Sunday, 17 May 2020 : Sixth Sunday of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday is the sixth Sunday in the Season of Easter, as we quickly approach the end of this blessed season and time, with the Solemnity of the Ascension coming up within the week, and the Solemnity of the Pentecost coming very soon as well. On this Sunday therefore our attention is brought to the promise of God’s Holy Spirit that He has made to His disciples and which we have therefore received through the same Apostles and disciples of the Lord, passed down through God’s Church.

In our first reading today taken from the Acts of the Apostles we heard of the work of St. Philip, one of the Twelve Apostles who went to the land and region of Samaria in between Judea and Galilee, and preached there about the truth and salvation in Jesus Christ, and many came to believe in the Lord. And as described, when the Apostles in Jerusalem heard about the conversions of the Samaritans, some of the Apostles, St. Peter and St. John went over there to pray over the newly converted Samaritans and laid their hands on them, giving them the same gift of the Holy Spirit they have received at Pentecost.

The same Holy Spirit has therefore been passed down from the hands of the Apostles to all the faithful people of God, and from the Apostles to their successors, the bishops and priests of the Church who then in turn pass down the same Holy Spirit to the faithful down the many generations since the early days of the Church to this very day. We have received the same Holy Spirit through our Sacrament of Baptism, when we were baptised like that of the Samaritans, in the Name of the Blessed Trinity of Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, and then sealed by the Sacrament of Confirmation.

In our second reading today, from the Epistle of St. Peter, we heard of the Apostle exhorting the faithful to remain true to their faith in God, to keep the tenets of their faith and to be strong amidst the pressure to leave behind their faith and the temptation to abandon their God. The Apostle exhorted the faithful to be genuine in their faith, to be virtuous and righteous in their words, actions and deeds so that all those who slandered and oppressed them would be ashamed and humiliated by their own wickedness and evil.

St. Peter therefore called on all of us as Christians to be active in living up to our faith, to be faithful in all things and deeds that everyone who hear us, witness us and interact with us may know that we are Christians, that we belong to God and are His people, and that we are who we say we are, faithful and dedicated to do the will of God at all times. Otherwise, how can we then call ourselves as Christians? And if we do not sincerely practice our faith, we will end up scandalising it, as others will then then be able to point our faithlessness and lukewarm attitude.

The Lord Jesus put it plainly before all of us in our Gospel passage today, that if we truly love Him, we will keep His commandments and do the will of His Father, and that is to love God with all of our hearts, with all of our might and with all of our efforts and attention. If we truly love God, then we will also love our brothers and sisters, regardless of who they are and how close they are to us, and we will love them through all our actions, caring for them and showing them the same love and compassion that God has shown us all.

This is what is meant for us to be Christians, and to be faithful in our calling as God’s own beloved people. If we are not able to do this, or unwilling to do what the Lord has called us to do, then we cannot call ourselves as Christians. Unfortunately, this is what many among us who call ourselves as Christians are doing in our lives. We carry on our lives treating our Christian faith as merely a formality, just as a badge or name on paper only, and not living with sincere desire and love for God.

Many of us even had to drag ourselves to go to Mass every Sunday, and many more even attended Mass only on Easter and Christmas, and some did not even attend any Mass or faith activities at all! This is the sad state and reality about our faith, which had been happening in the past many years and decades. However, the good news is that in recent years, there had been a surge of hope as more and more Christians, especially the younger generation, began to take their faith much more seriously again. They began to attend the Holy Mass with regularity and genuine desire to know more of the Lord and to love Him.

More and more people are beginning to wake up from their slumber in their faith lives, as they began to take a more active and dedicated approach in their lives to follow the Lord. More and more people begin to seek for God, desire for His love and love Him again with greater sincerity of heart. This is what all of us must embrace too, brothers and sisters in Christ. God has called us to Himself, and He has shown us the path and He has also bestowed upon us the gift of the Holy Spirit to help and guide, to lead us down the path of truth and hope.

Are we willing to follow this path shown to us, brothers and sisters in Christ? Are we willing to live our lives from now on with Christian sincerity and dedication? The choice is ours alone, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we can choose whether we want to continue to be lukewarm with our faith, to be unfaithful and treating our faith as no more than a nuisance and chore, or whether we want to embrace our faith with zeal and sincere commitment, to walk down the path that God has shown us?

In our current time and day, we are still enduring the painful effects of the various tragedies we have been encountering all these past few weeks and months, particularly the still dangerous threat of the coronavirus pandemic. As of today, over four million people had contracted the disease, and while over one and a half million had recovered, but almost three hundred thousand people had lost their lives, and millions more are still hospitalised and some among them fighting for their lives.

And many tens of millions of people if not more are threatened in their income and employment. Many had lost their precious work and many had to endure significant difficulties in searching for new job, while others had to work extra hard because they are in the frontline and healthcare efforts to combat this pandemic. Others had to endure significant pay cuts or suspension in their pay, and thus worry about how they will feed and take care of their loved ones.

Now, what are we going to do then? How do we live our lives as Christians and indeed, genuine Christians during these difficult and dark moments? It is by showing genuine love for our fellow brothers and sisters, to share hope and encouragement with one another, rather than to act selfishly or to stoke hatred for certain groups of people or individuals. We have heard and read of quite a few sad story of how the current crises led to increase in incidents of racism and attacks against certain group of people, certain acts of ostracising and unfair treatments and judgments of our fellow men, among others.

We have also heard how people acted irresponsibly and selfishly, hoarding essential goods and materials, just so that they could save themselves and get what they wanted, but with disregard for the need of others. And it is the sad truth that not few Christians were among those who have committed all these irresponsible, unjust, and indeed, most un-Christian behaviour. And this is therefore a reminder for each and every one of us that we must not adopt this kind of attitude ourselves.

Rather than spreading hatred, injustice and bitterness, we are called and indeed challenged to spread love, justice and compassion instead. When our hearts and minds are tempted to be selfish in our actions, to be angry at other people and to fear for our safety and our livelihood, to despise and to be filled with despair, let us all remember that God is always there for us, by our side, as our Hope and our Strength, as our Anchor in this most uncertain and darkest moment of our lives.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us bring with us this Hope we have in God, the trust we have in His love and providence, and let us share it with everyone around us. Let us be the beacons of God’s light and hope, brightening the lives of others around us, helping our brothers and sisters to overcome their fears and despair. Let us all be true Christians at all times and bear rich fruits of the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. May the Lord be with us always and bless our every good endeavours. Amen.

Sunday, 17 May 2020 : Sixth Sunday of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 14 : 15-21

Jesus said to His disciples, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments; and I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper to be with you forever, that Spirit of truth Whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He is with you and will be in you.”

“I will not leave you orphans, I am coming to you. A little while and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me, because I live and you will also live. On that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. Whoever keeps My commandments is the one who loves Me. If he loves Me, he will also be loved by My Father; I too shall love him and show Myself clearly to him.”

Sunday, 17 May 2020 : Sixth Sunday of Easter (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 Peter 3 : 15-18

But bless the Lord Christ in your hearts. Always have an answer ready when you are called upon to account for your hope, but give it simply and with respect. Keep your conscience clear so that those who slander you may be put to shame by your upright, Christian living. Better to suffer for doing good, if it is God’s will, than for doing wrong.

Remember how Christ died, once and for all, for our sins. He, the Just One, died for the unjust in order to lead us to God. In the Body He was put to death, in the Spirit He was raised to life.

Sunday, 17 May 2020 : Sixth Sunday of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 65 : 1-3a, 4-5, 6-7a, 16 and 20

Shout with joy to God, all you on earth; sing to the glory to His Name; proclaim His glorious praise. Say to God, “How great are Your deeds!”

All the earth bows down to You, making music in praise of You, singing in honour of Your Name. Come and see God’s wonders, His deeds awesome for humans.

He has turned the sea into dry land, and the river was crossed on foot. Let us, therefore, rejoice in Him. He rules by His might forever.

All you who fear God, come and listen; let me tell you what He has done. May God be blessed! He has not rejected my prayer; nor withheld His love from me.

Sunday, 17 May 2020 : Sixth Sunday of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 8 : 5-8, 14-17

Philip went down to a town of Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there. All the people paid close attention to what Philip said as they listened to him and saw the miraculous signs that he did. For in cases of possession, the unclean spirits came out shrieking loudly. Many people who were paralysed or crippled were healed. So there was a great joy in that town.

Now, when the Apostles in Jerusalem heard that the Samaritans had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. They went down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for He had not as yet come down upon any of them since they had only been baptised in the Name of the Lord Jesus. So Peter and John laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.

(Usus Antiquior) Fifth Sunday after Easter (II Classis) – Sunday, 17 May 2020 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Communion and Post-Communion Prayer

Liturgical Colour : White
Offertory

Psalm 65 : 8-9, 26


Benedicite, gentes, Dominum, Deum nostrum, et obaudite vocem laudis ejus : qui posuit animam meam ad vitam, et non dedit commoveri pedes meos : benedictus Dominus, qui non amovit deprecationem meam et misericordiam suam a me, Alleluja.

 

English translation


O bless the Lord our God, you Gentiles, and make the voice of His praise to be heard, who had set my soul to live, and had not suffered my feet to be moved. Blessed be the Lord, who had not turned away my prayer, and His mercy from me, Alleluia.

 

Secret Prayer of the Priest


Suscipe, Domine, fidelium preces cum oblationibus hostiarum : ut, per haec piae devotionis officia, ad caelestem gloriam transeamus. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation


Receive, o Lord, the prayers of the faithful, with offerings of sacrifices, that through these offices of pious devotion we may pass to heavenly glory. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

 

Communion

Psalm 95 : 2


Cantate Domino, Alleluja : Cantate Domino et benedicite Nomen Ejus : bene nuntiate de die in diem salutare Ejus, Alleluja, Alleluja.

 

English translation


Sing all of you to the Lord, Alleluia. Sing all of you to the Lord, and bless His Name. Show forth His salvation from day to day, Alleluia, Alleluia.

 

Post-Communion Prayer


Tribue nobis, Domine, caelestis mensae virtute satiatis : et desiderare, quae recta sunt, et desiderata percipere. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation


Grant, o Lord, unto us, who have been regaled with the virtue of the heavenly table, both to desire what is right and to obtain what we desire. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

(Usus Antiquior) Fifth Sunday after Easter (II Classis) – Sunday, 17 May 2020 : Holy Gospel

Liturgical Colour : White
Sequentia Sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem – Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. John


John 16 : 23-30


In illo tempore : Dixit Jesus discipulis suis : Amen, amen, dico vobis : si quid petieritis Patrem in Nomine Meo, dabit vobis. Usque modo non petistis quidquam in Nomine Meo : Petite, et accipietis, ut gaudium vestrum sit plenum.

Haec in proverbiis locutus sum vobis. Venit hora, cum jam non in proverbiis loquar vobis, sed palam de Patre annuntiabo vobis. In illo die in Nomine Meo petetis : et non dico vobis, quia ego rogabo Patrem de vobis : ipse enim Pater amat vos, quia vos me amastis, et credidistis quia ego a Deo exivi.

Exivi a Patre et veni in mundum : iterum relinquo mundum et vado ad Patrem. Dicunt ei discipuli ejus : Ecce, nunc palam loqueris et proverbium nullum dicis. Nunc scimus, quia scis omnia et non opus est tibi, ut quis te interroget : in hoc credimus, quia a Deo existi.

 

English translation


At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Amen, amen, I say to you, if you ask the Father anything in My Name, He will give it to you. Hitherto you have not asked anything in My Name, ask and you shall receive, that your joy may be full.”

“These things I have spoken to you in proverbs, the hour comes when I will no longer speak to you in proverbs, but will show you plainly of the Father. In that day, you shall ask in My Name; and I do not say that I will ask the Father for you, for the Father Himself loved you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came out from God.”

“I came forth from the Father, and have come into the world, and again I leave the world, and go to the Father.” His disciples said to Him, “Behold, now You speak plainly, and does not speak in proverbs. Now we know that You know all things, and You do not need that any man should ask You. By this we believe that You came forth from God.”

(Usus Antiquior) Fifth Sunday after Easter (II Classis) – Sunday, 17 May 2020 : Alleluia

Liturgical Colour : White
Tradition of the Faith and John 16 : 28


Alleluja, Alleluja.

Response : Surrexit Christus, et illuxit nobis, quos redemit sanguine suo.

Alleluja.

Response : Exivi a Patre, et veni in mundum : iterum relinquo mundum, et vado ad Patrem. Alleluja.

 

English translation


Alleluia, Alleluia.

Response : Christ is risen, and had shone His light upon us whom He had redeemed with His blood.

Alleluia.

Response : I went out from the Father and came into the world; again, I leave the world and go to the Father. Alleluia.

(Usus Antiquior) Fifth Sunday after Easter (II Classis) – Sunday, 17 May 2020 : Epistle

Liturgical Colour : White
Lectio Epistolae Beati Jacobi Apostoli – Lesson from the Epistle of Blessed James the Apostle


James 1 : 22-27


Carissimi : Estote factores verbi, et non auditores tantum : fallentes vosmetipsos. Quia si quis auditor est verbi et non factor : hic comparabitur viro consideranti vultum nativitatis suae in speculo : consideravit enim se et abiit, et statim oblitus est, qualis fuerit.

Qui autem perspexerit in legem perfectam libertatis et permanserit in ea, non auditor obliviosus factus, sed factor operis : hic beatus in facto suo erit. Si quis autem putat se religiosum esse, non refrenans linguam suam, sed seducens cor suum, hujus vana est religio.

Religio munda et immaculata apud Deum et Patrem haec est : Visitare pupillos et viduas in tribulatione eorum, et immaculatum se custodire ab hoc saeculo.

 

English translation


Dearly beloved, all of you must do the word, and not as hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if a man be a hearer of the word, and does not do it, he shall be compared to a man beholding his own countenance in a glass. For he beheld himself, and went his way, and presently forgot what manner of man he was.

But he who had looked into the perfect law of liberty and had continued therein, and not becoming a forgetful hearer, but does the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. And if any man think himself to be religious, not bridling his tongue, but deceiving his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.

Religion clean and undefiled before God and the Father is this : to visit the fatherless and widows in their tribulation, and to keep one’s self unspotted from this world.

(Usus Antiquior) Fifth Sunday after Easter (II Classis) – Sunday, 17 May 2020 : Introit and Collect

Liturgical Colour : White
Introit

Isaiah 48 : 20 and Psalm 65 : 1-2


Vocem jucunditatis annuntiate, et audiatur, Alleluja : annuntiate usque ad extremum terrae : liberavit Dominus populum suum, Alleluja, Alleluja.

Jubilate Deo, omnis terra, psalmum dicite Nomini Ejus : date gloriam laudi ejus.

Response : Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto, sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper : et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation


Declare the voice of joy, and let it be heard, Alleluia : declare it even unto the ends of the earth; the Lord had delivered His people, Alleluia, Alleluia.

Shout with a joy to God all the earth : sing all of you a psalm to His Name, give glory to His praise.

Response : Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

 

Collect

Deus, a quo bona cuncta procedunt, largire supplicibus Tuis : ut cogitemus, Te inspirante, quae recta sunt; et, Te gubernante, eadam faciamus. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation


O God, from whom all good things come, generously grant to us who beseech You that we may, by Your inspiration, think those things which are right and, that we perform them under Your guidance. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.