Tuesday, 28 December 2021 : Feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Matthew 2 : 13-18

After the wise men had left, an Angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph and said, “Get up, take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you, for Herod will soon be looking for the Child in order to kill Him.”

Joseph got up, took the Child and His mother, and left that night for Egypt, where He stayed until the death of Herod. In this way, what the Lord had said through the prophet was fulfilled : I called My Son out of Egypt.

When Herod found out that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was furious. He gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its neighbourhood who were two years old or under. This was done in line with what he had learnt from the wise men about the time when the star appeared.

In this way, what the prophet Jeremiah had said was fulfilled : A cry is heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation : Rachel weeps for her children. She refuses to be comforted, for they are no more.

Tuesday, 28 December 2021 : Feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 123 : 2–3, 4-5, 7cd-8

Had not the Lord been on our side, when people rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us alive; such was their anger against us.

A bit more and the flood would have engulfed us, the torrent would have swept over us, the raging waters would have swept us away.

The snare was broken and we were freed. Our help is in the Name of the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.

Tuesday, 28 December 2021 : Feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

1 John 1 : 5 – 1 John 2 : 2

We heard His message from Him and announce it to you : God is light and there is no darkness in Him. If we say we are in fellowship with Him, while we walk in darkness, we lie instead of being in truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we are in fellowship with one another, and the Blood of Jesus, the Son of God, purifies us from all sin.

If we say, “We have no sin,” we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He Who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from our wickedness. If we say that we do not sin, we make God a liar, His word is not in us.

My little children, I write to you that you may not sin. But if anyone sins, we have an Intercessor with the Father, Jesus Christ, the Just One. He is the sacrificial Victim for our sins and the sins of the whole world.

Monday, 27 December 2021 : Feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us celebrate the great feast of one of the Lord’s Twelve Apostles, who happens to be one of the Four great Evangelists as well. St. John the Apostle and Evangelist was one of the two sons of Zebedee together with St. James the Apostle, his elder brother. With St. Peter and St. Andrew, all of them were fishermen in the lake of Galilee. They were all called by the Lord to follow Him, and they left their old profession and their families, committing themselves to the Lord and served Him from then on.

St. John became one of the Lord’s closest disciples, as one of the Twelve Apostles, and also together with St. Peter and St. James, his brother, he was often brought to the most important events in the Lord’s ministry, such as the resurrection of the synagogue official’s dead daughter, the Transfiguration of the Lord at Mount Tabor, and also the moments of Our Lord’s Agony at the Gardens of Gethsemane just before the time of His Passion. He therefore witnessed many of the important events surrounding the Lord’s ministry and works, and was a witness of His miracles and His truth.

St. John the Apostle was one of those who remained by the Lord’s side and kept following Him even up to the moments of His Passion, suffering and death on the Cross. He accompanied Mary, the Lord’s own mother as she came to the foot of the Cross, seeing her own Son being crucified and died before her. It was to St. John that the Lord entrusted His mother, and similarly, He entrusted St. John to Mary as well. St. John therefore was really important in his role in the early Church, as one of the Apostles and close collaborators of the Lord.

And not only that, he also spent many decades in spreading the truth of God all over the known world, travelling from places to places with the other Apostles and disciples, assisting in the foundation of the Church in various places. St. John also wrote several Epistles and letters in addition to his well-known work on one of the four canonical or officially endorsed Gospels. He was also the one who received the vision of the end of times in the Island of Patmos where he was exiled to by the persecution of Christians throughout the Roman Empire. He recorded all that he had seen in what we now know as the Book of Revelations.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we reflect on the life and the ministry of St. John, Holy Apostle and Evangelist, let us all first reflect on what he wrote in his own Epistle, which is in our first reading today. St. John wrote of the Word of Life that has come into this world, and how he and the many other Apostles and disciples had shared and given whatever they had experienced and received from the Lord. He showed us that this same Jesus Christ that we are celebrating this Christmas is the One Who is the Saviour of the world, and the One Who has brought Life upon us.

St. John gave his whole life and did everything he could to glorify the Lord by his life and actions. He encouraged many of the faithful back then who were going through many persecutions, and through his accounts in the Book of Revelations, he encouraged the faithful not to give up on their faith in God as no matter what, in the end, God will come and claim His faithful ones, and those who remain faithful to Him will indeed receive the promise of eternal life, true happiness and everlasting joy with Him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today let us all realise that just as St. John had been called to follow the Lord and be His disciple, all of us have also received the same calling as Christians to follow the Lord and to devote ourselves to Him. This is what we have to remind ourselves well as we continue to celebrate the joy and hope of Christmas in this ongoing Christmas season. We have to remember that we are the witnesses of His truth and love, of the Love of God incarnate in the flesh, in Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour.

Are we able and willing to follow in the footsteps and examples set by St. John the Apostle and Evangelist, brothers and sisters? Are we willing to live our lives wholeheartedly in accordance to our Christian faith, and especially now in our Christmas celebrations by putting Christ at the centre and heart of all of our rejoicing? It is through our genuine faith and sincere commitment to the path that God has shown us that we can inspire so many others to come to believe in the Lord as well.

May the Lord, born in Bethlehem and celebrated by us in this Christmas season, continue to help and guide us in our journey of faith. May St. John, His Holy Apostle and one of the Four great Evangelists continue to inspire us by his examples and intercede for all of us, that God may strengthen our faith and that we will grow ever closer to Him, now and always, forevermore. Amen.

Monday, 27 December 2021 : Feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 20 : 2-8

At that time, Mary of Magdala ran to Peter, and the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and she said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we do not know where they have laid Him.”

Peter then set out with the other disciple to go out to the tomb. They ran together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down and saw the linen cloths lying flat, but he did not enter. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and entered the tomb; he, too, saw the linen cloths lying flat.

The napkin, which had been around His head, was not lying flat like the other linen cloths, but lay rolled up in its place. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in; he saw and believed.

Monday, 27 December 2021 : Feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 96 : 1-2, 5-6, 11-12

The Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice; let the distant islands be glad. Clouds and darkness surround Him; justice and right are His throne.

The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, the Lord of all the earth. The heavens proclaim His justice, all peoples see His glory.

He sheds light upon the upright, and gladness upon the just. Rejoice in the Lord, you who are blameless, and give praise to His holy Name.

Monday, 27 December 2021 : Feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 John 1 : 1-4

This is what has been from the beginning, and what we have heard and have seen with our own eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, I mean the Word Who is Life…

The Life made Itself known, we have seen Eternal Life and we bear witness, and we are telling you of it. It was with the Father and made Himself known to us. So we tell you what we have seen and heard, that you may be in fellowship with us, and us, with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.

And we write this that our joy may be complete.