Thursday, 29 April 2021 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 13 : 16-20

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly, I say to you, the servant is not greater than his master, nor is the messenger greater than he who sent him. Understand this, and blessed are you, if you put it into practice.”

“I am not speaking of you all, because I know the ones I have chosen, and the Scripture has to be fulfilled that says : The one who shared My table has risen against Me. I tell you this now before it happens, so that when it does happen, you may know that I am He.”

“Truly, I say to you, whoever welcomes the one I send, welcomes Me; and whoever welcomes Me, welcomes the One Who sent Me.”

Thursday, 29 April 2021 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 88 : 2-3, 21-22, 25 and 27

I will sing forever, o Lord, of Your love and proclaim Your faithfulness from age to age. I will declare how steadfast is Your love, how firm Your faithfulness.

I have found David My servant, and with My holy oil I have anointed him. My hand will be ever with him and My arm will sustain.

My faithfulness and love will be with him, and by My help he will be strong. He will call on Me, ‘You are my Father, my God, my Rock, my Saviour.’

Thursday, 29 April 2021 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 13 : 13-25

From Paphos, Paul and his companions set sail and came to Perga in Pamphylia. There John left them and returned to Jerusalem, while they went on from Perga and came to Antioch in Pisidia. On the Sabbath day they entered the synagogue and sat down. After the reading of the Law and the Prophets, the officials of the synagogue sent this message to them, “Brothers, if you have any word of encouragement for the assembly, please speak up.”

So Paul arose, motioned to them for silence and began, “Fellow Israelites and also all you who fear God, listen. The God of our people Israel chose our ancestors, and after He had made them increase during their stay in Egypt, He led them out by powerful deeds.”

“For forty years He fed them in the desert, and after He had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, He gave them their land as an inheritance. All this took four hundred and fifty years. After that, he gave them Judges until Samuel the prophet. Then they asked for a king and God gave them Saul, son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, and he was king for forty years.”

“After that time, God removed him and raised up David as king, to whom He bore witness saying : ‘I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all I want him to do.’ It is from the descendants of David that God has now raised up the promised Saviour of Israel, Jesus.”

“Before He appeared, John proclaimed a baptism of repentance for all the people of Israel. As John was ending his life’s work, he said : ‘I am not what you think I am, for after me another One is coming Whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.'”

Wednesday, 28 April 2021 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Peter Chanel, Priest and Martyr and St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scripture we are presented with the story of the works of the Apostles and the followers of the Lord who went about from places to places, speaking about God and His truth, and calling on many to embrace the Christian faith. And the Lord reminded all of us through today’s Gospel passage that He will always be with us, and He will never abandon us, and that we are all proclaiming the same truth which He Himself has brought into this world, into our midst.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Acts of the Apostles on the ministry of the Apostles and the disciples who went to many parts of the regions of the Eastern Mediterranean while preaching the Good News and establishing the foundation of the Church and the Christian communities in those locations. And the Lord told His Apostles and disciples to send St. Paul and St. Barnabas to the Gentiles and minister to them, which marked the beginning of their ministry among the Gentiles and especially for St. Paul, his many decades of work in reaching out to them.

The Apostles prayed over the two and asked the Lord to guide them in their journey and in their efforts, and they were sent with much encouragement, to bring hope and light to those who have not yet known the Lord and are still living in the darkness. The Lord has sent His disciples to reveal more of His truth to all those who still have not heard of Him yet, and through these faithful disciples He is calling on all of them to follow Him.

He calls on everyone to follow Him, and He has done everything that we may find our way to Him. Yet, there were still many who refused to believe in Him and persecuted His disciples and followers. Yet, He still sent more and more people to turn even these stubborn and hard-hearted people, persuading them and asking them to listen to reason and to open their hearts and minds, listening to the truth that He has brought to them. His love for each and every one of us is the reason why He kept on doing that, again and again.

And therefore we are all called today to reflect firstly on ourselves and our own lives. Have we been stubborn in refusing to follow the Lord wholeheartedly, in continuing to act in ways that are contrary to the way of the Lord, in disobeying Him and being stubborn in following our own desires and the path of worldliness and sin? There are many who are just Christians in name only, and in their hearts and minds, God is not truly present, and He is also not the centre and focus.

Today all of us are therefore reminded to be truly faithful to God, and we are all called to give our whole heart and mind to Him, just as the Apostles and the countless disciples and followers of the Lord had done. In all that they had done, they are our wonderful sources of inspiration, in living up to their faith and in following what the Lord had called them to do, dedicating themselves wholeheartedly to the missions entrusted to them. The Lord called them and they heard Him, and they responded to that call with great dedication and faith.

Today, we are called to follow the examples of St. Peter Chanel and St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, whose feast day we are celebrating today. St. Peter Chanel was a renowned French priest and missionary, who always had great zeal for missionary work and outreach, and as he joined the congregation dedicated for missionary work in both local and far flung foreign areas. In this regard, St. Peter Chanel was eventually sent to French Polynesia, where he ministered to the people there and to all the others that he visited on his way to the place of his ministry.

In Futuna, where he ministered to the locals, he was initially welcomed by the local king and tribe, but in time, as more and more of the locals were converted, the king and his nobles began to fear that Christianity and Christian missionaries would become great threat to their own influence and power, especially the king as the high priest and the leader of the pagan faith of the locals. Hence, eventually, when St. Peter Chanel managed to persuade even the king’s son to be baptised, the king arranged for his champion to kill St. Peter Chanel, who died a martyr defending his faith.

Meanwhile, St. Louis Marie de Montfort was a renowned priest who is remembered well for his intense Marian devotion and also great contributions to the field of Mariology. He is remembered for his courageous efforts in evangelisation and preaching in various places where he helped many people to discover the Lord and renew their faith in Him, while encouraging the devotion to His Blessed Mother Mary, and calling on many people to repent and turn away from their sins. Thanks to his dedication, many people, even after his passing, have been inspired by him and chose to follow the Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore commit ourselves to the Lord following the good examples of these two saints, and that of the Apostles, especially St. Paul and St. Barnabas, that each and every one of us, in our own ways, and in each and every of our own capacities and abilities, we may glorify the Lord by our lives, and may show great and wonderful testimony of our faith through our actions, words and deeds in life. May all of us be blessed and strengthened by the Lord in all of our efforts and good works, now and always. Amen.