Saturday, 22 May 2021 : 7th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Rita of Cascia, Religious (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 21 : 20-25

At that time, Peter looked back and saw that the disciple Jesus loved was following as well, the one who had reclined close to Jesus at the supper, and had asked Him, “Lord, who is to betray You?”

On seeing him, Peter asked Jesus, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain until Income, does that concern you? Follow Me!” Because of this the rumour spread in the community that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus had not said to Peter, “He will not die,” but, “Suppose I want him to remain until I come.”

It is this disciple who testifies about the things he has written here, and we know that his testimony is true. But Jesus did many other things; if all were written down, I think the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.

Saturday, 22 May 2021 : 7th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Rita of Cascia, Religious (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 10 : 4, 5 and 7

The Lord is in His holy place – our God Whose throne is in heaven. He looks down to earth to observe the race of Adam.

The Lord searches both righteous and wicked. He hates those who delight in violence, for the Lord is righteous; He loves justice. The upright will see His face.

Saturday, 22 May 2021 : 7th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Rita of Cascia, Religious (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 28 : 16-20, 30-31

Upon our arrival in Rome, the captain turned the prisoners over to the military governor but permitted Paul to lodge in a private house with the soldier who guarded him. After three days, Paul called together the leaders of the Jews.

When they had gathered, he said to them : “Brothers, though I have not done anything against our people or against the traditions of our fathers, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. They examined me and wanted to set me free, for they saw nothing in my case that deserved death.”

“But the Jews objected, so I was forced to appeal to Caesar without the least intention of bringing any case against my own people. Therefore, I have asked to see you and speak with you, since it is because of the hope of Israel that I bear these chains.”

Paul stayed for two whole years in a house he himself rented, where he received without any hindrance all those who came to see him. He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught the truth about Jesus Christ, the Lord, quite openly and without any hindrance.

Friday, 21 May 2021 : 7th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Christopher Magallanes, Priest and Martyr, and Companions, Martyrs (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listened to the occasion when St. Paul stood before Festus, the governor of Judea and king Agrippa the Roman client ruler of the country, as he waited for his transfer to Rome following his decision to appeal his case to the Emperor himself. St. Paul was accused and condemned by the Jewish leaders and elders who opposed him and his efforts to spread the Christian faith among the Jews and the Gentiles alike. At that time, he testified about Christ before the two men, and tried to convince them about the truth of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world.

In our Gospel passage today, then we heard St. Peter and his conversation with the Lord at the Lake of Galilee, when after His Resurrection, the Lord appeared to His disciples as they were fishing by the lake. St. Peter was the very first one to recognise the Lord and he quickly came ashore to meet Him. The Lord called St. Peter aside after He had breakfast with the disciples, and we then heard what He told St. Peter in today’s Gospel, first asking him whether he loved Him, not just once but three times, again and again.

Through this action, the Lord showed that He has forgiven St. Peter’s thrice denial of Him at the time when He was arrested and brought before the chief priests during His Passion, and not only that but He also reaffirmed St. Peter as the leader of all the Apostles and as His Vicar, commissioning him as the first Pope and Leader of the Universal Church, to be the one to take care of His vast flock, all the people of God, together with the other Apostles and leaders of the Church.

This was also clearly not an easy task because the Lord Himself said how while in his younger years, St. Peter was free to go wherever he wanted and free to do whatever he wanted to do, in his old and end of days, he would be led in chains, endure prison and suffering, and all sorts of trials and challenges, all sorts of humiliation and ridicule for the sake of the Lord and his faith in Him. This is a revelation of how St. Peter would one day suffer and die for the sake of his faith, as he would go on to Rome, just as St. Paul also went to Rome, and while St. Paul would be beheaded at the end of his journey in Rome, St. Peter would be arrested, condemned to death and crucified upside down in the place where today stands the great Basilica of St. Peter.

The two Apostles had been called and chosen by the Lord to be His witnesses and missionaries among the various people they had been sent to. They responded with dedication and commitment, and they showed their love and devotion by committing themselves and all of their efforts to reach out to those who have not yet known the Lord, and they gave themselves wholeheartedly to the mission, even though they knew that they would have to suffer for all that they had done. They endured it all through faith.

Today, all of us are reminded through these two Apostles that being Christians and followers of the Lord require from us a total commitment, effort as well as dedication. And we should also trust the Lord in whatever that He has led us into, as we must believe that He is with us, guiding us at all times, through the Holy Spirit that He has given us, leading us through life. Often times we will have to make tough decisions and to resist the temptations to walk away from the Lord’s path. And that is why we must always anchor ourselves strongly to the Lord at all times.

Today we should be inspired by the examples set by St. Christopher Magallanes and his companions, holy martyrs of the faith, who have steadfastly dedicated themselves to the glory of God. St. Christopher Magallanes was a devoted priest in Mexico who lived and endured through the difficult years of persecution of the Church and Christians by the government that was deeply anticlerical and even anti-Christian at that time, as seminaries and schools ran by the Church were forced to close and many were deprived of the sacraments.

St. Christopher Magallanes was among the many priests who had to endure the most challenging conditions as everything were arrayed against them. Although he preached patience and refused to support pro-Christian rebellions, he was accused falsely of promoting rebellion and arrested under false charges. He was summarily executed with other Christian faithful, and to the ver end, he remained faithful and committed to the mission that God has entrusted to him and others. Many other Christians also perished during that time, and yet, their continued devotion to God despite the worst that happened to them became a great inspiration for many.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all be inspired by the examples of these great saints and martyrs who have gone before us. Let us follow in their footsteps and walk ever more courageously in the defence of our faith in the Lord, speaking up the truth of God and living our lives to the fullest possible as best as we can. May God bless us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

Friday, 21 May 2021 : 7th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Christopher Magallanes, Priest and Martyr, and Companions, Martyrs (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

John 21 : 15-19

At that time, after Jesus and His disciples had finished breakfast, He said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, You know that I love You.” And Jesus said, “Feed My lambs.”

A second time Jesus said to him, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” And Peter answered, “Yes, Lord, You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Look after My sheep.” And a third time He said to him, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”

Peter was saddened because Jesus asked him a third time, “Do you love Me?” and he said, “Lord, You know everything; You know that I love You.” Jesus then said, “Feed My sheep! Truly, I say to you, when you were young, you put on your belt and walked where you liked. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will put a belt around you, and lead you where you do not wish to go.”

Jesus said this to make known the kind of death by which Peter was to glorify God. And He added, “Follow Me.”

Friday, 21 May 2021 : 7th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Christopher Magallanes, Priest and Martyr, and Companions, Martyrs (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

Psalm 102 : 1-2, 11-12, 19-20ab

Bless the Lord, my soul; all my being, bless His holy Name! Bless the Lord, my soul, and do not forget all His kindness.

As the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His love for those fearing Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove from us our sins.

The Lord has set His throne in heaven; He rules, He has power everywhere. Praise the Lord, all you His Angels.