Thursday, 23 April 2020 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. George, Martyr and St. Adalbert, Bishop and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

John 3 : 31-36

At that time, John the Baptist said, “He Who comes from above is above all; he who comes from the earth belongs to the earth, and his words belong to the earth. He Who comes from heaven speaks of the things He has seen and heard; He bears witness to these things, but no one accepts His testimony. Whoever does receive His testimony acknowledges the truthfulness of God.”

“The One sent by God speaks God’s words, and gives the Spirit unstintingly. The Father loves the Son and has entrusted everything into His hands. Whoever believes in the Son lives with eternal life; but he who will not believe in the Son will never know life, and always faces the justice of God.”

Thursday, 23 April 2020 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. George, Martyr and St. Adalbert, Bishop and Martyr (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

Psalm 33 : 2 and 9, 17-18, 19-20

I will bless the Lord all my days; His praise will be ever on my lips. Oh, see and taste the goodness of the Lord! Blessed is the one who finds shelter in Him!

But His face is set against the wicked to destroy their memory from the earth. The Lord hears the cry of the righteous and rescues them from all their troubles.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves the distraught. Many are the troubles of the just, but the Lord delivers them from all.

Thursday, 23 April 2020 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. George, Martyr and St. Adalbert, Bishop and Martyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

Acts 5 : 27-33

So the High Priest and his supporters brought the Apostles in and made them stand before the Council and the High Priest questioned them, “We gave you strict orders not to preach such a Saviour; but you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you intend charging us with the killing of this Man.”

To this Peter and the Apostles replied, “Better for us to obey God rather than any human authority! The God of our ancestors raised Jesus Whom you killed by hanging Him on a wooden post. God set Him at His right hand as Leader and Saviour, to grant repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. We are witnesses to all these things, as well as the Holy Spirit Whom God has given to those who obey Him.

When the Council heard this, they became very angry and wanted to kill them.

Wednesday, 22 April 2020 : 2nd Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we listened to the words of the Scripture, we are reminded of the wonderful love of God by which He will certainly protect us, provide for us and guide us down the right path in life. With God’s love and providence, He has provided for us the assurance of a new life and existence in Him, through none other than His own beloved Son, Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour.

In our first reading today, we heard of the efforts of the Sanhedrin or the Jewish High Council in trying to silence the Apostles and the other followers of the Lord by arresting some among them and putting them into prison hoping that such a harsh and drastic measure would make the followers of Jesus scared and bullied into submission to the orders and demands of the Sanhedrin. They wanted to stop the teachings of Jesus from being spread any further in the community of the people of God.

But they were not successful in doing so because God was with those who were faithful and dedicated to Him. He watched over them and sent His Angels to free them from their bondage in prison. The Angels freed them and brought the Apostles out to safety, and obeying God’s will, those Apostles continued their ministry in the public by the Temple without fear, astounding all of those who thought that they had managed to contain those Apostles and the truth and teachings of Jesus.

And in the Gospel today, the Lord further reiterated this love and commitment He has for us all through that now famous words, ‘For God so loved the world, that He sent His only Begotten Son, that all who believe in Him may not perish, but have eternal life through Him.’ These words are what the Lord spoke to Nicodemus, as the affirmation of God’s infinite love for us, and which had manifested in reality and in the flesh in the very person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Saviour of all.

That God was willing to go to that extent of doing so much for us, giving us the best and the ultimate gift of His love through His Son, is a clear testimony of His enduring love and compassion for us. And it is not just that. Christ came into our world, but He even endured all of the punishments due for our sins, scorned, rejected and humiliated as He went through His Passion, and was lifted up high on the Cross to die for our sake. He endured it all, and gave us all the assurance of eternal life through that.

He has also promised His Apostles that He would send them the Holy Spirit, the Advocate to be their strength and guide even after He had departed from them on His Ascension. And indeed, the Holy Spirit of God came upon them all and gave them the strength and courage to carry out their difficult and challenging missions, and as we heard in our first reading today, the Lord’s assistance and providence for His faithful ones remained throughout, and He showed that He would always be with us all.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, are we willing and able to follow the Lord as how the Apostles had done, and are we willing and able to continue their works as they had shown us in their courage and commitment? The works of the Apostles, their missions and their efforts are still far from being done as the Church and the world today is ever more in need of God and His love, and it is now up to us all to continue the works that the Apostles had started, in bringing God’s truth and love, His light and hope to this troubled and darkened world.

And today, especially in these difficult times that we are facing, in many communities in our world, how are we going to be those beacons of light and hope showing many people who are suffering and in despair that God is still there for them all? Let us be a people filled with hope and the light of God, the Easter people, sharing the faith and hope of the Apostles, who had been guided and strengthened by God in all things. Let us all bring the Easter joy and hope to everyone, that all of us may endure these challenges together, and bring more and more people closer to God and His salvation. Amen.