Friday, 16 April 2021 : 2nd Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 6 : 1-15

At that time, Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, near Tiberias, and large crowds followed Him, because of the miraculous signs they saw, when He healed the sick. So He went up into the hills and sat down there with His disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand.

Then lifting up His eyes, Jesus saw the crowds that were coming to Him, and said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread so that these people may eat?” He said this to test Philip, for He Himself knew what He was going to do. Philip answered Him, “Two hundred silver coins would not buy enough bread for each of them to have a piece.”

Then one of Jesus’ disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?” Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass there, so the people, about five thousand men, sat down. Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were seated. He did the same with the fish, and gave them as much as they wanted.

And when they had eaten enough, He told His disciples, “Gather up the pieces left over, that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with bread, that is, with pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.

When the people saw the miracle which Jesus had performed, they said, “This is really the Prophet, the One Who is to come into the world.” Jesus realised that they would come and take Him by force to make Him King; so He fled to the hills by Himself.

Friday, 16 April 2021 : 2nd Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 26 : 1, 4, 13-14

The Lord is my Light and my Salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the Rampart of my life; I will not be afraid.

One thing I ask of the Lord, one thing I seek – that I may dwell in His house all the days of my life, to gaze at His jewel and to visit His sanctuary.

I hope, I am sure, that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Trust in the Lord, be strong and courageous. Yes, put your hope in the Lord!

Friday, 16 April 2021 : 2nd Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 5 : 34-42

But one of the members of the Council, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the Law highly respected by the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin. He ordered the men to be taken outside for a few minutes and then he spoke to the assembly.

“Fellow Israelites, consider well what you intend to do to these men. For some time ago Theudas came forward, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men joined him. But he was killed and all his followers were dispersed or disappeared.”

“After him, Judas the Galilean appeared at the time of the census and persuaded many people to follow him. But he too perished and his whole following was scattered. So, in this present case, I advise you to have nothing to do with these men. Leave them alone. If their project or activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself. If, on the other hand, it is from God, you will not be able to destroy it and you may indeed find yourselves fighting against God.”

The Council let themselves be persuaded. They called in the Apostles and had them whipped, and ordered them not to speak again of Jesus Saviour. Then they set them free. The Apostles went out from the Council rejoicing that they were considered worthy to suffer disgrace for the sake of the Name. Day after day, both in the Temple and in people’s homes, they continued to teach and to proclaim that Jesus was the Messiah.

Thursday, 15 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 Scriptures, once again we are brought to focus on the mission that God has entrusted to us all as Christians, as those whom He has chosen and called to be His own, that each and every one of us be part of the same mission He has entrusted to His Church, that is to all of us who are also members of His Church, the One Body of Christ, the faithful people of God.

We have all been called to follow in the footsteps of the Apostles, the same Apostles whom as described in our first reading today, stood before the whole Sanhedrin or the Jewish High Council facing opposition and bitter resentment from most of its members. The Sanhedrin clearly made known what they wanted, that they all ceased their works and efforts to preach in the Name of the Lord Jesus, recently crucified by the Sanhedrin’s works, and risen from the dead.

St. Peter and the other Apostles firmly rejected and resisted the commands of the Sanhedrin, and stated with great determination and conviction that they would rather obey God and His commandments rather than to obey and follow the commands of fallible men, those who failed to understand the truth of God and those who stubbornly refused to believe in Him because of their pride and arrogance, their desire for fame and power.

Then, in the Gospel today, we heard of the testimony of truth that both the Lord Jesus Himself and St. John the Baptist, His herald had revealed and spoken of, revealing the fullness of the long planned salvation of mankind, that only the One Who had come down from Heaven would have known of. St. John the Baptist proclaimed the coming of the Messiah and called the people to repentance and to abandon their sinful ways that they may come to accept the Lord and His truth when He came.

For all of that, he had to suffer, and the Pharisees and the chief priests doubted him, just as they would later on also refused to believe in the Lord when He came, and he would suffer martyrdom at the hands of king Herod and his unlawful wife, Herodias when he spoke courageously against the immoral behaviour and adultery between the two. And the Lord Himself also suffered as He spoke the truth and was rejected by many among the Sanhedrin, who handed Him over to the Romans to be condemned to death and crucified.

Thus, as we can see here, often, to walk in the path of the Lord is to endure the opposition, challenges and sufferings that are likely to be in that path, and which we have to endure as we walk in His path. The Lord calls us to follow Him nonetheless, and as we embark on this journey of faith, and are we willing to commit ourselves to His cause? Rest assured that the Lord will be with us just as He has been with His Apostles, guiding them and giving them the strength to persevere over their challenges and trials.

Today, in this world there are still many who have not yet known God and who have not witnessed His love and His truth. And we are all as Christians are the ones who have been called to be those who shall bring the Good News of God, His love and presence into the midst of those who have not yet known God and are still in darkness and in ignorance of God’s truth. We are all called to be faithful witnesses of our Christian faith and we should not just be idle or be Christians in name only.

That is why, thus far, as we rejoice during this season of Easter, we are constantly being reminded again and again that the Lord is calling on us to be active and devout Christians, to be genuine in our beliefs and faith, and to be zealous and dedicated in how we live our lives, so that we can become good role models for one another, as we reach out towards our fellow brothers and sisters, and speaking the truth about the Lord, His truth and love, and the salvation He has promised all of us.

Let us all discern carefully therefore what we should be doing, as we move forward in life. Let us make good use of the time and opportunities which we have been given, and be fruitful in all of our good efforts and endeavours, in what we do in each and every moments of our lives to glorify the Lord and to be ray of hope for our fellow brothers and sisters who are suffering especially during this and the past year, that through us, they may also come to know of God and His love. May God bless us all, now and always. Amen.