Saturday, 18 April 2020 : Saturday within Easter Octave (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 4 : 13-21

The Jewish leaders, elders and teachers of the Law were astonished at the boldness of Peter and John, considering that they were uneducated and untrained men. They recognised also, that they had been with Jesus, but, as the man who had been cured stood beside them, they could make no reply.

So they ordered them to leave the council room while they consulted with one another. They asked, “What shall we do with these men? Everyone who lives in Jerusalem knows that a remarkable sign has been given through them, and we cannot deny it. But to stop this from spreading any further among the people, let us warn them never again to speak to anyone in the Name of Jesus.”

So they called them back and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the Name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s eyes for us to obey you rather than God. We cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

Then the council threatened them once more and let them go. They could find no way of punishing them because of the people who glorified God for what happened.

Friday, 17 April 2020 : Friday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we continue celebrating the Easter joy, we are brought to reflect on what we have been called to do as Christians, all who believed in Christ and His truth, His resurrection and glory, and the salvation which He has promised to all of us. In our first reading today we heard how the Apostles faced stiff opposition from the members of the Sanhedrin or the Jewish High Council. Then in the Gospel we heard of the appearance of the Lord Jesus before His disciples in Galilee.

In the first reading, we heard how the Apostles were brought before the Sanhedrin after they healed a crippled man by the gate of the Temple of Jerusalem, and made many people to believe in Jesus and His truth and teachings. This, coupled with the baptism of over three thousand people at Pentecost were seen as a great threat by many of the members of the Sanhedrin, many of whom were the members of the Pharisees and the elders who viewed the Lord Jesus as a fraud and a threat to their authority and power.

That was why the Sanhedrin interrogated the Apostles and were hostile against them as many of the Sanhedrin tried to prevent the teachings and works of Christ from spreading any further among the people. But the Apostles could not be silenced and they spoke with such great wisdom and courage that they stunned the members of the Sanhedrin who knew that the Apostles were merely uneducated fishermen of Galilee following Jesus. What they did not know is that the Lord had given His disciples the strength and wisdom through the Holy Spirit.

And it was with great courage therefore the Apostles spoke of the Lord’s resurrection and their faith in Him as they have themselves seen the Lord risen from the dead with their very own eyes on several occasions, one of which was described in our Gospel today. In that passage, we heard of the Lord appearing by the shore of the lake of Galilee, initially not recognised by His disciples who were in the boats looking for the fishes. The disciples initially could not find any fishes, but when they followed the Lord’s instructions, immediately they caught plenty of fishes and then they recognised the Lord.

Through what we have heard in our Scripture passages today, therefore we are reminded of what the Lord had called us to do, to go forth to the nations and gather the people of God in His Church. What we heard in the Gospel is the symbolic representation and revelation of what the Lord had called His Church and all of His faithful ones to do, namely to be witnesses to their faith and to the salvation in Christ, by being ‘fishers of men’, alluding to the disciples catching the large number of fishes in the lake by the Lord’s instruction.

The Church is often represented with a boat, and in that occasion, the boat the disciples were in represented the Church of God, with the disciples as the leaders of the Church at the helm. Those multitudes of fishes were those that God had gathered through His Church, with the number one hundred and thirty-three representing the traditional belief of the number of nations and peoples that God had created in this world, from the descendants of men.

Therefore, essentially the message that we have received is that all of us are part of this Church, and as we are members of this Church, we also share the responsibility and the calling to reach out to our fellow men, to all those who have not yet heard of the Lord’s salvation and truth. And the readings also remind us that we are bound to encounter challenges and difficulties, obstacles and even persecutions as how the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord were persecuted for their steadfastness in faith and their refusal to back down from ministering to the people of God amidst the threats from the Sanhedrin and other authorities.

But we do not need to worry since ultimately, God is and will always be with us in our journey. As He was always with His Apostles and disciples throughout their ministry and journeys, and with His guidance, all of us and His Church will be in good hands, as He guided His followers in standing up courageously for their faith and proclaim the truth of God to every ends of the earth. The Lord gave them the strength and wisdom to do so, and in the same way we too will be provided for.

Are we able to devote ourselves in the same way as the Apostles had done? They had brought God’s light and hope to a darkened world, and they had restored the hope of many and brought many closer to the path of salvation. Are we able to do the same in our own respective communities as well, in bringing hope to our world especially since so many people suffered through numerous challenges this year alone. Are we able to bring consolation and happiness once again to those who are sorrowful and despairing?

Let us all spend some time to reflect on our calling as Christians in life, and discern how we can best give our lives in the service of God and His people alike. Let us all be the bearers of God’s Good News and also His fishers of men, encouraging more people to believe in God through our own faith and commitment from now on. May God bless us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

Friday, 17 April 2020 : 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, 17 April 2020 : 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.