Thursday, 15 April 2021 : 2nd Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 3 : 31-36

At that time, John the Baptist said, “He Who comes from above is above all; he who comes from the earth belongs to the earth, and his words belong to the earth. He Who comes from heaven speaks of the things He has seen and heard; He bears witness to these things, but no one accepts His testimony. Whoever does receive His testimony acknowledges the truthfulness of God.”

“The One sent by God speaks God’s words, and gives the Spirit unstintingly. The Father loves the Son and has entrusted everything into His hands. Whoever believes in the Son lives with eternal life; but he who will not believe in the Son will never know life, and always faces the justice of God.”

Thursday, 15 April 2021 : 2nd Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 33 : 2 and 9, 17-18, 19-20

I will bless the Lord all my days; His praise will be ever on my lips. Oh, see and taste the goodness of the Lord! Blessed is the one who finds shelter in Him!

But His face is set against the wicked to destroy their memory from the earth. The Lord hears the cry of the righteous and rescues them from all their troubles.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves the distraught. Many are the troubles of the just, but the Lord delivers them from all.

Thursday, 15 April 2021 : 2nd Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 5 : 27-33

So the High Priest and his supporters brought the Apostles in and made them stand before the Council and the High Priest questioned them, “We gave you strict orders not to preach such a Saviour; but you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you intend charging us with the killing of this Man.”

To this Peter and the Apostles replied, “Better for us to obey God rather than any human authority! The God of our ancestors raised Jesus Whom you killed by hanging Him on a wooden post. God set Him at His right hand as Leader and Saviour, to grant repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. We are witnesses to all these things, as well as the Holy Spirit Whom God has given to those who obey Him.

When the Council heard this, they became very angry and wanted to kill them.

Wednesday, 14 April 2021 : 2nd Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us are reminded of the Lord’s providence and guidance towards us. He has given to us His protection and set His Angels before us, defending us in the constant struggle against those who oppose us and persecute us. He will never abandon us or let us all go unaided and unguided, and He has always extended freely His love and care, His concern and compassion towards us.

In our first reading today, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, we heard how the Apostles again got into trouble with the Jewish authorities, the members of the Sanhedrin and the chief priests who sent the guards to arrest them as they continued to preach in the Name of the Lord and worked miracles among the people even after having been told not to continue such works and actions anymore. The Apostles and the other disciples of the Lord deemed it right for them to obey the Lord’s commands rather than man’s commands.

Thus they persevered through those oppositions and the efforts to stop them and their works. They did not allow the threats and even arrest and imprisonment to hinder them or to make them afraid to do what the Lord had commanded them to do. Instead, they shouldered on and pushed on, and prayed frequently together, asking for the Lord’s guidance and strength. And the Lord sent His Angel to free the Apostles, leading them out of the prison unharmed as we heard in our first reading passage today.

The chief priests were all astonished and amazed at what happened and wondered how the disciples could have escaped from their imprisonment, because they still refused to believe that the Lord Jesus was indeed truly the Messiah and that the Apostles and the disciples were guided by God and strengthened by His Holy Spirit throughout their ministry and service, their efforts in reaching out and evangelisation to the people of God.

In the Gospel passage today, the Lord Himself had made the same assurance to Nicodemus, one of the few supporters of the Lord among the members of the Sanhedrin. The Lord uttered the famous phrase in the third chapter of the Gospel of St. John, that ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only Son so that all those who believe in Him shall not perish and die, but shall receive eternal life’, as a proof that God truly loved His people and cared for them.

And that was why He sent us Jesus, His only begotten Son, to be our Lord and Saviour, as He revealed to Nicodemus, and the truth which the Apostles and the disciples had been working on so hard to deliver to the people. And more and more people came to believe in God because of the works and the efforts of these faithful servants of the Lord, and the Church grew rapidly even amidst challenges and often intense persecution and opposition.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, how about us then? As the disciples of the Lord in this present day world, we still have the same duty and obligation, the calling and the mission to reach out to our fellow men and women, to more and more people, as though many had been saved, but there are many more out there who have not yet believed in God, and there are many more people still who have not yet known Him and heard about Him.

This is where we, all of us as Christians, should commit ourselves, our efforts, time and attention to continue the good works that were started by the Apostles and the disciples, in being role models and good examples of our Christian faith and living, so that all those who see us, hear us and witness our works and ways of life, will come to believe in us, and be touched by the Lord and be willing to follow Him in faith, that more may come to embrace the Lord and His salvation through us.

May God be with us always, and may He strengthen us all just as He has strengthened and protected the disciples and the Apostles. May the Holy Spirit give us the courage and wisdom to be good and exemplary role models of the Christian faith in our communities, and may God bless us all in our every good works, efforts and endeavours, always. Amen.

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.