Thursday, 8 April 2021 : Thursday within Easter Octave (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 24 : 35-48

Then the two disciples told what had happened on the road to Emmaus, and how Jesus had made Himself known, when He broke bread with them. While they were still talking about this, Jesus Himself stood in their midst. (He said to them, “Peace to you.”)

In their panic and fright they thought they were seeing a ghost, but He said to them, “Why are you upset, and how does such an idea cross your minds? Look at My hands and feet, and see that it is I Myself! Touch Me, and see for yourselves, for a ghost has no flesh and bones as I have!” (As He said this, He showed His hands and feet.)

In their joy they did not dare believe, and were still astonished; so He said to them, “Have you anything to eat?” And they gave Him a piece of broiled fish. He took it, and ate it before them. Then Jesus said to them, “Remember the words I spoke to you when I was still with you : Everything written about Me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.

And He said, “So it was written : the Messiah had to suffer, and on the third day rise from the dead. Then repentance and forgiveness in His Name would be proclaimed to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things.”

Thursday, 8 April 2021 : Thursday within Easter Octave (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 8 : 2a and 5, 6-7, 8-9

O Lord, our Lord, how great is Your Name throughout the earth! What is man that You be mindful of him, the Son of Man, that You should care for Him?

Yet You made Him a little lower than the Angels; You crowned Him with glory and honour and gave Him the works of Your hands; You have put all things under His feet.

Sheep and oxen without number and even the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, the fish of the sea, and all that swim the paths of the ocean.

Thursday, 8 April 2021 : Thursday within Easter Octave (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 3 : 11-26

While the once crippled man clung to Peter and John, all the people, struck with astonishment, came running to them in Solomon’s Porch, as it was called. When Peter saw the people, he said to them, “Fellow Israelites, why are you amazed at this? Why do you stare at us as if it was by some power or holiness of our own that we made this man walk?”

“The God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob, the God of our ancestors has glorified His servant Jesus Whom you handed over to death and denied before Pilate, when even Pilate had decided to release Him. You rejected the Holy and Just One, and you insisted that a murderer be released to you. You killed the Master of life, but God raised Him from the dead and we are witnesses to this.”

“It is His Name and faith in His Name, that has healed this man whom you see and recognise. The faith that comes through Jesus has given him wholeness in the presence of all of you. Yet I know that you acted out of ignorance, as did your leaders. God has fulfilled in this way what He had foretold through all the prophets, that His Messiah would suffer.”

“Repent, then, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out and the time of refreshment may come by the mercy of God, when He sends the Messiah appointed for you, Jesus. For He must remain in heaven until the time of the universal restoration which God spoke of long ago through His holy prophets.”

“Moses foretold this when he said : The Lord God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among your own people; you shall listen to Him in all that He says to you. Whoever does not listen to that Prophet is to be cut off from among his people.”

“In fact, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel onward, have announced the events of these days. You are the children of the prophets and heirs of the covenant that God gave to your ancestors when He said to Abraham : All the families of the earth will be blessed through your descendant. It is to you first that God sends His Servant; He raised Him to life to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.”

Wednesday, 7 April 2021 : Wednesday within Easter Octave (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 Lord’s Resurrection, and the healing and hope which His Resurrection has brought upon us. He has restored hope to us and bring healing into this world, and His work continues even after His Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven. As we heard in our Scripture readings today, the Lord’s works continued through His Apostles and His Church.

In our first reading today, we heard of the miraculous healing of the disabled and paralytic man who had been suffering for long by the Beauty Gate of the Temple of Jerusalem. The Apostles St. Peter and St. John were there and they helped the man, healing him by the power of God and with the Name of the Lord through the authority that had been given to them. The paralytic man was healed and praising God, many people who witnessed the act came to believe in the Lord, and the two Apostles themselves spoke of the Lord’s providence through Christ, His Son, Our Saviour.

In the Gospel passage today, we heard of the moment when the two disciples of the Lord who were on their way to the village of Emmaus just outside of Jerusalem encountered the Lord on their way. At that time, it was just after the Lord had been crucified and then Risen from the dead, but many among the disciples had not known about the Resurrection just yet. Thus, as they walked away from Jerusalem, they were weighed down with sorrow and regret for the Lord’s fate, rejected by His own people and crucified, died a criminal and humiliated.

But the Risen Lord came to them and told them that it was the fate of the Saviour to suffer and to be the One to bear the faults and sins of the world, and to die for the sake of all the people. He strengthened them and rekindled the courage in them through His words and teachings, and He revealed to them in the end, that He Who had been talking with them was none other than the Risen Lord Himself. And we heard then of how those two disciples immediately went all the way back to Jerusalem to tell the other disciples of what they had just seen and experienced.

As we listened to these readings from the Scriptures, we are reminded that this is what we have been called as Christians to do, to continue the good works of the Lord in the midst of our respective communities, in our communities, within our circles of friends and acquaintances, and definitely, within our own families and among our relatives. We are all called to be genuine Christians in faith, in words, deeds and actions, and not just being Christians in name only.

In this Easter season and beyond, we should make good use of the time and opportunities given to us to reach out to our fellow brethren, to those who have not been blessed by the light and hope in our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. We have been given this faith and all of the talents and abilities, all the blessings so that each and every one of us we may contribute our parts as the members of the Church to be the witnesses and the bearers of the truth of God.

Are we willing and able to commit ourselves, our time and efforts, and our concentration to be the bearers of our Christian faith and truth? Are we able to follow in the footsteps of the Apostles, who faithfully proclaimed the Lord despite the challenges, trials and opposition they encountered throughout their journey? Do we reflect our faith in our every single actions and deeds too? This is what we have been challenged to do as those whom the Lord had called and chosen to be His own beloved ones, His people.

During this time of great darkness and plenty of trials and difficulties, let us all reach out to our fellow men and women, and if we have been blessed with more, let us spare even a little to help others who are in need, taking care of the poor and the needy, and being there for those who are lonely and without help. Let us also take good care of our fellow family members, our friends and even those whom we encounter in life, in our workplaces, schools and more.

May the Lord continue to guide and strengthen us, and may He give us all the courage to remain faithful to Him, to be a people filled with genuine love for God and full of Easter joy, that we may always be ever closer to God, centred on Him and be encouraged to live a genuine Christian life, from now onwards of we have not done so earlier on. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

Wednesday, 7 April 2021 : Wednesday within Easter Octave (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 24 : 13-35

At that time, on the same day Jesus rose from the dead, two followers of Jesus were going to Emmaus, a village seven miles from Jerusalem, and they talked about what had happened. While they were talking and arguing about what had happened, Jesus came up and walked with them. But their eyes were not able to recognise Him.

He asked, “What is it you are talking about?” The two stood still, looking sad. Then the one named Cleophas answered, “Why, it seems You are the only traveller to Jerusalem who does not know what haw happened there these past few days.” And He asked, “What is it?”

They replied, “It is about Jesus of Nazareth. He was a Prophet, You know, mighty in word and deed before God and the people. But the chief priests and our rulers sentenced Him to death. They handed Him over to be crucified. We had hoped that He would redeem Israel. It is now the third day since all this took place.”

“It is also true that some women of our group have disturbed us. When they went to the tomb at dawn, they did not find His Body; and they came and told us that they had had a vision of Angels, who said that Jesus was alive. Some of our people went to the tomb and found everything just as the women had said, but they did not find a Body in the tomb.”

He said to them, “How dull you are, how slow of understanding! Is the message of the prophets too difficult for you to understand? Is it not written that the Christ should suffer all this, and then enter His glory?” Then starting with Moses, and going through the prophets, He explained to them everything in the Scriptures concerning Himself.

As they drew near the village they were heading for, Jesus made as if to go farther. But they prevailed upon Him, “Stay with us, for night comes quickly. The day is now almost over.” So He went in to stay with them. When they were at table, He took the bread, said a blessing, broke it, and gave each a piece.

Then their eyes were opened, and they recognised Him; but He vanished out of their sight. And they said to one another, “Were not our hearts filled with ardent yearning when He was talking to us on the road and explaining the Scriptures?” They immediately set out and returned to Jerusalem.

There they found the Eleven and their companions gathered together. They were greeted by these words : “Yes, it is true, the Lord is risen! He has appeared to Simon!” Then the two told what had happened on the road to Emmaus, and how Jesus had made Himself known, when He broke bread with them.

Wednesday, 7 April 2021 : Wednesday within Easter Octave (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 104 : 1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9

Give thanks to the Lord, call on His Name; make known His works among the nations. Sing to Him, sing His praise, proclaim all His wondrous deeds.

Glory in His holy Name; let those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and be strong; seek His face always.

You descendants of His servant Abraham, you sons of Jacob, His chosen ones! He is the Lord our God; His judgments reach the whole world.

He remembers His covenant forever, His promise to a thousand generations, the covenant He made with Abraham, the promise He swore to Isaac.

Wednesday, 7 April 2021 : Wednesday within Easter Octave (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 3 : 1-10

Once when Peter and John were going up to the Temple at three in the afternoon, the hour for prayer, a man crippled from birth was being carried in. Every day they would bring him and put him at the Temple gate called “Beautiful”; there he begged from those who entered the Temple.

When he saw Peter and John on their way into the Temple, he asked for alms. Then Peter with John at his side looked straight at him and said, “Look at us.” So he looked at them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have neither silver nor gold, but what I have I give you : In the Name of Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, walk!”

Then he took the beggar by his right hand and helped him up. At once his feet and ankles became firm, and jumping up he stood on his feet and began to walk. And he went with them into the Temple walking and leaping and praising God. All the people saw him walking and praising God; they recognised him as the one who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple, and they were all astonished and amazed at what had happened to him.

Tuesday, 6 April 2021 : Tuesday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, as we continue to progress through this week in the Easter Octave, we continue to hear the works of the Apostles and the events that happened surrounding those earliest moments in the history of the Church as first we heard about St. Peter the Apostle preaching to the people about the Risen Lord and the truth that He had brought into this world. And then, we heard of the encounter between Mary Magdalene and the Risen Lord, as He appeared before her right after His Resurrection.

In that first reading today, we heard how the Holy Spirit inspired testimony of faith by St. Peter stirred and touched so many among the people who listened to him and the other Apostles that at least three thousands among them chose to give themselves to be baptised, the event that marked the birth of the Church, the advent of the new Christian community blessed and guided by the Lord, as more and more people from then on would come to believe in the Lord and turn towards Him.

All these happened despite the challenges and trials that they had to face, the opposition they encountered from the Pharisees, the chief priests and many of the members of the Sanhedrin, who were opposed to the Lord Jesus and His teachings. They remained firm in their dedication and faith in the Lord, with the desire to serve Him faithfully and courageously even when faced with many problems, and as St. Stephen showed us all, even martyrdom and death for standing up for the Lord and His truth.

They proclaimed the same truth that Mary Magdalene had seen in the place where the Lord was buried, as detailed in our Gospel passage today. The Risen Lord made an appearance to Mary Magdalene who was sorrowful that the Body of the Lord could not be found. Initially she could not recognise Him, but then the Lord opened her eyes and she found out the truth of the Lord’s Resurrection.

Imagine Mary’s joy when she saw the Lord again and knew that He is alive. She went to the other disciples and told them about the Resurrection with great joy, which in a short moment was proven as the Lord Himself appeared to the disciples in several occasions. And that these faithful disciples of the Lord had seen Him risen in the flesh, they joyfully proclaimed His resurrection, His truth and teachings, despite the persecution they faced in so many occasions.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us may not have seen the Risen Lord Himself in the flesh, but as what many of those early disciples had done, in suffering and enduring many persecutions for the truth, we know that whatever we have received in faith through the Church is indeed true, and those faithful disciples and martyrs endured so many things because they truly have witnessed the truth and suffered because of the truth, and they were glad to be able to suffer for the Lord.

And now, as we journey together through this season and time of Easter, we really should consider how we should live up to our Christian calling and life, in the footsteps of the disciples and followers of the Lord. As Christians, it is our calling and vocation to reach out to our fellow brothers and sisters, and we are called to be the living testimony of faith and of our Lord’s Resurrection just as St. Peter had done. There are still yet so many people out there who had not yet known the Lord, and it is up to us to bring the light of God’s truth to them.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all spend our time and effort from now on to follow the Lord and to be His faithful witnesses through our every actions, through our dedication to His truth that in our every interactions with each other, we will always glorify His Name, and reveal Him to all those whom we encounter and interact with in life. May the Lord be with us all, and may He, Our Risen Lord be our source of strength and may He give us the courage to remain faithful to Him. Amen.