanksgiving. Let the lowly witness this and be glad. You who seek God, may your hearts be revived. For the Lord hears the needy and does not despise those in captivity.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018 : Wednesday of Holy Week (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Isaiah 50 : 4-9a

The Lord YHVH has taught Me so I speak as His disciple and I know how to sustain the weary. Morning after morning He wakes Me up to hear, to listen like a disciple. The Lord YHVH has opened My ear. I have not rebelled, nor have I withdrawn.

I offered My back to those who strike Me, My cheeks to those who pulled My beard; neither did I shield My face from blows, spittle and disgrace. I have not despaired, for the Lord YHVH comes to My help. So, like a flint I set My face, knowing that I will not be disgraced.

He Who avenges Me is near. Who then will accuse Me? Let us confront each other. Who is now My accuser? Let him approach. If the Lord YHVH is my Help, who will condemn Me?