Wednesday, 24 April 2019 : 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, 24 April 2019 : 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, 24 April 2019 : 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.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019 : Tuesday 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 reminding each and every one of us to believe in the Lord and to put our trust in Him, Our Risen Lord, Who has triumphed against sin and death, and Who has offered us all a new life blessed by Him, if only we would embrace Him and accept Him as Our Lord and Saviour. It is by putting our faith in Him that we will be able to go down the path towards the salvation in Him and eternal life.

As we heard in our Scripture passages today, we often despair and lose hope just because we think that God is not there for us, as shown how St. Mary Magdalene despaired and was filled with sorrow, not only because she has herself witnessed the death of the Lord on the cross, but even His Body buried in the tomb had apparently been stolen away. It is at this moment of despair and hopelessness that we are at our weakest.

The people at the time of the Apostles as shown in our first reading today also felt very despicable, remorseful and sad because of the sinful things that they have committed. This was especially because many of them were among those who have also had a part in the condemnation of the Lord Jesus, of Whom those Apostles then spoke of with courage and faith, filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

St. Peter spoke to them and reassured them, that all was not lost for them. Just because they have sinned does not mean that they had lost forever the chance to be forgiven and to be redeemed from their sins. In fact, if we remember well, the Lord Himself had forgiven His enemies, persecutors and condemners from the Cross, asking His heavenly Father not to account their sins against them all.

Therefore, in the same way, God will also extend the same mercy, compassion and love that He has willingly given us, to all of us regardless of whether we have committed small or great sin. God will not abandon us all despite of our sinfulness, as long as we still have that desire within us to embrace God’s offer of mercy and compassion. God is ever patient and ever loving, and He will not reject us when we desire to seek Him.

In fact, many among us have been condemned not because God did so, but rather, our own sins and our own stubbornness, our refusal and prideful rejection of God’s mercy, forgiveness and compassionate love has led us to be condemned by the very sins we have committed in our lives. And as long as the taint of those sins remain in us, we can have no part in God at all. If we choose this path for ourselves, then we need to remember that it is by our own choice that we shut ourselves out of God’s mercy and love.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us are called to reflect on this as we continue to progress through the season of Easter, and especially as this coming Sunday we will celebrate the Divine Mercy Sunday, that we will focus our gaze and attention to the Lord, seeking Him and sincerely asking for His forgiveness and love, His mercy and redemption. And we recall the great compassion He has for every single one of us, even the most wicked and unworthy one among us.

On this day, let us all renew our commitment to live our Christian faith with devotion and with true and genuine love for God. Let us all be the bearers of the Lord’s mercy to others as well, through our own actions, which should be filled with love and with compassion. Let us all turn towards the Lord together, and bring His mercy and love to all those who need them. May the Lord, the Risen Christ, continue to be with us and to guide us through all the journey of our life. Amen.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019 : 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, 23 April 2019 : 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, 23 April 2019 : 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, 22 April 2019 : Monday 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 as we progress through the Octave of Easter, rejoicing together in the Easter joy of Our Lord. And we are constantly being reminded that as Christians filled with the joy of Easter, we are to be role models for one another, and to be the bearers of this same joy in our evangelising mission towards all those who have yet to know of Christ and His salvation.

The Lord has truly risen from the dead, and His resurrection brought about a great new hope for all of His disciples, especially because they were filled with fear by the sudden loss of their Lord and Master in such a humiliating and terrible way. They were fearful of the repercussions from the Jewish authorities, all those who have arrested the Lord and sentenced Him to death, sending Him over to the Romans to be crucified, a punishment reserved to the worst of criminals.

As we heard in the Gospel passage today, there were many who witnessed firsthand the resurrection of the Lord, both at the tomb as we heard in today’s Gospel, as well as in the subsequent apparitions of the Risen Lord to His disciples before He ascended into heaven. Yet, the Sanhedrin or the Council of the elders of the Jewish people bribed the guards who also witnessed the resurrection of the Lord, to tell a false story that the disciples had stolen the Lord’s Body and hid Him in order to cover up the truth.

They opposed the Lord and His disciples such that they put a very harsh opposition and even oppression on all those who taught and preached in the Name of Jesus. They forbade all people from mentioning or teaching in His Name, and all these efforts to eradicate the truth of the Lord made many among the disciples to be fearful. They already fled and were scattered right at the moment when the Lord was arrested, and did not dare to stand by Him at the moments of His distress.

Yet, in the first reading today, we heard the great, courageous and wonderful testimony made by St. Peter the Apostle. This is the same St.

Peter who had denied the Lord three times at the night of His agony and suffering, despite his earlier promise that he would even die for the sake of the Lord. But as we heard, St. Peter has been totally transformed by the Holy Spirit, as he and the other Apostles and disciples of the Lord received the promised Spirit of God at the Pentecost.

We saw how St. Peter spoke openly and plainly on the truth that has happened and which Christ has spoken before them all, even when the Sanhedrin, the chief priests, the Pharisees and the opponents of the Lord threatened to take severe actions against them. In various occasions throughout the Book of the Acts of the Apostles, we can see how those same disciples of the Lord who had once fled in fear, had become courageous servants, who even willingly embraced martyrdom for their faith.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore today, as we continue to progress through the season of Easter, we must remind ourselves that we have to follow the examples and the courage of the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord. We have received the same Holy Spirit as they have received, at the time of our Baptism, and for those among us, who have also received the Sacrament of Confirmation, the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us have been affirmed and strengthened.

And we have been called to continue the same mission which the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord have received, and that is to bring forth the truth of God and to bear witness to Him, Our Risen Lord and Saviour, before the people of various nations and origins, that we may truly show, not only by words, but even more importantly, through our every actions and by the sincerity of our attitudes in life, that each and every one of us may inspire many others to also follow us in our journey towards God.

May the Risen Lord Jesus, Our Saviour be with us always, and may He strengthen in us our faith and dedication to Him, that we may endure more patiently the challenges in our lives and that we may do our very best to live our lives in the most Christian way, so that more may come to believe in God, Our Risen Saviour, through us and our exemplary lives. May God bless us always. Amen.