Tuesday, 4 June 2019 : 7th 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 speaking to us about the glorification of God by the works of the Lord Jesus and His Apostles, who fulfilled the many wonderful works that God had planned for the salvation of His beloved people. The Lord Jesus prayed to His heavenly Father in our Gospel passage today, in continuation of the Scriptural discourses of the past few weekdays on prayer.

And in today’s portion as mentioned, the Lord Jesus spoke of the glorification of God as the Son of God would soon glorify the Father by what He was about to do, in perfect obedience and following what the Lord has willed, that for the salvation of the world, the Son of God and Saviour of the world had to suffer, to bear the pains of the Cross which are the suffering and the burden of the sins of mankind.

Yet, it was precisely by humbling Himself so completely and by obeying His Father’s will so completely that the Lord Jesus accomplished exactly what the Lord has planned for the salvation of His people. The Lord Jesus took up willingly the heavy burden of the Cross so that by His humble obedience, He might reverse the damage and harm that sin had done to each and every one of us, and glorify God in all things.

Perhaps we will be better able to appreciate all these if we understand them in the context of how we mankind fell into sin in the first place. All creation, including Adam and Eve, the first of mankind were created without blame or blemish, and sin once did not have any hold over them. But temptation got the better of them and caused them to disobey God’s commands and will, and sin therefore entered into the hearts and minds of man, corrupting them and making them unworthy.

That is why the Lord crafted a remedy for us through none other than another Man, Who showed perfect obedience to God instead of obedience to the will and desire of man as Adam and Eve had done in succumbing to the temptations of the devil. Yes, in His humanity, the Lord Jesus was also tempted to give up the enormous task that He had to undertake as what the Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane showed us, but He remained completely obedient to His Father’s will, and thus becoming the New Adam, through Whom salvation came to our fallen race.

Ultimately, we should see and realise that sin came about because the desire in our hearts and minds to glorify ourselves and to bring satisfaction and joy to ourselves. It is selfishness, pride and greed that often lead us down the path of disobedience and sin. Instead, Christ and His Apostles offered us another path, the path of selflessness and obedience to God, which they showed by their own examples.

In our first reading today, we heard of the words that St. Paul spoke to the assembled elders of the people of God in Ephesus, which he made as a farewell just before he was about to embark on his last journey to Jerusalem to be tried for his crimes against the authorities. From Jerusalem, St. Paul would go on to Rome where he would finally be martyred, and he spoke based on his many experiences of being ridiculed and rejected, oppressed and made to suffer because of his faith and obedience to God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us should learn from the examples shown by the Apostles and by the Lord, in their obedience to God’s will in all the things they do and in all that they had to endure because of their obedience and faith. Are we able to follow in their footsteps, brothers and sisters in Christ? Are we able to persevere as they had persevered despite the pains and troubles they had to endure?

Let us all put our trust in God, knowing that if we glorify Him by our commitment and obedience, we will be in God’s good hands. Let us all turn wholeheartedly to Him from now on, and dedicate ourselves to Him, all the days of our lives. May God bless us all and our every endeavours. Amen.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019 : 7th Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 17 : 1-11a

At that time, after Jesus said all that He had said to His disciples, He lifted up His eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come! Give glory to Your Son, that the Son may give glory to You. You have given Him power over all humanity, so that He may give eternal life to all those You entrusted to Him. For this is eternal life : to know You, the only true God, and the One You sent, Jesus Christ.”

“I have glorified You on earth and finished the work that You gave Me to do. Now, Father, give Me, in Your presence, the same glory I had with You before the world began. I have made Your Name known to those You gave Me from the world. They were Yours, and You gave them to Me, and they kept Your word. And now they know that whatever You entrusted to Me, is indeed from You.”

“I have given them the teaching I received from You, and they received it, and know in truth that I came from You; and they believe that You sent Me. I pray for them. I do not pray for the world, but for those who belong to You, and whom You have given to Me. Indeed all I have is Yours and all You have is Mine; and now they are My glory.”

“I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I come to You.”

Tuesday, 4 June 2019 : 7th Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 67 : 10-11, 20-21

Then You gave a rain of blessings to comfort Your weary children. Your people found a dwelling and in Your mercy, o God, You provided for the needy.

Blessed be the Lord, God our Saviour, Who daily bears our burdens! Ours is a God Who saves; our Lord lets us escape from death.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019 : 7th Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 20 : 17-27

From Miletus Paul sent word to Ephesus, summoning the elders of the Church. When they came to him, he addressed them, “You know how I lived among you from the first day I set foot in the province of Asia, how I served the Lord in humility through the sorrows and trials that the Jews caused me.”

“You know that I never held back from doing anything that could be useful for you; I spoke publicly and in your homes, and I urged Jews and non-Jews alike to turn to God and believe in our Lord Jesus.”

“But now I am going to Jerusalem, chained by the Spirit, without knowing what will happen to me there. Yet in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that imprisonment and troubles await me. Indeed I put no value on my life, if only I can finish my race and complete the service to which I have been assigned by the Lord Jesus, to announce the Good News of God’s grace.”

“I now feel sure that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom of God will ever see me again. Therefore I declare to you this day that my conscience is clear with regard to all of you. For I have spared no effort in fully declaring to you God’s will.”

Monday, 3 June 2019 : 7th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyrs (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we recall God’s wonderful love and providence for all of us, His beloved ones, as we heard of His wonderful promise of peace and deliverance by His very own words. God will not abandon His beloved and faithful ones to the darkness, and He will protect them from harm that causes eternal suffering and destruction. Yet, at the same time, we are also reminded that suffering is a real part of our lives, and we cannot expect to have a life that is free from troubles and difficulties.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, suffering and challenges are part and parcel of our Christian life, for just as the Lord Himself has suffered grievously at the hands of His enemies and all those who refused to believe in Him, so will all of us suffer at the hands of those who reject the message of God’s truth. That was how the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord, the saints and martyrs of the Church have suffered throughout the history of the Church.

And yet, they remained strong and courageous in their faith, committed and sincere in their dedication, knowing that God was definitely by their side. Otherwise, it would have not been possible for them to remain so resolute, committed and dedicated in their love for God. For their trust and faith in God was strong such that even temptations and pressures of the world could not shake them and remove them from their faith.

And today we recall the memories of some of those faithful saints, the holy martyrs of the Church in Uganda, during the time when the missionaries and the laity in what is now Uganda suffered persecution and martyrdom at the hands of the enemies of the Church and the faithful, remembering the courage and the zeal which they showed even amidst assurance of suffering, trials and certain death.

St. Charles Lwanga and his many companions, the martyrs of the Church in Uganda have shown great courage and dedication to the Lord, in the work they have performed among the people, the faith which they have shown and the exemplary lives they have led. St. Charles Lwanga was the chief page of the king of Buganda, a major constituent of present day Uganda and the largest local kingdom, who received the truth of God and became a convert to the faith.

The king and his nobles were against the efforts of the Christian missionaries and persecuted those missionaries and the converts of the faith in the kingdom, and this also led to the suffering and martyrdom of St. Charles Lwanga and many others whom he converted on his own. Led by the courage of St. Charles Lwanga, the faithful martyrs declared their faith and commitment to God before the king, who ordered them to be killed.

Many of the martyrs, including St. Charles Lwanga was martyred by burning alive in the place of their execution, on which now stands a great Basilica of the Uganda Martyrs commemorating the courage of their faith as examples for us all and for all Christians throughout generations to come. St. Charles Lwanga and all his companions are truly great examples and inspirations for us, in how we ought to live our Christian lives truly and meaningfully in today’s world.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, are we able to follow their courage and willingness to commit to God and His ways? There will be plenty of occasions when we may have to stand up for our faith and for our dedication to the Lord amidst rejection and opposition from the world. Are we able to follow the examples of the saints and the martyrs in this? Are we able to live our lives with God at the very centre of our lives?

May God be with us always, and may He strengthen our faith each and every days of our life. May God be with us and may He grant us the strength and the courage to live our lives faithfully from now on, following the examples of the holy Ugandan martyrs. Holy Martyrs of Uganda, St. Charles Lwanga and companions, pray for us sinners. Amen.

Monday, 3 June 2019 : 7th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyrs (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

John 16 : 29-33

At that time, the disciples said to Jesus, “Now You are speaking plainly and not in veiled language! Now we see that You know all things, even before we question You. Because of this we believe that You came from God.”

Jesus answered them, “You say that you believe? The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each one to his home, and you will leave Me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with Me. I have told you all this, so that in Me you may have peace. You will have trouble in the world; but courage! I have overcome the world.”

Monday, 3 June 2019 : 7th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyrs (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 67 : 2-3, 4-5ac, 6-7ab

Arise, o God, scatter Your enemies; let Your foes flee before You. As smoke is blown by the wind, so blow them away; as wax melts before the fire, so let the wicked perish before You.

But let the righteous be glad and exult before God; let them sing to God and shout for joy. Sing to God, sing praises to His Name; the Lord is His Name. Rejoice in His presence.

Father of orphans and Protector of widows – such is our God is His holy dwelling. He gives shelter to the homeless, sets the prisoners free.