Tuesday, 12 May 2020 : 5th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Nereus and St. Achilleus, Martyrs and St. Pancras, Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

John 14 : 27-31a

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Peace be with you! I give you My peace; not as the world gives peace do I give it to you. Do not be troubled; do not be afraid. You heard Me say, ‘I am going away, but I am coming to you.’ If you loved Me, you would be glad that I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.”

“I have told you this now before it takes place, so that when it does happen you may believe. It is very little what I may still tell you, for the prince of this world is at hand, although there is nothing in Me that he can claim. But see, the world must know that I love the Father, and that I do what the Father has taught Me to do.”

Tuesday, 12 May 2020 : 5th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Nereus and St. Achilleus, Martyrs and St. Pancras, Martyr (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

Psalm 144 : 10-11, 12-13ab, 21

All Your works will give You thanks; all Your saints, o Lord, will praise You. They will tell of the glory of Your kingdom and speak of Your power.

That all may know of Your mighty deeds, Your reign and its glorious splendour. Your reign is from age to age; Your dominion endures from generation to generation.

Let my mouth speak in praise of the Lord, let every creature bless His holy Name, forever and ever.

Tuesday, 12 May 2020 : 5th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Nereus and St. Achilleus, Martyrs and St. Pancras, Martyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

Acts 14 : 19-28

Then some Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium and turned the people against Paul and Barnabas. They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the town, leaving him for dead. But when his disciples gathered around him, he stood up and returned to the town. And the next day he left for Derbe with Barnabas.

After proclaiming the Gospel in that town and making many disciples, they returned to Lystra and Iconium and on to Antioch. They were strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain firm in the faith, for they said, “We must go through many trials to enter the Kingdom of God.”

In each Church they appointed elders and, after praying and fasting, they commended them to the Lord in Whom they had placed their faith. Then they travelled through Pisidia, and came to Pamphylia. They preached the Word in Perga and went down to Attalia. From there they sailed back to Antioch, where they had first been commended to God’s grace for the task they had now completed.

On their arrival they gathered the Church together and told them all that God had done through them and how He had opened the door of faith to the non-Jews. They spent a fairly long time there with the disciples.

Monday, 11 May 2020 : 5th 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 Sacred Scripture, we are called to renew our faith and devotion to God, to renew our focus and emphasis on the Lord, to turn once again to Him with all of our hearts, to be faithful in all things and at all times. We are all called to put God as the focus and emphasis of our lives that we live our lives with God at the centre and we have to be genuine and firm with our faith and dedication at every moments of our lives.

In our first reading today, we heard of how St. Paul and St. Barnabas had faced difficulties and challenges during their missionary journeys, facing the plots and oppositions from the Jews among the communities who were opposed to their works and their Christian faith. They had to flee and find another place to continue their works, and as they came to Lystra and Derbe in the region known as Lycaonia in what is known as Asia Minor, they encountered another challenge as described in the passage today.

As they performed a miracle that healed a man from his sickness, the whole town came to know about it, and they all heralded both St. Paul and St. Barnabas as the coming of their pagan Greek gods in the human form, namely that of Zeus and Hercules, some of the most popular deities in the pagan Greek mythology, in which the gods frequently came down to the world in human and other forms, and they thought mistakenly that the two Apostles were these gods.

St. Paul and St. Barnabas immediately insisted that they were neither gods or the heralds of the gods as the people thought they were. They refused to accept the offerings, sacrifices and the treatment that they received at the hands of the locals who worshipped them as if they were their gods walking on earth. Instead, they courageously and firmly preached to the people to turn away from their false and useless worship of the pagan idols and gods, and to embrace the one and only true Living God, the One Who created the universe.

The people refused to listen to reason and to the words that St. Paul and St. Barnabas had preached to them, still insisting on offering the two Apostles the sacrifices as if they were their pagan gods to the dismay of both Apostles. This showed us the immense challenges that the Apostles and missionaries of the Lord faced, as they encountered stubborn attitudes and difficult-to-change ways of life throughout their missions and journeys. Yet, as we can see, despite their most wonderful and most royal treatment by the people, the two Apostles remained firm in their conviction and faith.

Certainly as a human being, no one could not have been tempted by such a treatment, being treated like god walking on earth, treated as if they owned the whole world and everything they asked for would have been easily given to them. But St. Paul and St. Barnabas both had the right focus and emphasis in their minds and in their hearts, and that is their unwavering faith and commitment to God. Surely they must have been tempted, but their faith was strong, and they remained committed to spread the truth of God and the Good News.

They have faithfully kept the commandments of God, and they also remained faithful to Him, as the Lord Himself mentioned in our Gospel passage today. Indeed, the Lord showed that those who are faithful in Him will be blessed and God will guide them throughout their journey and works, and that was what St. Paul and St. Barnabas had experienced, that despite their difficulties and challenges, the wisdom and the strength of the Holy Spirit helped them greatly and enabled them to carry on through with their missions.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all now reflect on our own lives. Are we able to follow the Lord faithfully just as how the Apostles had followed Him and dedicated themselves to Him? Are we able to resist the many temptations being present in this world all around us that we will stay faithful despite the challenges and the pressures for us to be unfaithful and to abandon the Lord? We have been entrusted with the same mission to continue the work of the Apostles, to bear forth the truth of God to our fellow men.

Let us all thus be inspired by the courage and faith of the Apostles, and let us strive to dedicate ourselves ever more to God. Let us resist the temptations present in life and this world, and do our very best to follow God with all of our hearts and with all of our strength, putting Him at the very centre of our existence and lives. May the Lord continue to guide us and give us His strength that we will be able to carry on our journey in life faithfully as His true and dedicated witnesses to the nations, like that of the Apostles, saints and martyrs. Amen.