Thursday, 7 May 2020 : 4th Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 13 : 16-20

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly, I say to you, the servant is not greater than his master, nor is the messenger greater than he who sent him. Understand this, and blessed are you, if you put it into practice.”

“I am not speaking of you all, because I know the ones I have chosen, and the Scripture has to be fulfilled that says : The one who shared My table has risen against Me. I tell you this now before it happens, so that when it does happen, you may know that I am He.”

“Truly, I say to you, whoever welcomes the one I send, welcomes Me; and whoever welcomes Me, welcomes the One Who sent Me.”

Thursday, 7 May 2020 : 4th Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 88 : 2-3, 21-22, 25 and 27

I will sing forever, o Lord, of Your love and proclaim Your faithfulness from age to age. I will declare how steadfast is Your love, how firm Your faithfulness.

I have found David My servant, and with My holy oil I have anointed him. My hand will be ever with him and My arm will sustain.

My faithfulness and love will be with him, and by My help he will be strong. He will call on Me, ‘You are my Father, my God, my Rock, my Saviour.’

Thursday, 7 May 2020 : 4th Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 13 : 13-25

From Paphos, Paul and his companions set sail and came to Perga in Pamphylia. There John left them and returned to Jerusalem, while they went on from Perga and came to Antioch in Pisidia. On the Sabbath day they entered the synagogue and sat down. After the reading of the Law and the Prophets, the officials of the synagogue sent this message to them, “Brothers, if you have any word of encouragement for the assembly, please speak up.”

So Paul arose, motioned to them for silence and began, “Fellow Israelites and also all you who fear God, listen. The God of our people Israel chose our ancestors, and after He had made them increase during their stay in Egypt, He led them out by powerful deeds.”

“For forty years He fed them in the desert, and after He had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, He gave them their land as an inheritance. All this took four hundred and fifty years. After that, he gave them Judges until Samuel the prophet. Then they asked for a king and God gave them Saul, son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, and he was king for forty years.”

“After that time, God removed him and raised up David as king, to whom He bore witness saying : ‘I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all I want him to do.’ It is from the descendants of David that God has now raised up the promised Saviour of Israel, Jesus.”

“Before He appeared, John proclaimed a baptism of repentance for all the people of Israel. As John was ending his life’s work, he said : ‘I am not what you think I am, for after me another One is coming Whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.'”

Wednesday, 6 May 2020 : 4th Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day let us all spend some time to reflect on what we have just heard from the passages of the Sacred Scriptures, in which we are called to have that genuine and strong faith in God, to be passionate and dedicated in how we live our lives so that we may truly be examples and inspiration for each other in our way of living our faith. We are called to devote our time and attention to the Lord in our daily living as best as we can.

In our first reading today, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, we heard about the work of the Apostles especially that of St. Paul and St. Barnabas in going to various places in the Eastern Mediterranean region, as they went to the various Jewish and Gentile communities to spread the Good News of God to all of them. The Lord gave them the strength, courage and wisdom to carry out His will and the mission entrusted to them, and the Apostles and other disciples prayed over all the missionaries before they embarked on their journey.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, what we have heard in our Scripture passages today highlight how all those very dedicated and committed servants of God laboured for the sake of the Lord and His Church during the early days of the Church. Unlike today, at that time, most places that the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord visited were truly places where the Lord, the faith and His truth were still completely ignorant of the truth of God, full of pagan practices and in some cases even immorality.

It was indeed very difficult for the Apostles and all the missionaries to carry out their missions, as they had to contend with various obstacles and challenges throughout their journey. They had to risk a lot during their mission and their journey, just as the other Christians also often had to hide and persevere through many persecutions against them. Yet, all of them seemed to be passionate and committed regardless, and there does not seem to be any logical reasons for those many martyrs of the faith who chose to remain faithful even to the point of facing death.

And that is because they know that they belong to the Lord, and the Lord will always be by their side and will be faithful to the Covenant which He has made with all of them. God is always loving and committed to us, and we can indeed trust Him and put our lives in His hands. That was what those early Christians had in their minds and in their hearts whenever they were going through tribulations and difficult challenges. They trusted the Lord and followed Him wherever He guided them to.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, even till this very day, all these still hold true, as we are God’s people and He is our Lord and Shepherd. And the fact is that the works of the Apostles and the missionaries of the Lord are far from over. In fact, in our world today there remain an even greater need for the Lord’s truth to be brought to all the peoples of all the nations. Many people are still living in ignorance of God’s truth, and this apply even, sadly, to those within the Church and many of those who call themselves as Christians.

Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ, at present, there are plenty of lukewarm attitude in how many among us Christians are living our lives and our faith. We treat the faith as nothing more important than a side activity, or even as a chore and formality, something that should not have been the case. But this is the sad reality and truth, knowing how so many among us treat the Lord and our Christian faith with such lukewarmness, apathy, ignorance and even disdain. It is sad that quite a few treat their faith as nothing more than a formality.

This is why, in these days we are living now, we have this same challenge facing the Church and all of us, to continue the works of the Apostles in being the bearers of the Good News and the Lord’s truth in our world today, even among our own Christian communities. We are all called to be the good and faithful witnesses of our faith to our fellow brothers and sisters, by living our lives with genuine commitment to our Christian faith and following what the Lord has commanded and taught us to do.

We have to be faithful ourselves if we want to convince others to be faithful. That is why we are called today to reflect on the faith of our many predecessors, all those Christians who had endured such difficult persecutions and challenges, and all those missionaries and bringers of the truth of the Gospel who had laboured hard for the sake of God and His Church in this world. Are we able to follow in their footsteps, brothers and sisters in Christ? Are we willing to commit ourselves and our lives for the Lord?

Let us all discern carefully then on what we all can do from now on to spread the Good News of God, His truth and His salvation to all the peoples. May the Lord be with us in our journey of faith and may He help us with our efforts, guide us in our path and help direct our efforts, that in everything we do, we will always bring glory to the Lord and bring ever more souls to salvation in God, through His Church. Amen.