Tuesday, 12 April 2022 : Tuesday of Holy Week (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

John 13 : 21-33, 36-38

At that time, after He said a discourse to His disciples after He washed their feet, Jesus was distressed in Spirit, and said plainly, “Truly, one of you will betray Me.” The disciples then looked at one another, wondering whom He meant. One of the disciples, the one Jesus loved, was reclining near Jesus; so Simon Peter signalled him to ask Jesus whom He meant.

And the disciple, who was reclining near Jesus, asked Him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “I shall dip a piece of bread in the dish, and he to whom I give it, is the one.” So Jesus dipped the bread and gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And as Judas took the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus then said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”

None of the others, reclining at the table, understood why Jesus said this to Judas. As Judas had the common purse, they may have thought that Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or “Give something to the poor.” Judas left as soon as he had eaten the bread. It was night.

When Judas had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him. God will glorify Him, and He will glorify Him very soon. My children, I am with you for only a little while; you will look for Me, but as I already told the Jews, so now I tell you : where I am going you cannot come.”

Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, where are You going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but afterwards you will.” Peter said, “Lord, why can I not follow You now? I am ready to give my life for You.”

“To give your life for Me?” Jesus asked Peter, “Truly I tell you, the cock will not crow, before you have denied Me three times.”

Tuesday, 12 April 2022 : Tuesday of Holy Week (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 70 : 1-2, 3-4a, 5-6ab, 15ab and 17

In You, o Lord, I seek refuge; let me not be disgraced. In Your justice help me and deliver me, turn Your ear to me and save me!

Be my Rock of refuge, a Stronghold to give me safety, for You are my Rock and my Fortress. Rescue me, o my God, from the hand of the wicked.

For You, o Lord, have been my Hope, my Trust, o God, from my youth. I have relied on You from birth : from my mother’s womb You brought me forth.

My lips will proclaim Your intervention and tell of Your salvation all day, little though it is what I can understand. You have taught me from my youth and until now I proclaim Your marvels.

Tuesday, 12 April 2022 : Tuesday of Holy Week (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Isaiah 49 : 1-6

Listen to me, o islands, pay attention, peoples from distant lands. YHVH called me from my mother’s womb; He pronounced my name before I was born. He made my mouth like a sharpened sword. He hid me in the shadow of His hand. He made me into a polished arrow set apart in His quiver.

He said to me, “You are Israel, my servant, through you I will be known.” “I have laboured in vain,” I thought, “and spent my strength for nothing.” Yet what is due me was in the hand of YHVH, and my reward was with my God. I am important in the sight of YHVH, and my God is my Strength.

And now YHVH has spoken, He Who formed me in the womb to be His servant, to bring Jacob back to Him, to gather Israel to Him. He said : “It is not enough that you be My servant, to restore the tribes of Jacob, to bring back the remnant of Israel. I will make you the light of the nations, that My salvation will reach to the ends of the earth.”

Monday, 11 April 2022 : Monday of Holy Week (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to our Scripture passages detailing to us more about the actions that the Lord had taken for the sake of our salvation, as He entered into His Passion, the culmination of His ministry in this world. The Lord has come into our midst to bring unto us the liberation and the promises that He has made to us since the very beginning. He has never abandoned us even in our most rebellious and delinquent moments. We will never be disappointed or found wanting should we put our faith and trust in God. In the end, we all shall triumph together with Him and we shall be victorious in our struggle with evil and sin, with death and the battle against damnation.

In our first reading today, we heard of the account from the Book of the prophet Isaiah in which the Lord spoke through Isaiah the prophecy of the Messiah or Saviour that God has promised. He spoke of how the Messiah would come to bring all of His people back to Him, to proclaim the Good News of the salvation of God, ushering the blessed time of new life with God. The beloved people of God would no longer be separated from Him, and He will gather all of them into His Presence, reconciling each and every one of us to Himself, through none other than the very same Saviour, Jesus Christ, the One Whom Isaiah had spoken about.

In our Gospel passage today, we then heard of the account of the moment when the Lord Jesus, just shortly before His suffering and death, had His feet anointed by Mary, likely referring to Mary Magdalene, who used a precious and expensive jar of perfume to anoint the Lord’s feet and then wipe His feet clean with her tears and her hair. As the Lord Himself mentioned, this act was very symbolic of everything that He was to go through in order to secure for us the assurance of eternal life, that He has to go through death in order to save us all, and the anointing was reminiscent of what the dead bodies experienced, as they were usually anointed with perfumes and precious spices before they were to be buried.

We also heard how Judas Iscariot, the same one who would betray the Lord, immediately criticised Mary and her actions, saying that what she had done and spent in anointing the Lord with such expensive perfume could have been better used when sold and then the proceeds given to the poor. However, as we all heard in the same passage, the apparently noble facade of Judas Iscariot hid the true most malicious intent of the man, who had always dishonestly taken from the common fund of the Lord and His disciples, for his own personal benefits, and worse still, as we heard today, he acted as the ultimate hypocrite in saying such words.

The Lord certainly knew all that Judas had done, and He also immediately rebuked him for his words, and instead explained that what Mary did was indeed right, in preparing Him and His Body for the upcoming suffering and death that He would endure. Essentially, the Lord praised Mary for her humility and faith, that she would humble herself so, humbling herself before everyone and wiping the Lord’s feet with her hair, the crown of her beauty, symbolising her submission to God and her abandonment of worldly glory and desires in pursuit of the Lord and His truth. Contrast this with the prideful and haughty attitude of Judas Iscariot, who though sinner, must have thought of himself as being better and morally more upright than Mary.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, reflecting on all that we have heard from the Scripture passages today, we are all reminded that we are all sinners who have been so fortunate to be beloved by God so wonderfully that He has given each and every one of us the sure path out of the darkness through His Son, Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour. The Lord has come into our midst and He has dwelled among us, that He may bring to us the fullness of His love, and that He may bring us back to His embrace. And though we are sinners, He loves us much greater than He despises our sins, and should we be like Mary, in humbling ourselves and seeking to love and serve the Lord once again, we shall be justified, be pardoned from our sins, and be fully reconciled with Him.

Now, as we proceed through this holiest time of the Holy Week, let us all reflect carefully on our lives and actions. Let us all ponder in what way we can better live our lives that we may walk ever more courageously and with dedication in the path that the Lord has shown to us. All of us have been called and invited to return to the Lord with faith, and we recall all that the Lord, our most loving God and Saviour, by Whose suffering, death and resurrection we have been made whole again, and given once again the new hope and sure assurance of eternal life of true happiness with Him. All of us should have deserved death and eternal damnation for our sins, and yet, God in His infinite mercy and compassion wants us to repent from those sins and to return to Him.

Let us all therefore make great use of the time and opportunities that have been given to us so we may not fall into the path of sin and damnation, but instead, enter into the Lord’s presence worthy and justified by our faith. Let us have a most fruitful Holy Week and be filled with renewed conviction from now on to live our lives in the path of the Lord and be courageous and committed disciples, not imitating the examples of Judas Iscariot, but rather the piety and humility as shown by Mary as we heard in our Gospel passage today. May God be with us always, now and forevermore. Amen.