Sunday, 15 April 2018 : Third Sunday of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Sunday, as we continue to progress through the season of Easter, we recall God’s great deeds by which He has brought us from the brink of destruction, into a new life where we are in safe condition under good hands, as God Himself took care of us, His people, and would not let harm to come upon our way.

The Apostle St. Paul, as he visited the faithful in the city of Antioch in Pisidia during his apostolic ministry, encouraged the faithful and the Jewish community living in that city, by relating to them how God had done great deeds for them, beginning with the time of the Exodus, a time when the people of Israel was oppressed and made to suffer great humiliation in the land of Egypt, and God brought them out by His great power, guiding them through the desert, and finally made them to dwell in the Promised Land given to them and promised to their ancestors.

St. Paul preached about the salvation of God, which came into this world, in the person of Jesus Christ, Our Lord. He is God’s only begotten Son, Who has willingly taken up our human existence, that He has dwelled among us and walked among us, entering the history of man. In the Gospel passage today, we heard again of the tale of the resurrected Christ, Who after His resurrection has appeared to His disciples.

In that same Gospel passage, the Lord mentioned that everything that the Laws and the Prophets have mentioned, the promises God had made and everything He had uttered from the beginning of time have to be fulfilled, and indeed, He has fulfilled them all to perfection in Jesus Christ, by His works, and most importantly, by His Passion on the cross, His suffering and death, and His glorious resurrection into life.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, what all of us as Christians need to do today, is that we need to remember how God has done so much in order to save us, and to bring good to all of us. He has bore all of our sins, and all the punishments due for our sins, and all the consequences and the sufferings intended for the shortcomings and mistakes we have committed. He has willingly taken up all these upon Himself, so that, all of us may live and not perish.

Yet, many of us do not realise or appreciate this great love which He has for us. And in reality, many Christians are not aware or appreciative of this great boon which they have all received. For many of us Christians, our faith can even be said as merely a formality, as merely on paper alone, and not one that is truly built upon the solid foundation of love and zeal for God.

For example, how many of us say or think that we believe in God, and yet, in our words, we cause harm to others, or even profane God and His Name? How many of us, by our words and by our actions, we scandalise our Christian faith, and ultimately, the good Name of God? How many of us, because of our words and actions, we make people to shun our Christian faith and refuse to be saved?

Then, how many of us said that we are God’s people, and yet, we barely even have the time to think about Him, and less still, spending quality time with Him? Surely, there are even many among us Christians, who think that coming for the Mass on Sundays, or even for many others, on Christmas and, or Easter alone is enough. And still, for many of us, when we come to the Mass, we cannot wait for the Mass to end, as we cannot wait to continue whatever business we have outside of the church, and go back to our daily habits.

And, even in our churches, in our parishes and in our Christian communities, many of us call ourselves as Christians, and yet, we do not behave as what Christians ought to be. We are jealous when others get something that we do not have, and we squabble over positions in the Church, or for things to go according to our way. When someone else does things in ways different from our own, or not meeting our expectation, we become angry or displeased at that person.

The worst of all, is how we often behave as Christians, in our gossiping and in our slanders, and this is not limited to the laity alone, but even towards our priests. We bicker among ourselves for the most trivial of things, but in all of these, are we not forgetting what we are truly supposed to be doing as Christians? Have we forgotten what it means for us to be followers and disciples of Christ?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, at our baptism, we have made the solemn promise to reject Satan and all of his evil teachings and ways, and we renew this promise every year at Easter. But are we truly meaning what we are saying, brothers and sisters in Christ? Or are we only making empty promises and meaningless words? Our actions and words, our deeds and interaction with one another are often filled with the works of the devil, and sometimes not just that we do not shun them, but in fact we even embrace them.

Hence, from now on, brothers and sisters in Christ, are we able to commit ourselves anew to the Lord? Are we able to really mean what we say, when we promise Him that we are faithful to Him and that we reject Satan and all of his false promises and persuasions? Therefore, let us all seek to be more devoted to the Lord in all of our ways, in all of our words, actions and deeds.

Let us all lead a new life, no longer filled with arrogance, jealousy, slanderous attitudes and hatred, but instead, be filled with love, with compassion and tenderness that God has shown us. If we are Christians, then we are truly obliged to replicate and follow the examples that Christ has set for us. He Himself has loved us when we hated Him, He forgave us when we sinned against Him and wronged Him, He showed us compassion and mercy when we are suffering.

And because God has shown us so much love and been so kind to us, then we, as His people, should be doing the same as well with our lives. Remember, brethren, that the works of the Apostles, in preaching the Good News and testifying their faith in the Lord are still work in progress, and now it is our obligation to continue their works. And the best way that we can take part in these works, is by living a true and genuine Christian life for each and every one of us.

Why is that so? That is because if we ourselves do not act in the way that God has taught us to do, then would that not make us hypocrites? Then, who will believe in hypocrites? No one will. So, if we want others to follow us and be saved, as is our obligation, then we must first be good and faithful Christians in the first place. Let this be our Easter resolution, that from now on, we will try our best to do what God has commanded us to do.

May the Risen Lord be with us always, and may He bless all of our endeavours and works. May He continue to guide us in our path, that we will always be faithful to Him, throughout our whole lives. May all of us do our very best to serve Him, and to dedicate ourselves to Him, from now and unto forevermore. Amen.

Sunday, 15 April 2018 : Third Sunday of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 24 : 35-48

Then the two disciples told what had happened on the road to Emmaus, and how Jesus had made Himself known, when He broke bread with them. While they were still talking about this, Jesus Himself stood in their midst. (He said to them, “Peace to you.”)

In their panic and fright they thought they were seeing a ghost, but He said to them, “Why are you upset, and how does such an idea cross your minds? Look at My hands and feet, and see that it is I Myself! Touch Me, and see for yourselves, for a ghost has no flesh and bones as I have!” (As He said this, He showed His hands and feet.)

In their joy they did not dare believe, and were still astonished; so He said to them, “Have you anything to eat?” And they gave Him a piece of broiled fish. He took it, and ate it before them. Then Jesus said to them, “Remember the words I spoke to you when I was still with you : Everything written about Me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.

And He said, “So it was written : the Messiah had to suffer, and on the third day rise from the dead. Then repentance and forgiveness in His Name would be proclaimed to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things.”

Sunday, 15 April 2018 : Third Sunday of Easter (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 John 2 : 1-5a

My little children, I write to you, that you may not sin. But if anyone sins, we have an intercessor with the Father, Jesus Christ, the Just One. He is the sacrificial victim, for our sins, and the sins of the whole world. How can we know that we know Him? If we fulfil His commands.

If you say, “I know Him,” but do not fulfil His commands, you are a liar and the truth is not in you. But if you keep His word, God’s love is made complete in you.

Sunday, 15 April 2018 : Third Sunday of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 4 : 2, 4, 6b-7, 9

Answer when I call, o God, my Justice! When I was in distress, You gave me solace. Have compassion on me and hear my plea.

But you must know that YHVH has shown His kindness to me. When I call to Him, He hears me.

Put your trust in YHVH, your God. Many ask, “Who will give us a happy time? Would, that His favour shine upon us!”

I lie down and sleep in peace, for You, alone, o YHVH, make me feel safe and secure.

Sunday, 15 April 2018 : Third Sunday of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 13 : 13-15, 17-19

From Paphos, Paul and his companions set sail and came to Perga in Pamphylia. There, John left them and returned to Jerusalem, while they went on from Perga and came to Antioch in Pisidia. On the Sabbath day they entered the synagogue and sat down. After the reading of the Law and the prophets, the officials of the synagogue sent this message to them, “Brothers, if you have any word of encouragement for the assembly, please speak up.”

Paul spoke to them, “The God of our people Israel chose our ancestors; and after He had made them increase during their stay in Egypt, He led them out by powerful deeds. For forty years He fed them in the desert; and after He had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, He gave them their land as an inheritance.”

(Usus Antiquior) Second Sunday after Easter (II Classis) – Sunday, 15 April 2018 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Communion and Post-Communion Prayer

Liturgical Colour : White

Offertory

Psalm 62 : 2, 5

Deus, Deus meus, ad Te de luce vigilo : et in Nomine Tuo levabo manus meas, Alleluja.

 

English translation

O God, my God, to You do I watch at break of day, and in Your Name I will lift up my hands, Alleluia.

 

Secret Prayer of the Priest

Benedictionem nobis, Domine, conferat salutarem sacra semper oblatio : ut, quod agit mysterio, virtute perficiat. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

Let the sacred offering, o Lord, ever confer salutary benediction upon us, perfecting in power what it has done in mystery. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

 

Communion

John 10 : 14

Ego sum Pastor Bonus, Alleluja : et cognosco oves meas, et cognoscunt me meae, Alleluja, Alleluja.

 

English translation

I am the Good Shepherd, Alleluia. And I know My sheep and My sheep know Me. Alleluia, Alleluia.

 

Post-Communion Prayer

Praesta nobis, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus : ut, vivificationis Tuae gratiam consequentes, in Tuo semper munere gloriemur. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

Grant us, we beseech You, o Almighty God, that quickened by Your grace, we may ever glory in Your gifts. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

(Usus Antiquior) Second Sunday after Easter (II Classis) – Sunday, 15 April 2018 : Holy Gospel

Liturgical Colour : White

Sequentia Sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem – Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. John

John 10 : 11-16

In illo tempore : Dixit Jesus pharisaeis : Ego sum Pastor Bonus. Bonus pastor animam suam dat pro ovibus suis. Mercennarius autem et qui non est pastor, cujus non sunt oves propriae, videt lupum venientem, et dimittit oves et fugit : et lupus rapit et dispergit oves : mercennarius autem fugit, quia mercennarius est et non pertinet ad eum de ovibus.

Ego sum Pastor Bonus : et cognosco meas et cognoscunt me meae. Sicut novit me Pater, et ego agnosco Patrem, et animam meam pono pro ovibus meis. Et alias oves habeo, quae non sunt ex hoc ovili : et illas oportet me adducere, et vocem meam audient, et fiet unum ovile et unus pastor.

 

English translation

At that time, Jesus said to the Pharisees, “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd gives His life for His sheep, but the hireling, and he who is not the shepherd, who did not own the sheep will not. And when they see the wolf coming, they leave the sheep and flee, and the wolf catches and scatters the sheep. And the hireling flees, because he is a hireling, and had no care for the sheep.”

“I am the Good Shepherd, and I know My sheep, and My sheep know Me. As the Father knows Me, and I know the Father, and I lay down My life for My sheep. And other sheep I have, that are not of this fold, they too I must bring, and they shall hear My voice and there shall be one fold and one shepherd.”