Friday, 23 April 2021 : 3rd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. George, Martyr and St. Adalbert, Bishop and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

John 6 : 52-59

At that time, the Jews were arguing among themselves, “How can this Man give us flesh to eat?” So Jesus replied, “Truly, I say to you, if you do not eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood, you have no life in you. The one who eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood lives eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

“My Flesh is really food, and My Blood is truly drink. Those who eat My Flesh and drink My Blood, lives in Me, and I in them. Just as the Father, Who is life, sent Me, and I have life from the Father, so whoever eats Me will have life from Me. This is the Bread which came from heaven; not like that of your ancestors, who ate and later died. Those who eat this Bread will live forever.”

Jesus spoke in this way in Capernaum when He taught them in the synagogue.

Friday, 23 April 2021 : 3rd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. George, Martyr and St. Adalbert, Bishop and Martyr (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

Psalm 116 : 1, 2

Alleluia! Praise the Lord, all you nations; all you peoples, praise Him.

How great is His love for us! His faithfulness lasts forever.

Friday, 23 April 2021 : 3rd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. George, Martyr and St. Adalbert, Bishop and Martyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

Acts 9 : 1-20

Meanwhile Saul considered nothing but violence and death for the disciples of the Lord. He went to the High Priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues of Damascus that would authorise him to arrest and bring to Jerusalem anyone he might find, man or woman, belonging to the Way.

As he travelled along and was approaching Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul! Why do you persecute me?” And he asked, “Who are You, Lord?” The voice replied, “I am Jesus Whom you persecute. Now get up and go into the city; there you will be told what you are to do.”

The men who were travelling with him stood there speechless : they had heard the sound, but could see no one. Saul got up from the ground and, opening his eyes, he could not see. They took him by the hand and brought him to Damascus. He was blind and he did not eat or drink for three days.

There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias, to whom the Lord called in a vision, “Ananias!” He answered, “Here I am, Lord!” Then the Lord said to him, “Go at once to Straight Street and ask, at the house of Judas, for a man of Tarsus named Saul. You will find him praying, for he has just seen in a vision that a man named Ananias has come in and placed his hands upon him, to restore his sight.”

Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man and all the harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem, and now he is here with authority from the High Priest to arrest all who call upon Your Name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go! This man is My chosen instrument to bring My Name to the pagan nations and their kings, and the people of Israel as well. I Myself will show him how much he will have to suffer for My Name.”

So Ananias left and went to the house. He laid his hands upon Saul and said, “Saul, my brother, the Lord Jesus, Who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me to you so that you may receive your sight and be filled with Holy Spirit.” Immediately something like scales fell from his eyes and he could see; he got up and was baptised. Then he took food and was strengthened.

For several days Saul stayed with the disciples at Damascus, and he soon began to proclaim in the synagogues that Jesus was the Son of God.

Thursday, 22 April 2021 : 3rd Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this day as we continue to listen from the Scriptures we are called to continue to proclaim the Word of God and His truth in our respective communities, in our lives and in our actions. We are all called to proclaim the Lord, our Living Bread, the Bread of Life and the Lamb of God, Who has come into this world to be our Saviour and leading us out of the darkness into the light.

We all proclaim Him as Our Lord and Saviour, as part of our Christian faith, our true belief and dedication, and we proclaim Him as the Light and Hope in the midst of all the darkness in this world, that through Christ and all that He has done for us, He has restored us to a new hope and freed us from the chains of sin and the tyranny of death that had separated us from Him. God’s great love for us had been manifested in Christ and His love, and as such, we His people who know Him, ought to be His good and faithful witnesses in this world, proclaiming Him through our actions and deeds.

Like St. Philip the Apostle, we have received the same Holy Spirit from God, through our baptism, and those of us who have received the Sacrament of Confirmation, we have been further strengthened by the same Spirit, through which God is guiding us to be His faithful witnesses and servants, to lead others and many people to Him. St. Philip ministered in the regions that he went to and met an Ethiopian official, on his way back from Jerusalem, and revealed to him the true identity of the Messiah proclaimed in the Scriptures, which the official happened to be reading.

St. Philip so convinced the Ethiopian official that he was willing to embrace baptism, and gave himself to be baptised by the Apostle. St. Philip has received this very truth and revelation from none other than the Lord Himself, Who in our Gospel passage today, spoke of Himself as the Bread of Life and the Saviour, sent from the Father in heaven into this world, to bring all of mankind to salvation, and to a new life, restoring them to true joy and grace. And unlike the old manna eaten by the Israelites in the past, the Bread of Life, given and offered freely by the Lord Himself, would bring all to life, eternal life in God.

But this truth is not something that is easily believed by many, as the Lord Himself, when He spoke of the truth before all the assembled people, He faced many skepticism and doubts, and many left Him and abandoned Him when He spoke in such terms. Even His disciples told Him that such a truth was truly very hard to take in and to be comprehended. Yet, it is this same truth which St. Philip had spoken of to the Ethiopian official, and the same truth that the Apostles, and so many saints and holy martyrs had toiled and laboured for, all suffering for the sake of the Lord.

Yet, they all rejoiced at the chance to suffer in the Lord, to continue to preach the truth and reach out more and more people despite the opposition, persecution, challenges and trials that they faced. Their exemplary faith and unceasing devotion to the Lord became source of inspiration for many others who followed in their footsteps, their commitment and courage became source of strength for those who also faced the same trials and challenges well after the time of the earliest disciples.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, how about us then? As Christians are we all inspired by the examples showed by our holy and dedicated predecessors? Are we inspired to reach out and be part of the Church’s continued efforts to evangelise and to proclaim the Good News and the truth to the people of God? As we are reminded today through the Scriptures, we are all part of this work of evangelisation, and the responsibility is upon us to be faithful always to the Lord, at all times, and to be exemplary in the way we live our lives in the most Christian way possible.

Otherwise, if our faith is just but in name or formality only, and if our actions show that we are not truly faithful, and are disobedient of the Lord, then it will be a scandal to our faith and a disgrace to the Lord. And we all shall be accountable to all these that we have done at the day of Judgment. Surely this is not what we want or intend to do. But that’s why we are reminded today yet again, during this most blessed time of Easter, to be a true Easter people, filled with the spirit and joy of Easter to proclaim joyfully the Lord, His truth and Resurrection to all. May God be with us always, and may He, our Risen Lord, bless us and our every good efforts and endeavours, always. Amen.