Wednesday, 14 April 2021 : 2nd Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 3 : 16-21

At that time, Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Yes, God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him may not be lost, but may have eternal life. God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world; instead, through Him the world is to be saved.”

“Whoever believes in Him will not be condemned. He who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the Name of the only Son of God. This is how the Judgment is made : Light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”

“For whoever does wrong hates the light, and does not come to the light, for fear that his deeds will be seen as evil. But whoever lives according to the truth comes into the light, so that it can be clearly seen that his works have been done in God.”

Wednesday, 14 April 2021 : 2nd Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 33 : 2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

I will bless the Lord all my days; His praise will be ever on my lips. My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the lowly hear and rejoice.

Oh, let us magnify the Lord, together let us glorify His Name! I sought the Lord, and He answered me; from all my fears He delivered me.

They who look to Him are radiant with joy, their faces never clouded with shame. When the poor cry out, the Lord hears and saves them from distress.

The Lord’s Angel encamps and patrols to keep safe those who fear Him. Oh, see and taste the goodness of the Lord! Blessed is the one who finds shelter in Him!

Wednesday, 14 April 2021 : 2nd Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 5 : 17-26

The High Priest and all his supporters, that is the party of the Sadducees, became very jealous of the Apostles; so they arrested them and had them thrown into the public jail. But an Angel of the Lord opened the door of the prison during the night, brought them out, and said to them, “Go and stand in the Temple court and tell the people the whole of this living message.” Accordingly they entered the Temple at dawn and resumed their teaching.

When the High Priest and his supporters arrived, they called together the Sanhedrin, that is the full Council of the elders of Israel. They sent word to the jail to have the prisoners brought in. But when the Temple guards arrived at the jail, they did not find them inside, so they returned with the news, “We found the prison securely locked and the prison guards at their post outside the gate, but when we opened the gate, we found no one inside.”

Upon hearing these words, the captain of the Temple guard and the high priests were baffled, wondering where all of this would end. Just then someone arrived with the report, “Look, those men whom you put in prison are standing in the Temple, teaching the people.” Then the captain went off with the guards and brought them back, but without any show of force, for fear of being stoned by the people.

Tuesday, 13 April 2021 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of Pope St. Martin I, Pope and Martyr (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this day as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are reminded of the great love that God has shown us, and through which, leading by His own examples, He has shown us what we all must do as Christians in loving God and loving one another, as the beacons of God’s light and love in this world. We are all called to be God’s true disciples and followers, not just in name only but also in our every actions, words and deeds throughout life.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Acts of the Apostles of the continuation of the account how the earliest Christian communities lived, in communal living and genuine care for one another. As mentioned, no one had to suffer or be in lacking of anything because those who had been blessed with more cared for those who had less and they shared God’s blessings and love among them, so that everyone who then saw them, truly knew they were God’s people.

This was because they set themselves distinct and unique from others, that by challenging the usual norms of the world and its ways, they truly brought forth a new way of life into this world, that is the Way of the Lord. They testified for their faith through their own way of interacting and living with one another, where instead of seeking for personal glory, fame and satisfaction, they instead sought for the glory of God and for the betterment of others, their fellow brethren in their midst.

And these are the ones born of the Spirit as mentioned by the Lord, namely those who have accepted God, as their Lord and Saviour, and internalised His ways, His truth and teachings. They have listened to the Lord and embraced His way faithfully, and committed themselves to live out their way of life in the world as those whom the Lord had called and chosen to be His beloved people. This is the example of what Christian faith and charity is all about, and what we are all also called to do in our lives.

The Lord Himself has shown us His love, by His most loving sacrifice on the Cross, which the Lord Jesus Himself had revealed and predicted to Nicodemus the Pharisee, as He spoke of the bronze serpent of Moses lifted up in the desert during the time when the Israelites faced fiery serpents as a consequence of their rebelliousness and wickedness in sin against God, their constant complaints and displeasure against God even with all that the Lord had done for their sake.

He showed them His mercy, by giving them reprieve and salvation from their predicament, through the bronze serpent, the prefigurement of Christ Himself, Who, having been lifted up on the Cross, became the salvation of all mankind. By His suffering and death, Christ has endured the worst of punishments and humiliations so that we all may live and not perish through sin and death. All of these He had done out of love for us.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, the Lord wants us to realise that there are so many things that we should be doing as Christians as those who believe in Him, to follow in His examples and all that He had done for our sake. The Lord has shown us His examples, His actions and His love, and it is really up to us to follow Him, and to be like the early Christians who have emulated this love in their community, in their interactions, care and concern for one another.

Today, we all should be inspired by the examples set by Pope St. Martin I, a courageous servant of God and worthy successor of St. Peter the Apostle as the Vicar of Christ and leader of the Universal Church. Pope St. Martin I was remembered for his strong faith and love for God, his adherence to the true faith at a time when there were those who advocated false teachings and aberrant ways, in which he had to struggle against even the powerful, and no less than the Roman Emperor himself.

Pope St. Martin I had to endure tough challenges and trials, going even against even the secular powers and authorities who openly supported the heretics. As a result, he was arrested, exiled and made to suffer, and eventually died a martyr’s death. Yet, till the very end, Pope St. Martin I held firmly to the faith, and dedicated himself to the Lord and to the flock entrusted to his care, not wanting them to fall into the falsehoods of heresy.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore renew our commitment and faith in the Lord, and strive to do our best for the sake of God and our fellow men, in embracing our Christian calling, to be men and women for others, and to show God’s love and truth in the midst of our communities, in our families, among our circle of friends and to all those whom we encounter in life daily. May God be with us always, and may He bless us all in our every good endeavours. Amen.

Tuesday, 13 April 2021 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of Pope St. Martin I, Pope and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

John 3 : 7b-15

Jesus said to Nicodemus, “You must be born again from above. The wind blows where it pleases and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. It is like that with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Nicodemus asked again, “How can this be?” And Jesus answered, “You are a teacher in Israel, and you do not know these things! Truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and we witness to the things we have seen, but you do not accept Our testimony. If you do not believe when I speak of earthly things, what then, when I speak to you of heavenly things? No one has ever gone up to heaven except the One Who came from heaven, the Son of Man.”

“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life.”

Tuesday, 13 April 2021 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of Pope St. Martin I, Pope and Martyr (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

Psalm 92 : 1ab, 1c-2, 5

YHVH reigns, robed in majesty; YHVH is girded with strength.

The world now, is firm; it cannot be moved. Your throne stands from long ago, o YHVH; from all eternity You are.

Your decrees can be trusted; holiness dwells in Your House, day after day, without end, o YHVH.

Tuesday, 13 April 2021 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of Pope St. Martin I, Pope and Martyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

Acts 4 : 32-37

The whole community of believers was one in heart and mind. No one claimed private ownership of any possessions; but rather, they shared all things in common. With great power, the Apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, for all of them were living in an exceptional time of grace.

There was no needy person among them, for those who owned land or houses, sold them and brought the proceeds of the sale. And they laid it at the feet of the Apostles, who distributed it, according to each one’s need. This is what a certain Joseph did. He was a Levite from Cyprus, whom the Apostles called Barnabas, meaning : “The encouraging one.” He sold a field which he owned and handed the money to the Apostles.

Monday, 12 April 2021 : 2nd Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scripture, we are reminded of the power of God guiding each one of us, as He led His disciples through their missions and works, providing for them and helping them as they navigated through the many challenges and trials, and embarking on the many opportunities they had in evangelisation to the people about God and His saving works.

In our first reading today, we heard of the prayers of the Apostles and the disciples, just after St. Peter and St. John were released from the custody and inquiry by the members of the Sanhedrin. They thanked God for His protection over them and prayed for guidance and strength that they might continue to serve Him faithfully at all times, and they sought Him for His continued love and grace.

They were indeed those who had been reborn in the Spirit as mentioned by the Lord Himself to Nicodemus, when they were conversing about the works that the Lord Jesus had done, and the identity of the Lord, as the One Who had come from the Father into the world in order to save it. The Lord had revealed to Nicodemus, one of the few faithful among the Pharisees, Who He really is.

And He told Nicodemus that unless one is reborn again in the Spirit, they will not be able to recognise Him and His works. And all are called to be reborn again in the Spirit, through the baptism of water and the Holy Spirit that the Lord brought unto us, His Church. The Apostles and the disciples had received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and they had been renewed in faith and strengthened, with great courage to carry out the mission that God had entrusted to them.

The Holy Spirit transformed them all from people who were fearful, as they were just after the Lord had been crucified, and then later on, as they feared the persecution by the Jewish authorities. They were transformed into courageous and willing participants in the works of the Lord, as St. Peter and St. John had done, in testifying their faith before the assembled people in Jerusalem, and before the Sanhedrin itself.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are all called to reflect on what we have received and heard through the Scriptures, on what we ourselves have been called to do as Christians in our respective lives. Each and every one of us have the share in the same baptism, and received the same Holy Spirit that the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord then had received.

However, are we all willing to let the Lord guide us through His Spirit as the Apostles had done? Are we willing to commit ourselves to the mission that the Lord had entrusted to us, dedicating our efforts, time and attention to serve Him and to glorify Him by our actions, through our every outreach to our fellow brethren, our every little deeds by which we show God’s love and truth to more and more people whom we encounter in this world?

Let us all do our very best therefore to do what the Lord had commanded us to do, to be exemplary in our lives as Christians, to be good and worthy disciples of Our Lord in all things, that by our efforts and works, more and more people may see the light of God’s salvation through us, and therefore, be saved and may enter into the glory of the kingdom of God with us. May God bless us all, and may He guide us in all of our good works and endeavours. Amen.

Monday, 12 April 2021 : 2nd Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 3 : 1-8

At that time, among the Pharisees there was a ruler of the Jews named Nicodemus. He came to Jesus by night and said, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God to teach us, for no one can perform miraculous signs like Yours unless God is with Him.”

Jesus replied, “Truly, I say to you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again from above.” Nicodemus said, “How can there be rebirth for a grown man? Who could go back to his mother’s womb and be born again?” Jesus replied, “Truly, I say to you : No one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

“Because of this, do not be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again from above.’ The wind blows where it pleases and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. It is like that with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Monday, 12 April 2021 : 2nd Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 2 : 1-3, 4-6, 7-9

Why do the nations conspire? Why do the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth brace themselves and the rulers together take their stand against the Lord and His Anointed. They say, “Let us break their bonds! Let us cast away their chains!”

The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord looks at them in derision. Then in anger He speaks to them, terrifying them in the fury of His wrath : “Behold the King I have installed, in Zion, upon My holy hill!”

I will proclaim the decree of the Lord. He said to Me : “You are My Son. This day I have begotten You. Ask of Me and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall rule them with iron sceptre and shatter them as a potter’s vase.”