Friday, 26 April 2019 : Friday within Easter Octave (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 21 : 1-14

At that time, after Jesus appeared to Thomas and His disciples, He revealed Himself to them by the lake of Tiberias. He appeared to them in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas who was called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee and two other disciples were together; and Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They replied, “We will come with you.” And they went out and got into the boat, but they caught nothing that night.

When day had already broken, Jesus was standing on the shore, but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus called them, “Friends, have you anything to eat?” They answered, “Nothing.” Then He said to them, “Throw the net on the right side of the boat and you will find something.” When they had lowered the net, they were not able to pull it in because of the great number of fish.”

Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” At these words, “It is the Lord!” Simon Peter put on his clothes, for he was stripped for work, and jumped into the water. The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish; they were not far from land, about a hundred metres.

When they landed, they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it, and some bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” So Simon Peter climbed into the boat and pulled the net to shore. It was full of big fish – one hundred and fifty-three – but, in spite of this, the net was not torn.

Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” And not one of the disciples dared to ask Him, “Who are You?” for they knew it was the Lord. Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and He did the same with the fish. This was the third time that Jesus revealed Himself to His disciples after rising from the dead.

Friday, 26 April 2019 : Friday within Easter Octave (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 117 : 1-2 and 4, 22-24, 25-27a

Alleluia! Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His loving kindness endures forever. Let Israel say, “His loving kindness endures forever.” Let those who fear the Lord say, “His loving kindness endures forever.”

The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing and we marvel at it. This is the day the Lord has made; so let us rejoice and be glad.

Save us, o Lord, deliver us, o Lord! Blessed is He Who comes in the Lord’s Name! We bless you from the house of the Lord. The Lord is God; may His light shine upon us.

Friday, 26 April 2019 : Friday within Easter Octave (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 4 : 1-12

While Peter and John were still speaking to the people, the priests, the captain of the Temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them. They were greatly disturbed because the Apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming that resurrection from the dead had been proved in the case of Jesus.

Since it was already evening, they arrested them and put them in custody until the following day. But despite this, many of those who heard the Message believed and their number increased to about five thousand. The next day, the Jewish leaders, elders and teachers of the Law assembled in Jerusalem. Annas, the High Priest, Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and all who were of the high priestly class were there.

They brought Peter and John before them and began to question them, “How did you do this? Whose Name did you use?” Then Peter filled with the Holy Spirit, spoke up, “Leaders of the people! Elders! It is a fact that we are being examined today for a good deed done to a cripple. How was he healed? You and all the people of Israel must know that this man stands before you cured through the Name of Jesus Christ the Nazarean.”

“You had Him crucified, but God raised Him from the dead. Jesus is the stone rejected by you the builders which has become the cornerstone. There is no salvation in anyone else, for there is no other Name given to humankind all over the world by which we may be saved.”

Thursday, 25 April 2019 : Thursday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we continue to progress through this holy and blessed season of Easter, celebrating joyfully the glorious resurrection of Our Lord from the dead, and His triumph over darkness, sin and death, all of us are reminded in the Scripture passages of this day, that all of us ought to bear witness to this resurrection, bringing the truth of God’s glorious victory and triumph to all the people.

On this day we listened from the first reading passage taken from the Acts of the Apostles, of the courageous and wisdom-filled defence by St. Peter of his faith in God, before the Sanhedrin, the elite ruling council of the Jewish people and also all who were gathered in the assembly, including many of those who have then just witnessed the miraculous healing of a man who had been crippled from birth, whom St. Peter and St. John had healed in the Name of Jesus.

And the members of the Sanhedrin were outraged that the two Apostles had done such a feat in the presence of all the people, as many saw how the crippled man had been miraculously healed. And the Sanhedrin members threatened and pressured the Apostles not to teach or proclaim in the Name of the Lord Jesus anymore, under the pain of torture and imprisonment. But the Apostles would not be deterred by the threats and opposition, and stood firmly by their faith.

We must remember that St. Peter was an uneducated and illiterate man, a mere fisherman who once made a living at the lake of Galilee with his brother and with his fellow fishermen, most likely poor and of the lower standing in the community’s hierarchy. And yet, if we remember again what he had testified courageously before the whole Sanhedrin and the people, we surely would have been astonished.

He spoke with such clarity, understanding, wisdom and eloquence that no one could have believed that he was just a mere illiterate, uneducated and even uncouth fisherman, who could not have learnt to speak as St. Peter had done. In truth, St. Peter spoke not by his own wisdom or power, but rather through the power and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, which he and the other Apostles have received on the Pentecost day.

Many came to believe in the Lord and in His truth after they have seen all that He has done through His Apostles. But if we look at the Apostles themselves, even though they spoke bravely and courageously before the people, and even suffered and died after all the troubles and challenges that they encountered, they were once cowards and people who had little faith, who fled when the Lord was arrested and put to death.

But the Lord transformed them and changed them, in their mindset, in their thoughts and way of living their lives, and He granted them the power and the strength that allowed them to carry on living their lives despite the challenges, difficulties and obstacles that they had to endure throughout those years when they persevered through the years of ministry, going from places to places and being rejected again and again by those who refused to believe in the truth that they brought with them.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, what all of us must appreciate is the work that God has placed in us through His guiding hands and through the Holy Spirit and wisdom that He has given to us. We have heard and we have discussed how the Apostles were once doubtful and shaky in their faith, and how the Lord changed them and strengthened them. That is how they became so committed and so courageous in giving themselves wholeheartedly to the mission that God has entrusted to them.

And the same thing can also happen to us, if only we allow the Lord to work through us, and to guide us in our actions and in our way of life. Are we open to allow the Lord doing His works through us? Or are we not open and enclosed within ourselves, refusing the Lord’s presence in our lives, and as a result, we continue to do what is wrong and inappropriate, and and we continue to remain in ignorance of God’s wonderful works in our midst?

Let us all reflect on this as we continue to progress through this season of Easter and think in what ways it is that we are going to be able to commit ourselves to the Lord as better Christians, more attuned to His will and more courageous in carrying out the mission which He has entrusted to us. Let us all turn towards the Lord with a new courage in our hearts, to bear witness for His truth and for His resurrection among the people and within the communities in our world. May God bless us all and may He continue to guide us through our journey in life. Amen.