Thursday, 5 April 2018 : Thursday within Easter Octave (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 3 : 11-26

While the once crippled man clung to Peter and John, all the people, struck with astonishment, came running to them in Solomon’s Porch, as it was called. When Peter saw the people, he said to them, “Fellow Israelites, why are you amazed at this? Why do you stare at us as if it was by some power or holiness of our own that we made this man walk?”

“The God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob, the God of our ancestors has glorified His servant Jesus Whom you handed over to death and denied before Pilate, when even Pilate had decided to release Him. You rejected the Holy and Just One, and you insisted that a murderer be released to you. You killed the Master of life, but God raised Him from the dead and we are witnesses to this.”

“It is His Name and faith in His Name, that has healed this man whom you see and recognise. The faith that comes through Jesus has given him wholeness in the presence of all of you. Yet I know that you acted out of ignorance, as did your leaders. God has fulfilled in this way what He had foretold through all the prophets, that His Messiah would suffer.”

“Repent, then, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out and the time of refreshment may come by the mercy of God, when He sends the Messiah appointed for you, Jesus. For He must remain in heaven until the time of the universal restoration which God spoke of long ago through His holy prophets.”

“Moses foretold this when he said : The Lord God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among your own people; you shall listen to Him in all that He says to you. Whoever does not listen to that Prophet is to be cut off from among his people.”

“In fact, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel onward, have announced the events of these days. You are the children of the prophets and heirs of the covenant that God gave to your ancestors when He said to Abraham : All the families of the earth will be blessed through your descendant. It is to you first that God sends His Servant; He raised Him to life to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.”

Wednesday, 4 April 2018 : Wednesday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture speaking to us firstly about the works of the Apostles St. Peter and St. John, performing their first miracles on their own, after the Lord has ascended to heaven and gave them the Holy Spirit on the occasion of the Pentecost. The two Apostles healed a paralysed beggar who was always begging at the entrance to the Temple of God.

The Apostles healed him in the Name of the Lord Jesus, showing that although the Lord was no longer physically in their midst, but He was still always with His followers and disciples, and He worked His wonders and miracles through them. The Risen Lord showed the proof of His resurrection from the dead not only through His appearances to His disciples and Apostles, but also through His works still present in our midst even unto this very day.

That was what the two disciples who were walking towards the town of Emmaus also experienced, as we heard in our Gospel passage today. The two disciples had felt a great anguish and loss of hope, having followed the Lord and hoped that He would be the One, the King Who would restore the earthly glory of the kingdom of Israel, only to be rejected and condemned to death, a death on the cross in the hands of the Romans.

They were debating about the happenings and events surrounding the Passion, the crucifixion and death of the Lord Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, and then the latest news and rumour of how the Lord had actually risen from the dead, and seen by quite a few of His disciples. Here, we can see how the Lord was reaching out to those two disciples, appearing in their midst and walked among them.

By His words and by His teachings, He opened the senses of the two disciples which had been dulled and closed off by the worries and the temptations of the world. He showed them the truth about Himself, and the reason why He had to suffer and die for the sake of His people, fulfilling the promises and the prophecies He had given to them through His prophets.

By explaining to them the truth and the meaning behind the Scripture passages, He opened their minds and hearts to be able to realise the presence of God in their midst. Their hearts were inflamed by God’s words and the Holy Spirit stirring them. And they eventually realised that it was Jesus Who was journeying with them and speaking to them along the way to Emmaus.

Why have the two disciples failed to realise that the Lord had been with them all along? That is because they have their minds clouded and their senses dulled and blinded by the despair and the sense of hopelessness, after their Lord and Master had been crucified. It is likely that they thought in worldly terms, thinking that the Messiah would lead the nation of Israel to liberate them from their Roman conquerors and rulers.

How about us, brothers and sisters in Christ? All of us are often also unaware of the presence of God in our midst. We are often too preoccupied in our own worldly pursuits and business, that we end up getting more and more distant from God, and we end up falling away from God’s grace as a result. That is why we falter in our faith and why our lives become empty of purpose and meaning.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, all of us are called to reflect on our lives and our actions thus far. Have we lived our lives realising that God, Our Lord and Master is always present in our midst? Or have we walked our lives in the darkness, without proper destination in mind and without guidance? God is in our midst, as we who are Christians believe that the Lord Jesus has died for us, and most importantly, He has risen from the dead.

Thus we believe in Him Who has risen from the dead, that all of us who believe in Him will also overcome death, for we have also overcome sin, as sin causes death. Now, do we truly believe in God and in all that He has done for us? If we believe in Him wholeheartedly, then truly, like the paralysed beggar, who was healed from his troubles, we can, according to St. Paul, do all things in He Who strengthens us.

May the Lord be with us all, and may He empower each and every one of us to live faithfully and dedicate ourselves to Him, in all the things that we do in our respective lives. May He bless us all and all of our works and endeavours, now and always. Amen.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018 : Wednesday within Easter Octave (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 24 : 13-35

At that time, on the same day Jesus rose from the dead, two followers of Jesus were going to Emmaus, a village seven miles from Jerusalem, and they talked about what had happened. While they were talking and arguing about what had happened, Jesus came up and walked with them. But their eyes were not able to recognise Him.

He asked, “What is it you are talking about?” The two stood still, looking sad. Then the one named Cleophas answered, “Why, it seems You are the only traveller to Jerusalem who does not know what haw happened there these past few days.” And He asked, “What is it?”

They replied, “It is about Jesus of Nazareth. He was a Prophet, You know, mighty in word and deed before God and the people. But the chief priests and our rulers sentenced Him to death. They handed Him over to be crucified. We had hoped that He would redeem Israel. It is now the third day since all this took place.”

“It is also true that some women of our group have disturbed us. When they went to the tomb at dawn, they did not find His Body; and they came and told us that they had had a vision of Angels, who said that Jesus was alive. Some of our people went to the tomb and found everything just as the women had said, but they did not find a Body in the tomb.”

He said to them, “How dull you are, how slow of understanding! Is the message of the prophets too difficult for you to understand? Is it not written that the Christ should suffer all this, and then enter His glory?” Then starting with Moses, and going through the prophets, He explained to them everything in the Scriptures concerning Himself.

As they drew near the village they were heading for, Jesus made as if to go farther. But they prevailed upon Him, “Stay with us, for night comes quickly. The day is now almost over.” So He went in to stay with them. When they were at table, He took the bread, said a blessing, broke it, and gave each a piece.

Then their eyes were opened, and they recognised Him; but He vanished out of their sight. And they said to one another, “Were not our hearts filled with ardent yearning when He was talking to us on the road and explaining the Scriptures?” They immediately set out and returned to Jerusalem.

There they found the Eleven and their companions gathered together. They were greeted by these words : “Yes, it is true, the Lord is risen! He has appeared to Simon!” Then the two told what had happened on the road to Emmaus, and how Jesus had made Himself known, when He broke bread with them.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018 : Wednesday within Easter Octave (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 104 : 1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9

Give thanks to the Lord, call on His Name; make known His works among the nations. Sing to Him, sing His praise, proclaim all His wondrous deeds.

Glory in His holy Name; let those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and be strong; seek His face always.

You descendants of His servant Abraham, you sons of Jacob, His chosen ones! He is the Lord our God; His judgments reach the whole world.

He remembers His covenant forever, His promise to a thousand generations, the covenant He made with Abraham, the promise He swore to Isaac.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018 : Wednesday within Easter Octave (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 3 : 1-10

Once when Peter and John were going up to the Temple at three in the afternoon, the hour for prayer, a man crippled from birth was being carried in. Every day they would bring him and put him at the Temple gate called “Beautiful”; there he begged from those who entered the Temple.

When he saw Peter and John on their way into the Temple, he asked for alms. Then Peter with John at his side looked straight at him and said, “Look at us.” So he looked at them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have neither silver nor gold, but what I have I give you : In the Name of Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, walk!”

Then he took the beggar by his right hand and helped him up. At once his feet and ankles became firm, and jumping up he stood on his feet and began to walk. And he went with them into the Temple walking and leaping and praising God. All the people saw him walking and praising God; they recognised him as the one who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple, and they were all astonished and amazed at what had happened to him.