Thursday, 23 May 2019 : 5th Week of Easter (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 us of the commandments of God that He has presented to us and commanded us to do, that is to be the bearers of love, in all the things we say and do, so that towards our fellow men, our brothers and sisters we will always act with charity, with care and compassion to each other, putting best interests of each other at the forefront of our minds.

In the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we heard the continuation of the passage from yesterday’s set of Scripture passages, in which we heard about the bitter division and conflict between the disciples of the Lord, among those who wanted to impose the whole strict observation of the laws of Moses to the rest of the believers and those who wanted to excuse the non-Jewish believers from the strict and tough observation of those laws.

And the Apostles, led by St. Peter mediated the situation, and made all of the faithful to come to a peaceful and harmonious conclusion, in which everyone agreed to a collaborated decision not to enforce the whole strict observation of the laws of Moses to the whole body of the Christian faithful, as long as everyone observed the central tenets of the Christian faith, essentially centred and focused on the commandments that God had given to His people, the commandments of love.

First of all, the laws of Moses itself were founded upon the same foundation, as God has revealed not a different but in fact the same Law through Moses, although imperfect in nature and revelation. The Ten Commandments that God gave to His people through Moses as the Lord Jesus Himself said, could be summarised into the fully revealed commandments that Christ Himself bestowed upon us, that is the love for God and the same love that we need to show our fellow men.

All the whole laws and rules, regulations and customs, practices and actions required by the laws of Moses ultimately stemmed from this core and essential commandment of love. But over time, the practice and the external appearances of these rules and regulations took more and greater importance than the essence and heart of the Law itself, that is love.

Those people who wanted to impose the harsh fullness of the laws of Moses on all the believers wanted to do so because they put the appearances and external applications of the Law over the true obedience and adherence to the Law of God, the Law of love. They have forgotten than God does not seek or desire all those external appellations and excessive showcasing of one’s faith, if love is not present in each and every actions they did.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, now each and every one of us as Christians are also called to reflect on our own lives. Have we been truly bearers of God’s love in our lives, through our every actions, words and deeds? Have we committed ourselves in everything to follow the will of God and to be filled with love in all things, in all that we do and in our every actions? Have we been living our lives thus far with real and genuine faith or have we instead been living our lives lacking in faith?

If we have thus far only obey the Lord externally and not inwardly, meaning that we have followed the rules and precepts of the Church, in attending the Holy Mass and doing what we have been commanded to do, and yet in our hearts God is not truly present, as shown by the lack of genuine love in our lives, then perhaps it is time for us to reevaluate our lives and actions from now on.

Let us all turn towards God with love, and let us all commit ourselves anew to Him with a new courage and commitment to love Him each and every days of our lives, and show the same love towards our fellow brethren. May God bless us and all of our endeavours. Amen.

Thursday, 23 May 2019 : 5th Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 15 : 9-11

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “As the Father has loved Me, so I have loved you. Remain in My love! You will remain in My love if you keep My commandments, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love.

I have told you all this, that My own joy may be in you, and your joy may be complete.”

Thursday, 23 May 2019 : 5th Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 95 : 1-2a, 2b-3, 10

Sing to the Lord a new song, sing to the Lord, all the earth! Sing to the Lord, bless His Name.

Proclaim His salvation day after day. Recall His glory among the nations, tell all the peoples His wonderful deeds.

Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!” He will judge the peoples with justice.

Thursday, 23 May 2019 : 5th Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 15 : 7-21

As the discussions became heated, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that from the beginning God chose me among you so that non-Jews could hear the Good News from me and believe. God, Who can read hearts, put Himself on their side by giving the Holy Spirit to them just as He did to us. He made no distinction between us and them and cleansed their hearts through faith.”

“So why do you want to put God to the test? Why do you lay on the disciples a burden that neither our ancestors nor we ourselves were able to carry? We believe, indeed, that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they are.”

The whole assembly kept silent as they listened to Paul and Barnabas tell of all the miraculous signs and wonders that God had done through them among the non-Jews. After they had finished, James spoke up, “Listen to me, brothers. Symeon has just explained how God first showed His care by taking a people for Himself from non-Jewish nations.”

“And the words of the prophets agree with this, for Scripture says, ‘After this I will return and rebuild the booth of David which has fallen; I will rebuild its ruins and set it up again. Then the rest of humanity will look for the Lord, and all the nations will be consecrated to My Name. So says the Lord, Who does today what He decided from the beginning.'”

“Because of this, I think that we should not make difficulties for those non-Jews who are turning to God. Let us just tell them not to eat food that is unclean from having been offered to idols; to keep themselves from prohibited marriages; and not to eat the flesh of animals that have been strangled, or any blood. For from the earliest times Moses has been taught in every place, and every Sabbath his laws are recalled.”