Tuesday, 14 April 2020 : 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, 13 April 2020 : Monday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard of the great courage of the Apostle St. Peter as he addressed the whole community of the Israelites gathered in Jerusalem filled with the Holy Spirit and wisdom of God. He testified before all of them gathered on the truth of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, Who then was just crucified not long before and then according to the testimony of the disciples, had risen from the dead and ascended into Heaven.

According to the accounts and stories spread by the elders and the chief priests, the disciples had gone to steal the Body of the Lord from the tomb and hid Him, and claimed that He had risen from the dead. This was their attempt in trying to prevent the teachings of the Lord and His works from being spread much further. Yet, because the Lord was with His faithful ones and because He had sent to them His Holy Spirit at Pentecost, they were all filled with the joy and wisdom of the Holy Spirit, praising God and spoke openly about the truth.

Led by St. Peter, who courageously and openly proclaimed the truth of God’s salvation, the Apostles and the other disciples of the Lord spoke of God’s love and wonders, and called them all to accept the salvation which the Lord had brought into this world through His Son, Jesus Christ. That was truly a difficult undertaking, and also a risky one, considering that before the Holy Spirit descended unto them, the disciples hid in fear being afraid of the tough reprisal from the Jewish High Council.

But they all received courage and strength from God, and faithfully they carried out the will of God, as they ventured forth, beginning from Jerusalem and going beyond to many places proclaiming the Good News and the Gospel to various people and communities who wanted to listen to the revelation of the salvation in God, His love and His compassionate mercy. God has given them this strength, and He has then given us all the same strength as well through His Holy Spirit.

This is where we need to realise that all of us as Christians have been entrusted by God with the mission and the responsibility to propagate the truth and the message of salvation to all. We have been called to be the bearers of Easter joy and hope to our fellow men, in our respective communities and places, to bring hope and strength to all those who are downtrodden and living in fear and darkness, that they too may come to see the light of God.

In our world today, we have many people who are now suffering and in trouble because of the various troubles we are now facing. Besides the terrible pandemic that are still claiming many people’s lives each day and making many more dying at the same time, there had also been many other societal problems and issues, unemployment and socio-economic, racial tensions within various countries and communities around the whole world. That is why it is important that as Christians we become the beacons of God’s hope and light in these difficult times.

This means that we should bring hope to the hearts of others through our words and actions. We should also encourage others who are down, journey with those who are lonely and in despair, and show them that in God, there is still hope and light going forward, no matter how difficult and dark the times and situations may seem to be. Let us all bring strength and courage to our fellow brethren, like what St. Peter and the other Apostles had done, in delivering God’s truth to the people.

May the Risen Lord be with us always, and may He guide us all that we may truly become genuine Christians, all the followers of Christ, our faith and trust in God shown as good examples for all others. May all of us be fruitful in our daily actions and lives that we may bring more and more souls of God’s people, our fellow brothers and sisters to salvation and to rejuvenate hope and light in the hearts of many people now currently suffering and in despair. May God bless us all in our many good endeavours, now and always. Amen.

Monday, 13 April 2020 : Monday within Easter Octave (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 28 : 8-15

At that time, the woman left the tomb at once in fear, yet with great joy, and they ran to tell the news to Jesus’ disciples. Suddenly, He met them on the way and said, “Rejoice!” The women approached Him, embraced His feet and worshipped Him. But Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid! Go and tell My brothers to set out for Galilee; there they will see Me.”

While the women were on their way, the guards returned to the city, and some of them reported to the chief priests all that had happened. The chief priests met with the elders, and decided to give the soldiers a large sum of money, with this instruction, “Say that His disciples came by night while you were asleep, and stole the Body of Jesus. If Pilate comes to know of this, we will explain the situation and keep you out of trouble.”

The soldiers accepted the money and did as they were told. This story has circulated among the Jews until this day.

Monday, 13 April 2020 : Monday within Easter Octave (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 15 : 1-2a and 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11

Keep me safe, o God, for in You I take refuge. I say to the Lord, “O Lord, my inheritance and my cup, my chosen portion – hold secure my lot.”

I bless the Lord Who counsels me; even at night my inmost self instructs me. I keep the Lord always before me; for with Him at my right hand, I will never be shaken.

My heart, therefore, exults, my soul rejoices; my body too will rest assured. For You will not abandon my soul to the grave, nor will You suffer Your Holy One to see decay in the land of the dead.

You will show me the path of life, in Your presence the fullness of joy, at Your right hand happiness forever.

Monday, 13 April 2020 : Monday within Easter Octave (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 2 : 14, 22-33

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven and, with a loud voice, addressed them, “Fellow Jews and all foreigners now staying in Jerusalem, listen to what I have to say. Fellow Israelites, listen to what I am going to tell you about Jesus of Nazareth. God accredited Him and through Him did powerful deeds and wonders and signs in your midst, as you well know.”

“You delivered Him to sinners to be crucified and killed, and in this way the purpose of God from all times was fulfilled. But God raised Him to life and released Him from the pain of death, because it was impossible for Him to be held in the power of death. David spoke of Him when He said : I saw the Lord before me at all times; He is by my side, that I may not be shaken.”

“Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue rejoiced; my body too will live in hope. Because You will not forsake me in the abode of the dead, nor allow Your Holy One to experience corruption. You have made known to me the paths of life, and Your presence will fill me with joy.”

“Friends, I do not need to prove that the patriarch David died and was buried; his tomb is with us to this day. But he knew that God had sworn to him that One of his descendants would sit upon his throne and, as he was a prophet, he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah. So he said that He would not be left in the region of the dead, nor would His Body experience corruption.

This Messiah is Jesus and we are all witnesses that God raised Him to life. He has been exalted at God’s right side and the Father has entrusted the Holy Spirit to Him; this Spirit He has just poured upon us as you now see and hear.

Sunday, 12 April 2020 : Easter Sunday of the Lord’s Resurrection (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Sunday we finally enter into the glorious season of Easter after all the preparations we have gone through during the season of Lent, the forty days of penitential and sorrowful preparation of our minds, hearts and souls to welcome the Lord, to be with Him and to glorify Him this Easter. On this Sunday we celebrate the great moment of our Lord’s resurrection, when He rose gloriously from the tomb, showing us all that death and therefore sin has no more power and hold over us.

As we enter into this great season of Easter, we are all called to get rid of ourselves all sorts of earthly worries and concerns, and yearn for the things that are above and beyond, which God has promised to us. In our second reading today, this is exactly what St. Paul wrote to the Church and the faithful in Colossae, as he exhorted all of them to seek heavenly things through Christ and set their sights on these, as we have shared in His death and will also share in His glorious resurrection.

It is this very important core tenet of our faith that St. Peter spoke about in his words to the family of the Roman centurion Cornelius, who desired to know the truth of the Lord Jesus, the Risen Lord and Saviour. St. Peter spoke with the zeal of faith and with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit revealing before them all the Risen Lord, Who had suffered and died, and yet rose in glory and brought the same hope of salvation and liberation to all of us mankind who are still ensnared and enslaved by the power of sin.

That is why today we are all called to focus our attention on the Risen Lord, and to put our complete faith and trust in Him. We should no longer be fearful or be filled with despair, as it is exactly the devil’s plan that he made us to fear and to be filled with despair and uncertainty that we end up being unable to comprehend, realise and appreciate God’s wonderful mercy and love towards us. He wants us to be irrational and to fall deeper into our sinful ways, and therefore fail to achieve redemption from God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, at the Evening Mass of the Easter Sunday today we also heard the account of the Lord with the two disciples on the way to Emmaus, a village near Jerusalem. Those two disciples went to Emmaus debating and being unsure of what to make of the events they had just witnessed in Jerusalem, with their Lord and Master Jesus having been condemned to death by the chief priests and the elders, and was crucified to death. But they have also heard about the Resurrection and they were still not sure and could not believe of such a thing.

The Lord appeared before them but they did not recognise Him for they still did not have faith in the Resurrection and they still had their doubts, and the Lord walked with them, revealing and teaching to them His truth. He encouraged them and gave them strength by explaining to them the truth of the Scriptures, telling them all that everything has happened as how the prophets had revealed it in the years past, and that Jesus indeed was the Saviour that they all had waited for, and they must have faith in Him.

Subsequently, when those two disciples eventually recognised Jesus they became courageous witnesses of the Lord’s Resurrection, telling everyone passionately about how they had seen the Risen Lord, and how He had not died but risen from the dead, and they made everyone who heard them convinced that the Lord had indeed triumphed and conquered death. That was what St. Peter had also done in our first reading as we discussed it earlier on.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, more importantly for us all as we enter into this season of Easter, all of us must be ready to accept what the Lord had called us to do, and that is to follow Him and to trust in Him, and to carry out the mission which He has entrusted to us, to go forth into the world and to proclaim the salvation of God, by being witnesses of His Resurrection like what St. Peter the Apostle and what the two disciples whom the Lord met on the way to Emmaus had done.

It is also very important that all of us take this seriously and embark on what we have been called to do, especially because we know just how dark and dire the situation had been this year, and how many of us had had a particularly difficult year this time round. We have definitely been preoccupied much by the current pandemic and many other troubles all around us, all the economic instabilities, socio-economic problems and other challenges and difficulties we may be encountering.

However, we must not give in to fear, and we must still strive and do our best because we ought to have faith in God. As we celebrate His Resurrection and triumph over sin and death today, we have to bring forth this joy and optimism, faith and trust in the Lord’s providence with us in our own lives and within our own communities. That is why all of us have to be the bearers of God’s hope and light within our own communities, that we bring this Easter joy to all those who are despairing and in darkness.

Are we able to commit ourselves to this great work of evangelisation and also to witness to our faith through our actions towards our fellow brothers and sisters? Let us bring hope to this world when there is despair and hopelessness, and let us bring love and kindness when there is hatred and animosity among us. Let us show compassion towards those who are suffering, caring for those who are in need of love and attention. Let us brighten the days of those who have lost their way and hope amidst these dark and terrible times.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all truly be filled with Easter joy and commit ourselves to be better Christians in all things. Let us live through this season of Easter and do our very best to make it truly a most meaningful time, growing in faith and become ever deeper in our own devotion towards God. May the Risen Lord Jesus bless us with the strength and courage to live our faith as good and most faithful Christians. Amen.