Thursday, 21 April 2022 : Thursday within Easter Octave (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 24 : 35-48

Then the two disciples told what had happened on the road to Emmaus, and how Jesus had made Himself known, when He broke bread with them. While they were still talking about this, Jesus Himself stood in their midst. (He said to them, “Peace to you.”)

In their panic and fright they thought they were seeing a ghost, but He said to them, “Why are you upset, and how does such an idea cross your minds? Look at My hands and feet, and see that it is I Myself! Touch Me, and see for yourselves, for a ghost has no flesh and bones as I have!” (As He said this, He showed His hands and feet.)

In their joy they did not dare believe, and were still astonished; so He said to them, “Have you anything to eat?” And they gave Him a piece of broiled fish. He took it, and ate it before them. Then Jesus said to them, “Remember the words I spoke to you when I was still with you : Everything written about Me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.

And He said, “So it was written : the Messiah had to suffer, and on the third day rise from the dead. Then repentance and forgiveness in His Name would be proclaimed to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things.”

Thursday, 21 April 2022 : Thursday within Easter Octave (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 8 : 2a and 5, 6-7, 8-9

O Lord, our Lord, how great is Your Name throughout the earth! What is man that You be mindful of him, the Son of Man, that You should care for Him?

Yet You made Him a little lower than the Angels; You crowned Him with glory and honour and gave Him the works of Your hands; You have put all things under His feet.

Sheep and oxen without number and even the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, the fish of the sea, and all that swim the paths of the ocean.

Thursday, 21 April 2022 : Thursday within Easter Octave (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 3 : 11-26

While the once crippled man clung to Peter and John, all the people, struck with astonishment, came running to them in Solomon’s Porch, as it was called. When Peter saw the people, he said to them, “Fellow Israelites, why are you amazed at this? Why do you stare at us as if it was by some power or holiness of our own that we made this man walk?”

“The God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob, the God of our ancestors has glorified His servant Jesus Whom you handed over to death and denied before Pilate, when even Pilate had decided to release Him. You rejected the Holy and Just One, and you insisted that a murderer be released to you. You killed the Master of life, but God raised Him from the dead and we are witnesses to this.”

“It is His Name and faith in His Name, that has healed this man whom you see and recognise. The faith that comes through Jesus has given him wholeness in the presence of all of you. Yet I know that you acted out of ignorance, as did your leaders. God has fulfilled in this way what He had foretold through all the prophets, that His Messiah would suffer.”

“Repent, then, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out and the time of refreshment may come by the mercy of God, when He sends the Messiah appointed for you, Jesus. For He must remain in heaven until the time of the universal restoration which God spoke of long ago through His holy prophets.”

“Moses foretold this when he said : The Lord God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among your own people; you shall listen to Him in all that He says to you. Whoever does not listen to that Prophet is to be cut off from among his people.”

“In fact, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel onward, have announced the events of these days. You are the children of the prophets and heirs of the covenant that God gave to your ancestors when He said to Abraham : All the families of the earth will be blessed through your descendant. It is to you first that God sends His Servant; He raised Him to life to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.”

Wednesday, 20 April 2022 : Wednesday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scripture, we are all reminded of the grace that God has given us through the suffering, death and resurrection of His only Son, Jesus Christ, Whom He had sent into this world to be our Lord and Saviour. Through Christ, all of us have received a new hope and seen the Light of God’s salvation, revealing fully the great and enduring love which God has for each and every one of us, each one without exception. We are all reminded that through His suffering, death and resurrection, Christ has gathered and called us all, the lost sheep of His flock, to find our way towards Him and the eternal life that He has promised and purchased by His death, for all the faithful ones.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Acts of the Apostles the account of the healing of the beggar who sat by the Beautiful Gate of the Temple of Jerusalem, by St. Peter and St. John who happened to be passing by. The beggar was healed by the Apostles who healed him in the Name of the Lord, and the crippled beggar was made whole again. That miraculous healing made not only the beggar to rejoice, leaping with joy, but also everyone else who have witnessed the miraculous healing, as everyone knew how long that man had been sitting and was crippled since birth, and God had made him whole and fine again.

Then in our Gospel passage today, we heard of the two disciples of the Lord who were on their way to the village of Emmaus from Jerusalem. This happened just right after the Lord had died on the Cross and risen from the dead. This likely happened on the later time of the Sunday of the Resurrection, in the late afternoon and early evening. They had been debating and discussing among themselves about what they had heard and experienced, most perplexing of which was the words spreading amongst the disciples that the Lord Jesus had risen from the dead and had appeared to some among them.

Those disciples apparently did not yet believe in this truth, and they were still doubtful and shaken in their faith, as they thought that the Lord would have led them all in a great revolution against the Romans and the other oppressors of the people and reestablished the kingdom of Israel. But the Lord instead died and went through the worst of humiliations in His sufferings and then crucifixion and death. They could not reconcile their expectations of what their Messiah or Saviour would do with the reality of what the Lord Jesus had done, in suffering the worst of humiliation and dying for the sake of all the people of God. And that was why, they could not recognise God at first, and failed to realise that He had been with them all along, journeying with them to Emmaus.

The Lord journeyed with the two disciples, speaking to them and encouraging them, explaining the words of the Scriptures to them, revealing why the Messiah had to suffer to fulfil what had been prophesied and spoken about Him. The Lord encouraged and strengthened them, giving them the power and the courage once again, and then, He revealed Himself before them, as He broke the bread with them. Those same two disciples had been journeying quite a distance from Jerusalem by the time that happened, but that did not stop them from rushing back to Jerusalem that very instant to proclaim the Risen Lord to the other disciples. Such was indeed the power of God’s strength and courage.

Those two disciples had been healed from their spiritual hurt and lack of faith, just as how the crippled beggar had been healed from his disability by the Apostles. Through what we had heard in those two examples, we can clearly see how God restored us all into a graceful condition, lifting us up from the depth of our misery, despair and the darkness surrounding us. He would not allow us to perish in the darkness by ourselves, and called us, rescuing us back into the light of His truth and love. Through Him, God has touched each and every one of us, releasing us from our attachments to sin, the disease that corrupts every single one of us, crippling us and making us to fall into this terrible state of existence, from which God alone can rescue us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we recall the love that God has shown us, in His great love, mercy and compassion, we are all reminded of the wonderful grace we have received through His Son, Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, from Whom we have received the assurance for eternal life, the light of His truth and love, the healing for all of our mistakes, faults, shortcomings and all of our imperfections that had kept us in the darkness all these while. Through Christ, we have been made whole once again, and rightfully therefore, we ought to follow Him and commit ourselves anew to the path that He has shown us. We have to be His dedicated and faithful, courageous witnesses in our respective communities and among all those whom we have encountered in life.

Let us all therefore renew our commitment to the Lord, brothers and sisters in Christ, renewing the commitment to love Him and to serve Him wholeheartedly much as how the Apostles and the innumerable saints and martyrs had done in the past. As we are the modern day successors of these wonderful holy men and women, and we have been entrusted with the great works of the Lord in His Church, we cannot stand idle anymore or ignore our obligations as Christians in proclaiming the Good News, the truth and the salvation of God. We have to make good use of the opportunities provided to us and dedicate ourselves in each and every moments of our lives, to glorify the Lord by our lives and to be great inspiration to one another in faith.

May the Lord be with us all, and may our Risen Lord continue to strengthen us and give us the courage and the power to be great missionaries of His love and truth in our present day world. May we help one another to be closer to God, and bring many others to the healing and happiness that can be found in God alone, our Hope and our Light, our Saviour and our God. Amen.