Wednesday, 5 May 2021 : 5th Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 15 : 1-8

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “I am the True Vine and My Father is the Vinegrower. If any of My branches does not bear fruit, He breaks it off; and He prunes every branch that does bear fruit, that it may bear even more fruit.”

“You are already made clean by the word I have spoken to you. Live in Me as I live in you. The branch cannot bear fruit by itself, but has to remain part of the vine; so neither can you, if you do not remain in Me. I am the Vine and you are the branches. As long as you remain in Me and I in you, you bear much fruit; but apart from Me you can do nothing.”

“Whoever does not remain in Me is thrown away, as they do with branches, and they wither. Then they are gathered and thrown into the fire and burnt. If you remain in Me and My words in you, you may ask whatever you want, and it will be given to you. My Father is glorified when you bear much fruit : it is then that you become My disciples.”

Wednesday, 5 May 2021 : 5th Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 121 : 1-2, 3-4a, 4b-5

I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” And now we have set foot within your gates, o Jerusalem!

Jerusalem, just like a city, where everything falls into place! There the tribes go up.

The tribes of the Lord, the assembly of Israel, to give thanks to the Lord’s Name. There stand the courts of justice, the offices of the house of David.

Wednesday, 5 May 2021 : 5th Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 15 : 1-6

Some persons who had come from Judea to Antioch were teaching the brothers in this way, “Unless you are circumcised according to the law of Moses, you cannot be saved.”

Because of this there was trouble, and Paul and Barnabas had fierce arguments with them. For Paul told the people to remain as they were when they became believers. Finally those who had come from Jerusalem suggested that Paul and Barnabas and some others go up to Jerusalem to discuss the matter with the Apostles and elders.

They were sent on their way by the Church. As they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria they reported how the non-Jews had turned to God, and there was great joy among all the brothers and sisters. On their arrival in Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the Church, the Apostles and the elders, to whom they told all that God had done through them.

Some believers, however, who belonged to the party of the Pharisees, stood up and said that non-Jewish men must be circumcised and instructed to keep the law of Moses. So the Apostles and elders met together to consider the matter.

Tuesday, 4 May 2021 : 5th Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the Scripture passages today detailed the works of the Apostles, St. Paul and St. Barnabas, who have been sent to the Gentiles to minister to them and to preach to them the Good News of God. And as we heard, they did not have it easy as they had to face opposition, rejection and persecution, all for the sake of the Lord. And God Himself has also reassured His disciples that they ought to have peace in them, that He is always with them no matter what, and they are never alone.

In our first reading today we heard about how some of the Jews struck at St. Paul and St. Barnabas during one of their missions, inciting the crowd to rise up and oppose the two Apostles. The two of them were left almost dead, but God was with them, and when the two of them survived and were strengthened by God, they continued with their mission with equal if not stronger zeal and commitment. They went on to Antioch where there they told the other disciples about what they had encountered.

Through this powerful testimony of God’s providence, St. Paul and St. Barnabas wanted to reassure all of the faithful then whose faith was wavering because of the constant persecution and rejection, that they should not give up against all those pressures and coercion. St. Paul and St. Barnabas encouraged the faithful to put their trust in the Lord and reminded them of the calling for each and every one of them to be good and faithful disciples, to be genuine witnesses of the Lord at every opportunities possible.

The Lord reassured all of His disciples in our Gospel passage today, and therefore, His reassurance is also extended to us. The Lord wants all of us to know that we are never alone in our struggles and in our most difficult moments, and that He is always journeying together with us and staying by our side at all times. God has always been faithful to the Covenant that He has established with us, no less through the shedding and outpouring of His own Precious Body and Blood on the Cross.

However, brothers and sisters in Christ, the question now is, do we realise just how fortunate and blessed we are to have received the love of God constantly in our lives? Do we realise just how beloved we are by God and just how wonderful His dedication is to each and every one of us without any exception? Too many of us are too busy and preoccupied with our worldly concerns and lives that we often failed to realise this truth.

That is why many of us faltered in faith whenever trials and challenges come our way, and many of us also chose to remain idle and ignoring the call for us to be active and committed Christians, not just in name or as formality only, but also in our real action and dedication as well. Many of us have not had that strong and genuine relationship with God, and we really should reflect on how we can be better followers and disciples of Our Lord in each and every moments of our lives, that we may grow ever more committed to Him and realise just how fortunate we are that God has been guiding us throughout our journey all these while.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all seek the Lord with renewed zeal and faith this Easter season, as we are constantly reminded again and again of all the courageous efforts and works of those who have dedicated themselves for the greater glory of God, His Apostles and all those saints and martyrs, all those who have willingly suffered and even died in remaining steadfast to their beliefs and their trust in the Lord. They have shown us what it really means for us to be Christians, to be those whom the Lord has called to be His own, to be His beloved people.

We must not be afraid of the trials and challenges that we will encounter in life as we labour and toil for the greater glory of God. We have to learn to trust the Lord and His providence, that He will guide us to the right path, and He will guide and assist us whenever we are in need of help, guidance and direction in life. What matters is, are we all willing to listen to Him and are we willing to allow Him to lead us and to show us the way? Or do we still stubbornly cling to our own ways and methods, and trusting in our own power rather than to entrust ourselves to Him, and do everything with Him by our side?

The Lord has freely offered us all His love and guidance, His providence and help, and then now it is really up to us how we will respond to His call and His generous offer of love and compassion, His attention towards us and His providence. Let us all renew therefore our love and faith in Him, and do whatever we can that in our every actions and deeds, in our every moments in life, we will be the faithful bearers of His Good News and truth, much like St. Paul and St. Barnabas, fearing not the persecution and ridicule of the world, but remaining steadfast in our desire to love and serve the Lord at all times. May God bless us always, in our every good works and endeavours, now and always. Amen.

Tuesday, 4 May 2021 : 5th Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 14 : 27-31a

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Peace be with you! I give you My peace; not as the world gives peace do I give it to you. Do not be troubled; do not be afraid. You heard Me say, ‘I am going away, but I am coming to you.’ If you loved Me, you would be glad that I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.”

“I have told you this now before it takes place, so that when it does happen you may believe. It is very little what I may still tell you, for the prince of this world is at hand, although there is nothing in Me that he can claim. But see, the world must know that I love the Father, and that I do what the Father has taught Me to do.”

Tuesday, 4 May 2021 : 5th Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 144 : 10-11, 12-13ab, 21

All Your works will give You thanks; all Your saints, o Lord, will praise You. They will tell of the glory of Your kingdom and speak of Your power.

That all may know of Your mighty deeds, Your reign and its glorious splendour. Your reign is from age to age; Your dominion endures from generation to generation.

Let my mouth speak in praise of the Lord, let every creature bless His holy Name, forever and ever.

Tuesday, 4 May 2021 : 5th Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 14 : 19-28

Then some Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium and turned the people against Paul and Barnabas. They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the town, leaving him for dead. But when his disciples gathered around him, he stood up and returned to the town. And the next day he left for Derbe with Barnabas.

After proclaiming the Gospel in that town and making many disciples, they returned to Lystra and Iconium and on to Antioch. They were strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain firm in the faith, for they said, “We must go through many trials to enter the Kingdom of God.”

In each Church they appointed elders and, after praying and fasting, they commended them to the Lord in Whom they had placed their faith. Then they travelled through Pisidia, and came to Pamphylia. They preached the Word in Perga and went down to Attalia. From there they sailed back to Antioch, where they had first been commended to God’s grace for the task they had now completed.

On their arrival they gathered the Church together and told them all that God had done through them and how He had opened the door of faith to the non-Jews. They spent a fairly long time there with the disciples.