Sunday, 13 May 2018 : Seventh Sunday of Easter, World Social Communications Sunday and Memorial of Our Lady of Fatima (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, we celebrate the seventh Sunday in the season of Easter. Therefore, in just one week’s time we will come to the celebration of the Solemnity of the Pentecost, and mark the end of this holy season of Easter. I hope that for all of us Christians, each and every one of us have made good use of this particularly blessed season to deepen our faith in God.

On this Seventh Sunday of Easter, the Church also commemorate the occasion of the World Communications Sunday. On this occasion, we remember the important command that the Lord gave to all of us, His disciples and followers, that we are to go forth to the peoples of all the nations, testifying our faith and belief in the Lord, Who has come upon this world to save us, by His death on the cross and by His resurrection.

And in order to be able to do that, of course, each one of us as Christians must know how to communicate. Then, many of us surely wonder, ‘Ah, but I know how to talk well!’ or ‘Ah, it is not a problem for me at all, for I am a good speaker and I can persuade people very well!’. Yet, do we actually know what communication is truly about, brothers and sisters in Christ? Is it all about talking and how well we can speak and talk to others?

No, that is not all, brothers and sisters. Good communicators are also good listeners, just as they are good speakers. And they are also usually good thinkers and contemplators. One cannot communicate properly, if one just speak right off from his or her mouth, without first thinking about it or contemplating what he or she is about to say. Otherwise, very easily the person could have gotten into trouble for what he or she had said, as those words had not been carefully thought of.

And if someone is quick to talk, and yet also refuse to listen, then he or she is also not a good communicator. That is because we will then find ourselves in a situation where we will end up misunderstand the intentions of each other. We will also not be able to communicate well, as if each side of the people in communication insist that they be heard first, and refuse to listen to the other person’s opinion, very quickly it will end up in a struggle and even conflict.

Unfortunately, that is who we often are, and that is how we also often act, and that was how wars have been started, conflicts and destruction of human lives, just because we failed to communicate well. People misunderstood each other’s intentions from time to time, and unless we make the effort to learn from our past mistakes, the same problems and mistakes are likely to arise again and again.

Then, brothers and sisters in Christ, do we realise that there are many ways we can communicate, more than just by words? Verbal speeches and words are just one way through which we are able to communicate with another person. There are many other ways through which we can convey what we want another person to know, that is through gestures and actions. Unfortunately, the same can also be said of our actions that are in fact contrary to what we are saying.

What do I mean by saying that, brethren? It means that as Christians, just as I have mentioned earlier that we are all called by God to be His witnesses to all the nations, to all the peoples, we cannot just depend on our words alone. It is often that actions carry much greater weight than words, and it is such that words that are not backed by concrete actions are often considered empty and meaningless.

And unfortunately, in our actions and in how we carry out our lives, we often did not do as what our faith said that we should do in our lives. Just as St. John in his Epistle, our second reading today said to the faithful, we are all called to love God and love one another, with all of our hearts, and with all of our efforts. And yet, how many of us actually truly love God with all of our hearts? How many of us actually prioritises God over all the other things we have in life?

The reality is that for many of us Christians, we tend to put God aside in our lives, as we are often too busy and too caught up in our worldly dealings and matters, to the point that we forget about God, and we only remember Him, if we even remember Him, in times when we are in need of His help. And when things start to go better once again for us, we forget to thank Him and we continue in our usual busy lifestyle and push Him aside once again.

And how about our love for our fellow men? Many of us Christians profess to be members of God’s Church, and yet, in our actions and interactions with one another, many of us do things that are anything but showing love for each other. How many of us, in our respective parishes and communities, often fall into the tendency and the bad habit of gossiping against each other, against fellow laity, and even against the priests? And even amongst the priests, sometimes we also see division and unpleasantness between each other.

Now, let me ask you all a question, brothers and sisters in Christ. If we want to communicate to those whom we intend to preach the message of the Good News of God, how can we then, in our own respective lives and actions, do things that are contrary to what we preach and what we believe? How can people believe in us, if we ourselves do not do as we say, and if we do not show that we truly believe in our faith, through action?

If we have done all these, then we are no better than the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law. They were hypocrites, just as we are. The Lord Jesus Himself said to the people, ‘Listen to the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, but do not imitate them in what they were doing’. Through this, the Lord rebuked those who claim to believe, and yet, their actions show completely different fact altogether.

And why did all these things happen to us, brothers and sisters in Christ? It is because we are not a good communicator, and we need to learn to be good communicators. We are often people who are easy to talk and give words out of our mouths, but we find it hard to act in the same manner, because we do not truly mean what we say, and we often do not think and discern before we say something.

This is where, we need to reflect on what we have just heard in our Gospel passage today, which is the prayer which Our Lord Jesus made, and addressed to His Father in heaven, for the sake of all of His disciples. He prayed for them to His Father, that He would keep them safe and protect them, and guide them, and make them to remain united as one people, as one body together, which St. John in his Epistle also elaborated further, that the love of God has dwelled in us, through His Holy Spirit.

But many of us often do not realise this, as we are often too distracted by the many things and concerns we have in this world. We do not spend enough time in prayer, and prayer is a very important part of our Christian life. The Lord Jesus often spent time in quiet places to pray to His Father, and we saw it in many occasions throughout the Gospels. He maintained a close and loving relationship with His Father, listening to Him and obeying His will.

And by that action, He has also shown us all as Christians, how we ought to devote ourselves to God through prayer. It is also important that we know how to pray in the right manner. Many of us think that our prayers have to follow a certain formula or that by saying longer and more concise prayers, our prayers will then be answered, or we can gain more from what we have prayed for.

However, it is too often that many of us are again not good communicators in this case, as we end up spending all the time talking and making our demands and desires known to the Lord, without allowing ourselves to hear the will of God, and we shut ourselves off from the word of God, speaking softly in the depths of our hearts and within our minds. We end up speaking all the time and not allowing God to speak to us. In this manner, we have failed in our communication to God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we have to realise that each and every one of our prayers are actually meant to be communication between us and God. And as in any proper communication, it should be two-way in nature, allowing both parties involved to speak and to listen at the appropriate time. The problem is, as mentioned, we do not listen enough, and we demand that God listen to our demands, when we do not even open our hearts and minds to listen to His will.

May the Lord therefore, allow our hearts and minds, our senses to be open to God. If we have often been distracted and swayed from the path that God has shown us, then perhaps it is time now for us to turn wholeheartedly and completely towards God, with all of our hearts and with all of our minds. Let us all develop a good and working spiritual relationship with God, that we may come to know His will for us, and He may draw us ever closer to Him, with each and every passing day.

May we grow to be good communicators, that is, with the wisdom which the Holy Spirit has given us, we may be good listeners just as we are good speakers, and through the same wisdom, may we all discern and think carefully through all the things that we want to convey and say to others, that we may say them with grace, truth and charity. May God bless us all, now and always. Amen.

Sunday, 13 May 2018 : Seventh Sunday of Easter, World Social Communications Sunday and Memorial of Our Lady of Fatima (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 17 : 11b-19

At that time, Jesus prayed to God His Father, “Holy Father, keep those You have given Me in Your Name, so that they may be one, as we also are. When I was with them, I kept them safe in Your Name; and not one was lost, except the one who was already lost, and in this, the Scripture was fulfilled. And now I come to You; in the world I speak these things, so that those whom You gave Me, might have joy – all My joy within themselves.”

“I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world, I do not ask You to remove them from the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth.”

“I have sent them into the world as You sent Me into the world; and for their sake, I go to the sacrifice by which I am consecrated, so that they too may be consecrated in truth.”

Sunday, 13 May 2018 : Seventh Sunday of Easter, World Social Communications Sunday and Memorial of Our Lady of Fatima (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 John 4 : 11-16

Dear friends, if such has been the love of God, we, too, must love one another. No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us, and His love comes to its perfection in us.

How may we know that we live in God and He in us? Because God has given us His Spirit. We ourselves have seen, and declare, that the Father sent His Son to save the world. Those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in them, and they in God.

We have known the love of God and have believed in it. God is love. The one who lives in love, lives in God and God in him.

Sunday, 13 May 2018 : Seventh Sunday of Easter, World Social Communications Sunday and Memorial of Our Lady of Fatima (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 102 : 1-2, 11-12, 19-20ab

Praise YHVH, my soul; all my being, praise His holy Name! Praise YHVH, my soul, and do not forget all His kindness.

As the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His love for those fearing Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove from us our sins.

YHVH has set His throne in heaven; He rules; He has power everywhere. Praise YHVH, all you His Angels, you mighty ones who do His bidding.

Sunday, 13 May 2018 : Seventh Sunday of Easter, World Social Communications Sunday and Memorial of Our Lady of Fatima (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 1 : 15-17, 20a, 20c-26

It was during this time that Peter stood up in the midst of the community – about one hundred and twenty in all – and he said, “Brothers, it was necessary that the Scriptures referring to Judas be fulfilled. The Holy Spirit had spoken through David about the one who would lead the crowd coming to arrest Jesus. He was one of our number and had been called to share our common ministry.”

“In the Book of Psalms it is written : ‘May another take his office.’ Therefore, we must choose someone from among those who were with us during all the time that the Lord Jesus moved about with us, beginning with John’s baptism until the day when Jesus was taken away from us. One of these has to become, with us, a witness to His resurrection.”

Then they proposed two : Joseph, called Barsabbas, also known as Justus, and Matthias. They prayed : “You know, Lord, what is in the hearts of all. Show us, therefore, which of the two You have chosen to replace Judas in this Apostolic ministry which he deserted to go to the place he deserved.”

Then they drew lots between the two and the choice fell on Matthias who was added to the eleven Apostles.

(Usus Antiquior) Sunday after the Ascension (II Classis) – Sunday, 13 May 2018 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Communion and Post-Communion Prayer

Liturgical Colour : White

Offertory

Psalm 46 : 6

Ascendit Deus in jubilatione, et Dominus in voce tubae, Alleluja.

 

English translation

God is ascended with jubilee, and the Lord with the sound of trumpet, Alleluia.

 

Secret Prayer of the Priest

Sacrificia nos, Domine, immaculata purificent : et mentibus nostris supernae gratiae dent vigorem. 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 this immaculate sacrifice purify us, o Lord, and impart to our souls the vigour of supernal grace. 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.

 

Preface of the Ascension

Vere dignum et justum est, aequum et salutare, nos tibi semper et ubique gratias agere : Domine, Sancte Pater omnipotens, aeterne Deus : per Christum, Dominum nostrum. Qui post resurrectionem suam omnibus discipulis suis manifestus apparuit et, ipsis cernentibus, est elevatus in caelum, ut nos divinitatis suae tribueret esse participes. Et ideo cum Angelis et Archangelis, cum Thronis et Dominationibus cumque omni militia caelestis exercitus hymnum gloriae Tuae canimus, sine fine dicentes :

 

English translation

It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, that we should always and in all places give thanks to You, o holy Lord, Father Almighty, eternal God, through Christ our Lord. He who after His resurrection very openly showed Himself to all His disciples, and in their sight was raised up to heaven, in order to give to us to be partakers of His Godhead. And therefore, with the angels and archangels, with the thrones and dominations, and with all the array of the heavenly host, we sing a hymn to Your glory and unceasingly repeat :

 

Communion

John 17 : 12-13, 15

Pater, cum essem cum eis, ego servabam eos, quos dedisti mihi, Alleluja : nunc autem ad te venio : non rogo, ut tollas eos de mundo, sed ut serves eos a malo, Alleluja, Alleluja.

 

English translation

Father, while I was with them, I kept those who You gave Me, Alleluia. But now that I come to You, I pray that You should not take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from evil, Alleluia, Alleluia.

 

Post-Communion Prayer

Repleti, Domine, muneribus sacris : da, quaesumus; ut in gratiarum semper actione maneamus. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

As we have been filled with heavenly gifts, o Lord, grant, we beseech You, that we may constantly persevere in thanksgiving. 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) Sunday after the Ascension (II Classis) – Sunday, 13 May 2018 : Holy Gospel

Liturgical Colour : White

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

John 15 : 26-27 and John 16 : 1-4

In illo tempore : Dixit Jesus discipulis suis : Cum venerit Paraclitus, quem ego mittam vobis a Patre, Spiritum veritatis, qui a Patre procedit, ille testimonium perhibebit de me : et vos testimonium perhibebitis, quia ab initio mecum estis.

Haec locutus sum vobis, ut non scandalizemini. Absque synagogis facient vos : sed venit hora, ut omnis, qui interficit vos, arbitretur obsequium se prestare Deo. Et haec facient vobis, quia non noverunt Patrem neque me. Sed haec locutus sum vobis : ut, cum venerit hora eorum, reminiscamini, quia ego dixi vobis.

 

English translation

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “When the Paraclete comes, whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He shall give testimony of Me, and you shall give testimony, because you are with Me from the beginning.”

“These things I have spoken to you, that you may not be scandalised. They will put you out of the synagogues. Yes, the hour comes, that whosoever kills you will think that he does a service to God. And these things will they do to you, because they have not known the Father, nor Me. But these things I have told you that, when the hour shall come, you may remember that I told you.”