Thursday, 26 April 2018 : 4th Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are called to continue the good works of the Apostles, as St. Paul and many other disciples of the Lord who have testified before the people about God and His many good works, and ultimately, ending in the perfect fulfilment of all that God has promised His people, and what the Apostles was testifying about.

God has loved us all His people, and it is why He has given us opportunities after opportunities, time and again, for us to repent and to turn away from our sins. He does not want us to fall into damnation, as what would have happened, if we continued down our path of sin. He has given us the way out of this predicament, by the coming of His Saviour, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and through the testimony of faith which His Apostles and their successors have brought us.

The Apostle St. Paul was not afraid to speak up for his faith in God, and he revealed before the Jewish people in today’s first reading passage from the Book of Acts, about the Lord Jesus, despite the threats which the Pharisees and the elders from Jerusalem had given, against all those who taught and preached in His Name. He was not afraid of all those threats, and continued to speak in the Lord’s Name courageously.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is the kind of faith and dedication which all of us as Christians should also have in our own respective lives. Sadly, however, many of us have been inactive, passive, ignorant, or even repulsed at the thought of living our lives for God’s sake and in obedience of God’s will. Instead, we follow the whims of our own desires, and we end up living our lives led by our selfishness.

That is why so many of us are still so far away from the Lord and from His salvation, as we have not been able to let go of our desires and petty ambitions. We have been tempted by this world, and Satan has given us false happiness and promises of false joy, which many of us took up too gladly and too happily, without thinking of the consequences of what would happen if we chose this path instead of God’s path.

And this is the reality which each and every one of us need to realise, right now. Many of us are still lost and not sure of how we should proceed forward with our lives. Many of us are still too preoccupied with the many worldly concerns through which in fact, Satan and his allies were trying to keep us chained and enslaved, to our sins and wickedness, which separated us from God and His love.

That is where, all of us as Christians must come in, following in the footsteps of the Apostles, such as that of St. Paul the Apostle. We must be ready to stand up for our faith, to show our faith through real and concrete dedication to our faith. This is what each and every one of us must do, as those who profess to believe in God, that in everything we say and do, we will always do all we can, to bring greater glory to God.

Let us all from now on, be inspiration to one another, by living our lives with faith, and committing ourselves to the Lord in our hearts, with all of our strength. Let us all be beacons of God’s light in this world, so that through us, the works of God and His loving mercy may be exercised amongst us, so that more and more people, many more souls will come to believe in God and be saved. May the Lord bless us all, and be with us in this journey. Amen.

Thursday, 26 April 2018 : 4th Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 13 : 16-20

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly, I say to you, the servant is not greater than his master, nor is the messenger greater than he who sent him. Understand this, and blessed are you, if you put it into practice.”

“I am not speaking of you all, because I know the ones I have chosen, and the Scripture has to be fulfilled that says : The one who shared My table has risen against Me. I tell you this now before it happens, so that when it does happen, you may know that I am He.”

“Truly, I say to you, whoever welcomes the one I send, welcomes Me; and whoever welcomes Me, welcomes the One Who sent Me.”

Thursday, 26 April 2018 : 4th Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 88 : 2-3, 21-22, 25 and 27

I will sing forever, o Lord, of Your love and proclaim Your faithfulness from age to age. I will declare how steadfast is Your love, how firm Your faithfulness.

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.

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, 26 April 2018 : 4th Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 13 : 13-25

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.”

So Paul arose, motioned to them for silence and began, “Fellow Israelites and also all you who fear God, listen. 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. All this took four hundred and fifty years. After that, he gave them Judges until Samuel the prophet. Then they asked for a king and God gave them Saul, son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, and he was king for forty years.”

“After that time, God removed him and raised up David as king, to whom He bore witness saying : ‘I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all I want him to do.’ It is from the descendants of David that God has now raised up the promised Saviour of Israel, Jesus.”

“Before He appeared, John proclaimed a baptism of repentance for all the people of Israel. As John was ending his life’s work, he said : ‘I am not what you think I am, for after me another One is coming Whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.'”

Wednesday, 25 April 2018 : Feast of St. Mark, Evangelist (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate together the feast of one of the Holy Evangelists, who wrote the Four Holy Gospels. And today we focus therefore on St. Mark the Evangelist, who wrote the Gospel of St. Mark, and who was also mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles as one of those who followed St. Paul in some of his journeys around the Mediterranean sea.

St. Mark wrote his Gospel book with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, as well as with the accounts of the Apostles and the disciples, first-hand accounts from all those who have witnessed the actual events recorded in the Gospels and in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles. Through his works, St. Mark and the other three Evangelists made sure that all of us are also aware of what had happened at that time.

And that is how St. Mark had devoted himself in his effort of evangelisation, as he recorded all the things he saw and experienced throughout those journeys, so that he might be able to pass down the teachings of the Apostles through the recorded works in the Gospels, and later on, the Church would come together and decide what would encompass the body of Scriptures that would eventually become the Holy Scriptures or the Holy Bible.

We might misunderstand or we might not realise the importance and significance of St. Mark’s works, but do you realise that the power of a pen is truly mighty, just as the saying goes, that the power of pen is mightier than the power of swords. Just at the stroke of a pen, countries had gone to war and countless lives have been lost, just at the stroke of a mere pen.

And those were done by the wisdom of men. How much greater and mightier then, if the work was done by God and by His wisdom? Then, it would have ended up in a much greater deed! And that was exactly what happened with St. Mark and his Divine inspired works in the Gospel. Through the sacred treasure of the Word of God, compiled together as the Bible, the Church has spread the words of the Good News and salvation far and wide to many people.

And that was exactly what we have heard in our Gospel passage today. The Lord Jesus, just before He ascended into heaven and left this world, gave His disciples a final commandment, one that is still the command that He gives His Church to this very day, the obligation which He gave to His Church and to all of us as Christians. What is this obligation? It is the command that all of us should go forth to all the nations and preach the Good News of God’s salvation to all.

St. Mark has done his part, by doing such a great service to the Church and to countless faithful ones through his writing of the Holy Gospel, the one attributed to him. Many people have believed in God through what he had written, and many turned to Him and repented because of what they have read from the accounts of the life of Christ, the Saviour of the world in that Gospel.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, it is our turn to do our part, to follow in the footsteps of the Lord, in doing whatever we can, to be the bearers of the truth of God and His Good News to the people of many nations. And how can we do this? It is by living our faith seriously and with commitment, devoting ourselves and our entire lives to God, by doing His will, and by practicing our faith with real and concrete action, that we truly live up to our Christian obligations.

Let us all do this, brothers and sisters in Christ. Let us do our best and spend time and effort to develop ourselves in faith further and deepen our spirituality and relationship with God. Let us all follow in the footsteps of St. Mark the Evangelist, that we may, in our own way, be it through words, or actions, or through our works and writings even, as the Evangelist had done, or both, or all, we may bring more and more souls closer to God. May God bless us all and our endeavours. Amen.