Thursday, 18 March 2021 : 4th Week of Lent, Memorial of St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

John 5 : 31-47

At that time, Jesus said to the Jews, “If I bore witness to Myself, My testimony would be worthless. But Another One is bearing witness to Me, and I know that His testimony is true when He bears witness to Me. John also bore witness to the truth when you sent messengers to him, but I do not seek such human testimony; I recall this for you, so that you may be saved.”

“John was a burning and shining lamp, and for a while you were willing to enjoy his light. But I have greater evidence than that of John – the works which the Father entrusted to Me to carry out. The very works I do bear witness : The Father has sent Me. Thus He Who bears witness to Me is the Father Who sent Me. You have never heard His voice and have never seen His likeness; therefore, as long as you do not believe His messenger, His word is not in you.”

“You search in the Scriptures, thinking that in them you will find life; yet Scripture bears witness to Me. But you refuse to come to Me, that you may live. I am not seeking human praise; but I have known that love of God is not within you, for I have come in My Father’s Name and you do not accept Me. If another comes in his own name, you will accept him. As long as you seek praise from one another, instead of seeking the glory which comes from the only God, how can you believe?”

“Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father. Moses himself, in whom you placed your hope, accuses you. If you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote of Me. But if you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?”

Thursday, 18 March 2021 : 4th Week of Lent, Memorial of St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 105 : 19-20, 21-22, 23

They made a calf at Horeb and worshipped the molten image. They exchanged the glory of God for the image of a bull that eats grass.

They forgot their Saviour God, Who had done great things in Egypt, wonderful works in the land of Ham, and awesome deeds by the Sea of Reeds.

So He spoke of destroying them, but Moses, His chosen one, stood in the breach before Him to shield them from destruction.

Thursday, 18 March 2021 : 4th Week of Lent, Memorial of St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Exodus 32 : 7-14

Then YHVH said to Moses, “Go down at once, for your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. They have quickly turned from the way I commanded them and have made for themselves a molten calf; they have bowed down before it and sacrificed to it and said : ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you out of Egypt.'”

And YHVH said to Moses, “I see that these people are a stiff-necked people. Now just leave Me that My anger may blaze against them. I will destroy them, but of you I will make a great nation.” But Moses calmed the anger of YHVH, his God, and said, “Why, o YHVH, should Your anger burst against Your people whom You brought out of the land of Egypt with such great power and with a mighty hand?”

“Let not the Egyptians say : ‘YHVH brought them out with evil intent, for He wanted to kill them in the mountains and wipe them from the face of the earth.’ Turn away from the heat of Your anger and do not bring disaster on Your people. Remember Your servants, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the promise You Yourself swore : I will multiply Your descendants like the stars of heaven, and all this land I spoke about I will give to them as an everlasting inheritance.”

YHVH then changed His mind and would not yet harm His people.

Wednesday, 17 March 2021 : 4th Week of Lent, Memorial of St. Patrick, Bishop (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scripture, we are reminded that the Lord’s salvation has come into our midst in the person of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Son of Man, the Divine Word Incarnate and born through His mother Mary to be the Saviour of the whole world. We are reminded today of the salvation that Christ has brought us through His suffering, His Passion, death and Resurrection.

In our first reading, taken from the Book of the prophet Isaiah, we heard of the Lord speaking to His people of the coming of the time and day of salvation, the moment when the Lord would bring all of them to freedom and happiness, and deliver them from their sufferings and troubles. At that time, the people of God had suffered from repeated invasions and also humiliations from their neighbours, and they were nowhere as great as they were as it was during the time of king David and king Solomon.

And just as the northern kingdom of Israel had been destroyed by the Assyrians recently by the time of the prophet Isaiah, exiling its people to the far-off lands of Assyria and beyond, and the same Assyrians had also been coming up to the southern kingdom of Judah and besieging even Jerusalem itself. The people of Judah and their king Hezekiah were only saved because the Lord intervened on their behalf sent His Angel to destroy the whole Assyrian army.

Through Isaiah therefore, the Lord wanted to remind His people that He has not forgotten or forsaken them, and on the contrary, He remembered them well, and wanted them to be saved. But everything happens in God’s time and according to His will. This means that if the people think that the Lord had not been with them, then they were not patient enough and mistook the Lord as One Whom they could control and have at the back of their whims and desires.

The Lord sent His Saviour into this world through Christ, His own beloved and only begotten Son, born of the Blessed Virgin Mary, His mother, that He may gather all of us into the embrace of the Lord, His heavenly Father, and by His sacrifice on the Cross, the Passion, suffering, death and the glorious Resurrection that we shall celebrate very soon during the Holy Week and Easter, He has saved us from the certainty of eternal destruction and death.

Yet, as we heard in our Gospel and as occurred throughout the Gospels, the people to whom the Lord had sent His Son refused to believe in Him and in His words, doubted and rejected Him even when they had seen all the wonders and miraculous deeds He had done, and even after hearing all the great and unsurpassed wisdom with which He had been teaching and preaching to them.

Thus, in our Gospel today, the Lord again reiterated that He, as the Son of God, is indeed the One sent by the Father to be the Saviour of all. And just as the prophet Isaiah spoke of the coming of the Lord’s salvation and wonders, the Lord Jesus spoke of the same, and in fact, spoke everything all as how it has been accomplished in Him and through Him, for He is indeed the fulfilment of what the Lord had been promising us mankind through the prophets.

We are hence reminded once again that our salvation has come to us through Christ, and through His most loving sacrifice on the Cross, by which He has redeemed us from our sins, He has offered us freely the forgiveness of God for our many sins. Yet, it is we ourselves who have been so stubborn and hardened our hearts against Him, refusing to embrace His forgiveness and accept His mercy and compassion.

That is why, we are all called to seek the Lord and to open our hearts and minds to welcome Him into our hearts this Lent. During this time and season of Lent, we are constantly being reminded that we are in need of help from God, to trust in Him and to put our faith and commitment to Him. And today, we happen to be celebrating the feast day of a great saint who can be our role model and inspiration as well.

St. Patrick, the renowned saint of Ireland, the one who evangelised the people of Ireland over a thousand years ago, was remembered for his missionary zeal, faith in the Lord, and especially his dedication to those who had been entrusted to him, those people to whom he had been sent to as a missionary. St. Patrick was captured at an early age by Irish pirates and was taken as a slave, until he managed to escape and return to his family. But this not stop him or discourage him when sent as a missionary and priest later in his life, to the very place where he endured slavery.

On the contrary, St. Patrick dedicated his efforts and his whole life to teach the people in Ireland about Christ, the Lord and Saviour, when most of the people there had not yet known about Him, and were still pagans believing in the pagan gods and idols. St. Patrick patiently explained to them about the nature of God, the Holy Trinity and the main aspects of the Christian faith, and was also involved in the many interactions between the rulers and petty kings in Ireland at the time.

Through his tireless efforts, St. Patrick helped to build the foundation of the Church and the Christian faith in Ireland, and many became converts to the faith and were touched by the courage and commitment, the love that St. Patrick had for the Lord and for his fellow men, for the people of Ireland in particular, who were like the lost sheep gathered by the shepherd, who was St. Patrick himself.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we are all called to follow in the footsteps of St. Patrick, and be inspired by his faith and dedication to the Lord, his exemplary Christian faith and actions in life, his sincerity in reaching out to others and to his fellow men. This Lent, we are all called to purify our faith and to redirect our attention and focus back towards the Lord, so that we may remember that our lives are centred on Him and not on other worldly matters and desires.

Let us all turn towards the Lord, our most loving God and Father. Let us all seek Him with renewed love and dedication, opening our hearts and minds to welcome Him into our beings, allowing Him to transform us into the children of Light, the Light of Christ, the Light of our salvation. May God bless us all and strengthen us, and may He empower us all to live ever more faithfully in His presence. Amen.

Wednesday, 17 March 2021 : 4th Week of Lent, Memorial of St. Patrick, Bishop (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

John 5 : 17-30

At that time, Jesus replied to the Jews, “My Father goes on working and so do I.” And the Jews tried all the harder to kill Him, for Jesus not only broke the Sabbath observance, but also made Himself equal with God, calling God His own Father.

Jesus said to them, “Truly, I assure you, the Son cannot do anything by Himself, but only what He sees the Father do. And whatever He does, the Son also does. The Father loves the Son and shows Him everything He does; and He will show Him even greater things than these, so that you will be amazed.”

“As the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so the Son gives life to whom He wills. In the same way the Father judges no one, for He has entrusted all judgment to the Son, and He wants all to honour the Son as they honour the Father. Whoever ignores the Son, ignores as well the Father Who sent Him.”

“Truly, I say to you, anyone who hears My word and believes Him Who sent Me, has eternal life; and there is no judgment for him, because he has passed from death to life. Truly, the hour is coming and has indeed come, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and, on hearing it, will live. For the Father has life in Himself, and He has given to the Son also to have life in Himself. And He has empowered Him as well to carry out Judgment, for He is Son of Man.”

“Do not be surprised at this : the hour is coming when all those lying in tombs will hear My voice and come out; those who have done good shall rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. I can do nothing of Myself, and I need to hear Another One to judge; and My judgment is just, because I seek not My own will, but the will of Him Who sent Me.”

Wednesday, 17 March 2021 : 4th Week of Lent, Memorial of St. Patrick, Bishop (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 144 : 8-9, 13cd-14, 17-18

Compassionate and gracious is the Lord, slow to anger and abounding in love. The Lord is good to everyone; His mercy embraces all His creation.

The Lord is true to His promises and lets His mercy show in all He does. The Lord lifts up those who are falling and raises those who are beaten down.

Righteous is the Lord in all His ways, His mercy shows in all His deeds. He is near those who call on Him, who call trustfully upon His Name.