Thursday, 14 April 2022 : Holy Thursday, Chrism Mass (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 4 : 16-21

At that time, when Jesus came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, as He usually did. He stood up to read, and they handed Him the book of the prophet Isaiah.

Jesus then unrolled the scroll and found the place where it is written : “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me. He has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives and new sight to the blind; to free the oppressed and to announce the Lord’s year of mercy.”

Jesus then rolled up the scroll, gave it to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. Then He said to them, “Today these prophetic words come true, even as you listen.”

Thursday, 14 April 2022 : Holy Thursday, Chrism Mass (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Revelations 1 : 5-8

And from Jesus Christ, the faithful Witness, the Firstborn of the dead, the Ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him Who loves us and has washed away our sins with His own Blood, making us a kingdom and priests for God His Father, to Him be the glory and power forever and ever. Amen.

See He comes with the clouds and everyone will see Him, even those who pierced Him; on His account all the nations of the earth will beat his breast. Yes. It will be so. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, He Who is, Who was and Who is to come : the Master of the universe.

Thursday, 14 April 2022 : Holy Thursday, Chrism Mass (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 88 : 21-22, 25 and 27

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 him.

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, 14 April 2022 : Holy Thursday, Chrism Mass (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Isaiah 61 : 1-3a, 6a, 8b-9

The Spirit of the Lord YHVH is upon Me, because YHVH has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent Me to bind up broken hearts, to proclaim liberty to the captives, freedom to those languishing in prison; to announce the year of YHVH’s favour and the day of vengeance of our God; to give comfort to all who grieve; (to comfort those who mourn in Zion) and give them a garland instead of ashes.

But you will be named priests of YHVH, you will be called ministers of our God. I will give them their due reward and make an everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants shall be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a race YHVH has blessed.

Wednesday, 13 April 2022 : Wednesday of Holy Week (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in our Scripture passages today we heard of the sufferings that the Lord would receive at the hands of His oppressors, as well as everything that would happen to Him in the moment of His Passion, His suffering and death. He would be abandoned by His disciples, betrayed by one of His closest collaborators, and He would have to endure the punishments and sufferings for mistakes, crimes and sins that He Himself did not commit.

Through Christ, our Lord and Saviour, God has willed to redeem us all from our sins, and through Him, He has called us out of the darkness, bringing His light of hope and truth into our midst, as He revealed His perfect and ever-enduring love and kindness, His compassion and mercy through Christ, the manifestation of His love in the flesh. God has become Man so that through this act of supreme love, He can be reconciled with us, and that we may find our way back to Him, and will not perish but have eternal life, as He has always intended for us.

Yet, in order to do that, He had to suffer, and suffer most grievously because the consequence and punishment for sin is rightly death. We have disobeyed and abandoned the Lord and Master of all life, the Source of our life and the One from Whom we gained our existence, and therefore, we deserve death and destruction. We should all have been condemned to hell and the eternity of sufferings, as what the devil and his fellow fallen angels had been sentenced to.

But God loved us all above everything else. For He created us out of love, making us all in His own image, as the most perfect and beloved of all of His creations. He gave us life because He loved us all and wanted us all to enjoy forever with Him the goodness and the bounty of His wonderful works, with the Gardens of Eden, the paradise that existed at the beginning of time supposedly where we should have been, if not for our downfall into sin.

Through sin we have been defiled and therefore separated from God, and yet, God did not condemn us, destroy us or annihilate us when He could perfectly and easily have done so. Instead, He still loved us all very much, and His love for us all surpassed the disgust and the anger He has against our sinfulness. He despised not us, the sinners, but our sins and wickedness. His love for us endures and even grows stronger, as He continued to watch over us and wanted to be reconciled with us.

God has loved us so much that He gave us all His one and only begotten Son, that through Him we may not perish, but have eternal life. He has reached out to us through His Son, Who willingly endured that betrayal and rejection, all the insults and humiliations, the worst of all pains and sufferings imaginable, as He shouldered His Cross and endured countless blows and wounds to His Body. That is why today we heard all of these from the Scriptures as a reminder for us of how much beloved we are by God that He has willingly done all these for our sake, to go through all the worst sufferings for us.

Today we also heard how Judas Iscariot betrayed the Lord for the mere price of thirty silver coins, which contextually was the price of a slave. Therefore, God allowed Himself to be treated like a slave, to be punished for us, so that like what He had once done to the Israelites in leading them out of their slavery in Egypt, He may also lead all of us out of our slavery to sin. Judas Iscariot showed us how our greed and desire can be our great undoing and lead us down the path towards ruin. We can end up doing things that we regret, just as Judas was swayed by Satan and overwhelmed by his desire for money and lack of faith to betray his own Lord and Master.

Then, this Holy Week as we draw closer to the beginning of Easter Triduum tomorrow, have we prepared ourselves worthily in our hearts, minds and indeed in our whole entire beings? Have we prepared ourselves so that we may physically, spiritually and mentally celebrate the upcoming greatest events and mysteries surrounding our Lord’s Passion, His suffering and death, His Resurrection by which all of us have received the guarantee of eternal life and true happiness? We are all called to put our faith in Him and spend this time to reflect on our own lives. Have we lived our lives in accordance with God’s ways or not?

May the Lord continue to guide us and help us, so that in everything we do, we will always be exemplary in all things, and be good role models and examples for our fellow men and women. Let us all make good use of our time and the opportunities given to us so that we may be ever better disciples and followers of Our Lord. Let us all not be like Judas Iscariot who easily gave in to temptations and betrayed the Lord for money. May all of us be ever closer to God and be ever more reflective of His love and truth in our lives and actions, now and always. Amen.

Wednesday, 13 April 2022 : Wednesday of Holy Week (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Matthew 26 : 14-25

Then one of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “How much will you give me if I hand Him over to you?” They promised to give him thirty pieces of silver, and from then on, he kept looking for the best way to hand Jesus over to them.

On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and said to Him, “Where do You want us to prepare the Passover meal for you?” Jesus answered, “Go into the city, to the house of a certain man, and tell him, ‘The Master says : My hour is near, and I will celebrate the Passover with My disciples in your house.'”

The disciples did as Jesus had ordered, and prepared the Passover meal. When it was evening, Jesus sat at table with the Twelve. While they were eating, Jesus said, “Truly I say to you : one of you will betray Me.” They were deeply distressed, and they asked Him, one after the other, “You do not mean me, do You, Lord?”

He answered, “The one who dips his bread with Me will betray Me. The Son of Man is going as the Scripture says He will. But alas for that one who betrays the Son of Man : better for him not to have been born.” Judas, who was betraying Him, also asked, “You do not mean me, Master, do You?” Jesus replied, “You have said it.”

Wednesday, 13 April 2022 : Wednesday of Holy Week (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 68 : 8-10, 21-22, 31 and 33-34

Since I am held in contempt for Your sake, and shame has covered My face. I have become a stranger to My kindred, an alien to My mother’s sons. Zeal for Your house consumes Me as fire and those who insult You insult Me as well.

I looked for sympathy and there was none, for comforters and there was no one. They gave me poison for food and vinegar to drink.

I will praise the Name of God in song; I will glorify Him with thanksgiving. Let the lowly witness this and be glad. You who seek God, may your hearts be revived. For the Lord hears the needy and does not despise those in captivity.

Wednesday, 13 April 2022 : Wednesday of Holy Week (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Isaiah 50 : 4-9a

The Lord YHVH has taught Me so I speak as His disciple and I know how to sustain the weary. Morning after morning He wakes Me up to hear, to listen like a disciple. The Lord YHVH has opened My ear. I have not rebelled, nor have I withdrawn.

I offered My back to those who strike Me, My cheeks to those who pulled My beard; neither did I shield My face from blows, spittle and disgrace. I have not despaired, for the Lord YHVH comes to My help. So, like a flint I set My face, knowing that I will not be disgraced.

He Who avenges Me is near. Who then will accuse Me? Let us confront each other. Who is now My accuser? Let him approach. If the Lord YHVH is my Help, who will condemn Me?

Tuesday, 12 April 2022 : Tuesday of Holy Week (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listened to the words of the Lord speaking to us regarding the works of the Lord in redeeming His beloved ones. All of us have been reminded of everything that the Lord had done for our sake, by the sending of His one and only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to this world to be our Lord and Saviour. Through Christ we have received the assurance of eternal life and true happiness, and as we draw ever closer to the pinnacle of the Holy Week at the Easter Triduum, we are all called to draw close to God and live our lives more worthily of Him from now on.

In our first reading today, from the book of the prophet Isaiah we heard of the words of the Lord speaking to His people, again on the prophecy of the Messiah or the Saviour from God that Isaiah was well-known for. The Lord reminded His people that He would come into their midst and provide for them all that they needed, and that He would gather them back once again into His embrace and presence, and they will never be separated from Him again, for through Christ, His Son, He has shown us the path to light and eternal life.

Isaiah spoke clearly about Christ and His coming into this world, and how He would gather all of God’s people back to Him, and what Isaiah also spoke of was how this same Saviour would have to suffer rejection, humiliation and persecution from those who refused to believe in Him and remained stubborn in their ways. The Lord would nonetheless labour and work hard to achieve all of that because He truly loved all of us without reservations. He wants us to be reunited to Him and not be lost forever to Him.

That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, He willingly accepted His Passion, knowing everything that would happen to Him. He knew that He had to endure the worst of sufferings, the worst of humiliations, having to endure harsh words and castigations, opposition and the worst of treatment, to be treated as less than a human being, and marked as a criminal for the crimes that He did not commit, and to be betrayed by one of His own closest disciples, Judas Iscariot the traitor.

In our Gospel passage today, that was what we heard, as we listened to how the Lord revealed what He would have to endure, and revealing the betrayal of Judas Iscariot, who at that time had already possessed the intention to betray the Lord and already had Satan inside him, tempting him and pushing him to betray his Lord and Master. Judas Iscariot gave in to his temptations and desires, and having selfishly pocketed the monies from his own group’s treasury which was under his charge, it would not probably be difficult for him to be tempted to betray the Lord for the sum of money provided by the chief priests and elders.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we enter deeper into the mysteries of the Holy Week, all of us should spend some time to reflect on our actions throughout life all these while. Have we been living our lives in opposition to God’s will and truth? Have we lived in opposition to God and His consistent patience in always reaching out to us? Have we been like prodigal children who have often refused to listen to our parents? God has always been kind to us and yet we have always spurned and rejected His generous offer of love.

Let us all spend the time this Holy Week to rediscover our love for God, and do our best to embrace His compassionate love and mercy. Let us no longer harden our hearts or allow the devil to mislead us down the path of rebellion and sin. Let us turn away from the wicked ways of this world and all that had kept us from fully embracing God and His love. This Holy Week we are again and again being reminded of everything that God had done for our sake, because He truly loved us so dearly, that He was willing to shoulder His Cross, to take upon Himself the burdens of our sins.

May all of us distance ourselves from the wickedness of our world and strive to be better and more faithful disciples and followers of God in all of our lives, in all of our actions. May we be good role models and inspirations for each other in how we conduct ourselves. Let our Holy Week observances and actions help us to deepen our relationship with God and follow Him from now on with ever greater zeal and dedication. Have a blessed and most enriching Holy Week, brothers and sisters in Christ! Amen.