Tuesday, 27 April 2021 : 4th Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 86 : 1-3, 4-5, 6-7

He Himself has built it in His holy mountain; the Lord prefers the gates of Zion to all of Jacob’s towns. Great things have been foretold of you, o city of God.

Between friends we speak of Egypt and Babylon; and also Philistia, Tyre, Ethiopia : “Here so-and-so was born.” But of Zion it shall be said, “More and more are being born in her.” For the Most High Himself has founded her.

And the Lord notes in the people’s register : “All these were also born in Zion.” And all will dance and sing joyfully for You.

Tuesday, 27 April 2021 : 4th Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 11 : 19-26

Those who had been scattered because of the persecution over Stephen travelled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, telling the message, but only to the Jews. But there were some natives of Cyprus and Cyrene among them who, on coming into Antioch, spoke also to the Greeks, giving them the Good News of the Lord Jesus. The hand of the Lord was with them so that a great number believed and turned to the Lord.

News of this reached the ears of the Church in Jerusalem, so they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw the manifest signs of God’s favour, he rejoiced and urged them all to remain firmly faithful to the Lord; for he himself was a good man filled with Holy Spirit and faith. Thus large crowds came to know the Lord.

Then Barnabas went off to Tarsus to look for Saul and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they had meetings with the Church and instructed many people. It was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians.

Monday, 26 April 2021 : 4th Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are all reminded of our Christian obligation and responsibility to be the witnesses of the Good Shepherd, Our Lord, in the midst of our communities, and to be exemplary in our living and faith that we may indeed be good role models and examples in each of our words, actions and deeds, that we truly lead more and more people towards the Lord, to His salvation and grace.

Today we heard the continuation of yesterday’s discourse on Jesus Christ as the Good Shepherd, from the Good Shepherd Sunday. The Lord has revealed Himself as the Good Shepherd and presented Himself as the One Who would shepherd the flock of His people, Israel and more. He would not only seek the lost sheep among the Israelites but also from all the rest of mankind, all equally beloved by Him, and all equally treasured, especially the ones who have been lost and separated from Him.

That is why, the Lord gave His all in reaching out to us, as He wants us to be reconciled to God through Him. By incarnating in the flesh, and by dwelling among us, the Saviour both Man and Divine, Christ has become the tangible and approachable expression of God’s love. As I mentioned in yesterday’s homily, we are all the sheep of the Lord’s flock and we belong to Him, yet, it is thanks to Christ that we have found our Shepherd, the One Who leads us to the right paths.

As I mentioned, as sheep we belong to the Lord, but without Christ as our Shepherd, we can lose our way and be trapped in dangerous traps of sin and darkness of this world. That is why it is important that we listen to the Lord as He calls on us, as our Shepherd, calling on us the lost sheep to return to Him. And He sent His servants, the Apostles and their successors, who are our bishops and the priests, to be shepherds in His own mould, that through them many more people and many more souls may be saved.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in our first reading today we heard St. Peter speaking to the assembled faithful and the elders among the Christian community, the Apostles and the other disciples of the Lord. St. Peter spoke to them regarding the opposition showed by some among the Jewish converts in the community, who criticised St. Peter and what he had done, as he visited the house of a Gentile or non-Jew, which was abhorred and disliked by those among the Jews who were more conservative in their ways. Those Jewish converts were likely those belonging to this faction, members of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law who brought their own old ideology and way of thinking.

However, St. Peter revealed to all those gathered how the Lord wanted them to change their mindset, that they should be willing to listen to the Lord and His true intention and desire to love all of us mankind, all equally beloved by God and not just those of the chosen race of Israel only. Through St. Peter, God made this intention clear as He showed the Apostle in a vision of all sorts of food considered ‘unclean’ by the Jewish laws, which he rejected only for the Lord to tell him that what God has considered as ‘clean’ one must not consider as ‘unclean’.

This is what God meant when He told St. Peter and then the other disciples, of His ever encompassing love and kindness, His compassion and mercy, that He wants to give to all the children of mankind. He is sending His disciples to all the peoples of all the nations, to be His witnesses and to be the bearers of His light and truth to all of them. And He reiterated this in the Gospel passage today, as He spoke that He as the Good Shepherd is sent to lead all of the flock of God’s faithful, and that there are still yet other sheep that is not of this fold, referring to the Gentiles whom He was also calling to seek Him, the Good Shepherd of all, that they may find salvation through Him.

That is why, as Christians all of us are called to be the faithful and loving bearers of God’s love, His light and truth in the midst of our communities in today’s world. We must not allow ourselves to be exclusive and elitist in our outlook of faith, in thinking that we alone are worthy of God’s grace and love, as the Jewish converts who once opposed St. Peter had done. Instead, we should be willing to reach out and to open our hearts and minds to welcome all peoples, of all origins and nationalities, all equally beloved by God, our fellow brothers and sisters in the same Lord, Jesus Christ.

And as Christians we are also called to be exemplary in the way we live our lives with faith. We should be good examples and inspiration for everyone in even the small things we do, so that we too may be ‘shepherds’ and guides for each other. Each and every one of us through our common baptism share in this mission that the Lord has entrusted to us, to make disciples of all the peoples of all the nations, and to baptise all in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Through us, our faithful and exemplary life, and whatever contribution we can make, we are crucial and integral part of the Church’s efforts to reach out to the people of God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us therefore seek the Lord with a renewed faith and courage, entrusting ourselves to Him as His Apostles had done, to be like our Good Shepherd and to be faithful shepherds and guides to one another as part of our Christian calling and commitment. Let us all help each other in our journey of faith and support one another, particularly supporting and praying for our priests and all the leaders of the Church that they may always be faithful in their ministry as shepherds appointed in the mould of the one and true Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ.

May the Lord bless us all and may He give us all the strength to carry on living faithfully each and every days of our lives, that through us God may do ever more wonderful works and deeds in our world. May He remain with us and be with us always. Amen.

Monday, 26 April 2021 : 4th Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 10 : 1-10

Jesus said to His disciples, “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep. Not so the hired hand, or any other person who is not the shepherd, and to whom the sheep do not belong. They abandon the sheep as soon as they see the wolf coming; then the wolf snatches and scatters the sheep. This is because the hired hand works for pay and cares nothing for the sheep.”

“I am the Good Shepherd. I know My own and My own know Me, as the Father knows Me and I know the Father. Because of this, I give My life for My sheep. I have other sheep which are not of this fold. These I have to lead as well, and they shall listen to My voice. Then there will be one flock, since there is one Shepherd.”

“The Father loves Me, because I lay down My life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down freely. It is Mine to lay down and to take up again : this mission I received from My Father.”

Monday, 26 April 2021 : 4th Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 41 : 2-3 and Psalm 42 : 3, 4

As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for You, o God.

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I go and see the face of God?

Send forth Your light and Your truth; let them be my guide, let them take me to Your holy mountain, to the place where You reside.

Then will I go to the Altar of God, to God, my gladness and delight. I will praise You with the lyre an harp, o God, my God.

Monday, 26 April 2021 : 4th Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 11 : 1-18

News came to the Apostles and the brothers and sisters in Judea that even foreigners had received the Word of God. So, when Peter went up to Jerusalem, these Jewish believers began to argue with him, “You went to the home of uncircumcised people and ate with them!”

So Peter began to give them the facts as they had happened, “I was at prayer in the city of Joppa when, in a trance, I saw a vision. Something like a large sheet came down from the sky and drew near to me, landing on the ground by its four corners. As I stared at it, I saw four-legged creatures of the earth, wild beasts and reptiles, and birds of the sky.”

“Then I heard a voice saying to me : ‘Get up, Peter, kill and eat!’ I replied, ‘Certainly not, Lord! No common or unclean creature has ever entered my mouth.’ A second time the voice from the heavens spoke, ‘What God has made clean, you must not call unclean.’ This happened three times, and then it was all drawn up into the sky. At that moment three men, who had been sent to me from Caesarea, arrived at the house where we were staying.”

“The Spirit instructed me to go with them without hesitation; so these six brothers came along with me and we entered into the man’s house. He told us how he had seen an Angel standing in his house and telling him : ‘Send someone to Joppa and fetch Simon, also known as Peter. He will bring you a message by which you and all your household will be saved.”

“I had begun to address them when suddenly the Holy Spirit came upon them, just as it had come upon us at the beginning. Then I remembered what the Lord had said : ‘John baptised with water, but you shall be baptised with the Holy Spirit.’ If, then, God had given them the same gift that He had given us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to resist God?”

When they heard this they set their minds at rest and praised God saying, “Then God has granted life-giving repentance to the pagan nations as well.”