Tuesday, 3 April 2018 : Tuesday within Easter Octave (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 20 : 11-18

At that time, Mary stood weeping outside the tomb; and as she wept, she bent down to look inside. She saw two Angels in white, sitting where the Body of Jesus had been, one at the head, and the other at the feet. They said, “Woman, why are you weeping?”

She answered, “Because they have taken my Lord and I do not know where they have put Him.” As she said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not recognise Him. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?”

She thought it was the gardener and answered Him, “Lord, if You have taken Him away, tell me where You have put Him, and I will go and remove Him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned, and said to Him, “Rabboni!” – which means Master. Jesus said to her, “Do not touch Me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to My brothers and say to them : I am ascending to My Father, Who is your Father, to My God, Who is your God.”

So Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord, and this is what He said to me.”

Tuesday, 3 April 2018 : Tuesday within Easter Octave (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 32 : 4-5, 18-19, 20 and 22

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.

In hope we wait for the Lord for He is our help and our shield. O Lord, let Your love rest upon us, even as our hope rests in You.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018 : Tuesday within Easter Octave (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 2 : 36-41

Peter said, “Let Israel then know for sure that God has made Lord and Christ this Jesus Whom you crucified.” When they heard this, they were deeply troubled. And they asked Peter and the other Apostles, “What shall we do, brothers?”

Peter answered : “Each of you must repent and be baptised in the Name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins may be forgiven. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise of God was made to you and your children, and to all those from afar whom our God may call.”

With many other words Peter gave the message and appealed to them saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who accepted his word were baptised; some three thousand persons were added to their numbers that day.

Monday, 2 April 2018 : Monday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard two testimonies and indeed, two versions of the story of what happened on Easter Sunday from the Scripture passages. From the Acts of the Apostles, we heard from the Apostle, St. Peter, who during Pentecost was testifying before the people about Christ, Who has been crucified for the sake of all mankind, betrayed and put to death by His enemies, and yet risen into glory by His own glorious power.

Meanwhile, in the Gospel passage today, we heard of a different story propagated by the chief priests and the Pharisees, who were surely astounded by the news of the Lord’s resurrection after His death on the cross. Everything had occurred exactly as how He has said it would be, and even the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees might likely have heard about it as well. However, they still refused to believe in Him, to the very end, and chose to come up with a false story to preserve themselves.

They paid off the guards who were at Jesus’ tomb to spread the story that the disciples of the Lord had come at night while the guards were sleeping in order to steal His Body away and hence to make it as if He had risen from the dead. Even though this story was unreliable and untrue, many yet believed in it, as the chief priests and the elders of the people promoted their version of the story, and even persecuted those who believed otherwise.

Nonetheless, St. Peter and the other Apostles and disciples of the Lord spoke up openly about the Lord, empowered by the Holy Spirit, Whom God gave to them at the moment of the Pentecost, when they spoke up with courage, conviction and true faith in God, and converted no less than three thousand people to the cause of the Lord, establishing the first Christian community.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, are we all as Christians aware of the obligations and the duties which the Lord has given to us, just as He entrusted the same to His Apostles and disciples? All of us are called to be witnesses of the Lord’s resurrection and also His truth and Good News as well. However, as we all can see, from what had happened in the time of the Apostles and the early Church, there were numerous challenges and troubles they had to endure, persecutions and martyrdom.

To be a true Christian, we cannot be idle or be passive in our lives. We cannot just think that to be a Christian, all that we need to do is to believe in God and that is all. No, to be a Christian means that we must have a faith that is filled with zeal and true commitment to God. We have to walk righteously and faithfully in God’s presence, and that means, we must have genuine faith in us, founded upon the love that we have for God, as well as for His people, our fellow brothers and sisters.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Easter season, all of us are challenged to live a new life, with a new sense of purpose, and with a renewed faith, zeal and conviction, just as the Apostles had done. The Lord has commanded us all to go forth to all people of all the nations, being witnesses of His truth and Good News, and ultimately to baptise them in the Name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.

Yet, many of the people refused to listen to God, simply because we as Christians ourselves have not been truly faithful to God. On the contrary, there were even some among us who scandalised our faith and the Lord. How can we expect others to believe in God, if we ourselves did not believe in Him wholeheartedly and even acted in ways contrary to that of His ways?

Let us all relive the promises made at our baptism, when we promised to be truly faithful and committed to God, in all of our words, our actions, our dealings and our works. Let us do our very best to be devoted to God in all the things we do. May the Lord be with us always, and may He continue to watch over us and guide us along the way. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

Monday, 2 April 2018 : Monday within Easter Octave (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 28 : 8-15

At that time, the woman left the tomb at once in fear, yet with great joy, and they ran to tell the news to Jesus’ disciples. Suddenly, He met them on the way and said, “Rejoice!” The women approached Him, embraced His feet and worshipped Him. But Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid! Go and tell My brothers to set out for Galilee; there they will see Me.”

While the women were on their way, the guards returned to the city, and some of them reported to the chief priests all that had happened. The chief priests met with the elders, and decided to give the soldiers a large sum of money, with this instruction, “Say that His disciples came by night while you were asleep, and stole the Body of Jesus. If Pilate comes to know of this, we will explain the situation and keep you out of trouble.”

The soldiers accepted the money and did as they were told. This story has circulated among the Jews until this day.

Monday, 2 April 2018 : Monday within Easter Octave (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 15 : 1-2a and 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11

Keep me safe, o God, for in You I take refuge. I say to the Lord, “O Lord, my inheritance and my cup, my chosen portion – hold secure my lot.”

I bless the Lord Who counsels me; even at night my inmost self instructs me. I keep the Lord always before me; for with Him at my right hand, I will never be shaken.

My heart, therefore, exults, my soul rejoices; my body too will rest assured. For You will not abandon my soul to the grave, nor will You suffer Your Holy One to see decay in the land of the dead.

You will show me the path of life, in Your presence the fullness of joy, at Your right hand happiness forever.

Monday, 2 April 2018 : Monday within Easter Octave (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 2 : 14, 22-33

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven and, with a loud voice, addressed them, “Fellow Jews and all foreigners now staying in Jerusalem, listen to what I have to say. Fellow Israelites, listen to what I am going to tell you about Jesus of Nazareth. God accredited Him and through Him did powerful deeds and wonders and signs in your midst, as you well know.”

“You delivered Him to sinners to be crucified and killed, and in this way the purpose of God from all times was fulfilled. But God raised Him to life and released Him from the pain of death, because it was impossible for Him to be held in the power of death. David spoke of Him when He said : I saw the Lord before me at all times; He is by my side, that I may not be shaken.”

“Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue rejoiced; my body too will live in hope. Because You will not forsake me in the abode of the dead, nor allow Your Holy One to experience corruption. You have made known to me the paths of life, and Your presence will fill me with joy.”

“Friends, I do not need to prove that the patriarch David died and was buried; his tomb is with us to this day. But he knew that God had sworn to him that One of his descendants would sit upon his throne and, as he was a prophet, he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah. So he said that He would not be left in the region of the dead, nor would His Body experience corruption.

This Messiah is Jesus and we are all witnesses that God raised Him to life. He has been exalted at God’s right side and the Father has entrusted the Holy Spirit to Him; this Spirit He has just poured upon us as you now see and hear.