Thursday, 28 April 2022 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Peter Chanel, Priest and Martyr, and St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

John 3 : 31-36

At that time, John the Baptist said, “He Who comes from above is above all; he who comes from the earth belongs to the earth, and his words belong to the earth. He Who comes from heaven speaks of the things He has seen and heard; He bears witness to these things, but no one accepts His testimony. Whoever does receive His testimony acknowledges the truthfulness of God.”

“The One sent by God speaks God’s words, and gives the Spirit unstintingly. The Father loves the Son and has entrusted everything into His hands. Whoever believes in the Son lives with eternal life; but he who will not believe in the Son will never know life, and always faces the justice of God.”

Thursday, 28 April 2022 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Peter Chanel, Priest and Martyr, and St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, Priest (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

Psalm 33 : 2 and 9, 17-18, 19-20

I will bless the Lord all my days; His praise will be ever on my lips. Oh, see and taste the goodness of the Lord! Blessed is the one who finds shelter in Him!

But His face is set against the wicked to destroy their memory from the earth. The Lord hears the cry of the righteous and rescues them from all their troubles.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves the distraught. Many are the troubles of the just, but the Lord delivers them from all.

Thursday, 28 April 2022 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Peter Chanel, Priest and Martyr, and St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

Acts 5 : 27-33

So the High Priest and his supporters brought the Apostles in and made them stand before the Council and the High Priest questioned them, “We gave you strict orders not to preach such a Saviour; but you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you intend charging us with the killing of this Man.”

To this Peter and the Apostles replied, “Better for us to obey God rather than any human authority! The God of our ancestors raised Jesus Whom you killed by hanging Him on a wooden post. God set Him at His right hand as Leader and Saviour, to grant repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. We are witnesses to all these things, as well as the Holy Spirit Whom God has given to those who obey Him.

When the Council heard this, they became very angry and wanted to kill them.

Wednesday, 27 April 2022 : 2nd Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we continue to progress through the season of Easter, we are constantly reminded again of the Risen Lord, Whose coming into this world has revealed God’s most amazing love for us, and Whose death and resurrection had broken the chains of sin and death that had once enslaved and held us. And in being the followers of the Lord, as Christians, we are likely going to face challenges, trials and oppressions for our faith in Him. As Christians we may have to endure the same sufferings that the disciples and Apostles had suffered for their faith in God.

In our first reading, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, we heard of how the Sanhedrin or the Jewish High Council were angered by the actions of the Apostles, and the many other disciples of the Lord who had continued to carry on His works, proclaimed His truth and love among the people, many of whom were convinced and witnessed the miracles they had performed. The Sanhedrin were fearful of the Apostles and the Lord’s continuing influence, that despite their successful efforts in condemning the Lord Jesus to death by the Romans on the Cross, instead that had invigorated the Lord’s followers all the more.

Hence, we heard how the Sanhedrin attempted to crush the early Church as much as possible by arresting the Apostles and the other disciples. However, the Lord was with His servants and His beloved ones, and He protected them, sending them His Angels to rescue them from their prison, breaking free their chains. And the Lord told His disciples to continue their work, to proclaim His truth and love among the people of God, and not fearing the attempts of those who tried to dissuade or force them to abandon their missions and works. Hence, those same disciples of the Lord continued to preach the Good News of God’s salvation fearlessly, and saved numerous more people.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard of the words of the Lord Jesus that He spoke to Nicodemus, a Pharisee who was quite sympathetic to Him and His teachings. Nicodemus had come at night to ask the Lord and to discuss matters with Him, and the Lord revealed to him many things about Himself, and most importantly, the truth that He is indeed the Son of God, and this same, only begotten Son of God has been sent to us, to be with us and to show us the amazing love of God. The Lord loved His people so much that He would be willing to endure the toughest challenges and trials for our sake, in order to call us back into the Light.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, Our Lord and Saviour had done all these because He does not want us to fall into eternal damnation and be lost from Him forever. And hence, He has given us the means to leave behind our past, sinful existence and enter into the new existence in His light and truth. Through Him and His teachings, He has called on all of us to return to the path of justice and righteousness, abandoning our rebellious and wicked attitudes, obeying once again the Law and the Commandments of God wholeheartedly as we should have done.

And He also pointed out that those who believe in Him shall walk in the path of the Light, doing what is right and just before God. He has presented to us the path of righteousness, the path of light that all of us the children of God should follow faithfully. If we call ourselves as Christians and consider ourselves as the followers of Christ, then naturally we should have followed Him and His path instead of following our own flawed path and ways. Unfortunately, more often than not, in reality, many of us Christians had not walked in the right path, and many of us do not act and do things according to what our faith dictates.

That is why many of us are still like hypocrites in our way of living our faith. Many of us are lukewarm and not serious at all in living our lives in accordance with God’s will. Too often we are more concerned with our own worldly pursuits and desires than listening to God and His words of truth. In the way we live our lives, many of us even bring scandal to our faith, making people to find it difficult to believe in God because it is we Christians who in fact live our lives in ways worse than what other, non-Christians are doing. Then, how can we be inspiration for them to follow? How can we evangelise to them if we ourselves have not sorted out our own actions and way of life?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us are being reminded again today to put our faith in the Risen Lord and to follow Him wholeheartedly. We should no longer allow worldly desires, temptations, or any fears and doubts to prevent us from doing what has been expected of us as Christians. Let us all henceforth commit ourselves anew to the Lord, and strive to do our best in our respective way of life so that we may be good examples and inspiration for many others that they too may come to believe in God through us, just as how the Apostles and the countless saints and martyrs had inspired us.

May God be with us always and may He continue to guide us through life, bless our actions and our dealings, all of our good efforts and works. May He empower and strengthen us to do His will faithfully, at all times and in every place we are at. May our Risen Lord be ever glorified through us. Amen.

Wednesday, 27 April 2022 : 2nd Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 3 : 16-21

At that time, Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Yes, God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him may not be lost, but may have eternal life. God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world; instead, through Him the world is to be saved.”

“Whoever believes in Him will not be condemned. He who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the Name of the only Son of God. This is how the Judgment is made : Light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”

“For whoever does wrong hates the light, and does not come to the light, for fear that his deeds will be seen as evil. But whoever lives according to the truth comes into the light, so that it can be clearly seen that his works have been done in God.”

Wednesday, 27 April 2022 : 2nd Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 33 : 2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

I will bless the Lord all my days; His praise will be ever on my lips. My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the lowly hear and rejoice.

Oh, let us magnify the Lord, together let us glorify His Name! I sought the Lord, and He answered me; from all my fears He delivered me.

They who look to Him are radiant with joy, their faces never clouded with shame. When the poor cry out, the Lord hears and saves them from distress.

The Lord’s Angel encamps and patrols to keep safe those who fear Him. Oh, see and taste the goodness of the Lord! Blessed is the one who finds shelter in Him!

Wednesday, 27 April 2022 : 2nd Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 5 : 17-26

The High Priest and all his supporters, that is the party of the Sadducees, became very jealous of the Apostles; so they arrested them and had them thrown into the public jail. But an Angel of the Lord opened the door of the prison during the night, brought them out, and said to them, “Go and stand in the Temple court and tell the people the whole of this living message.” Accordingly they entered the Temple at dawn and resumed their teaching.

When the High Priest and his supporters arrived, they called together the Sanhedrin, that is the full Council of the elders of Israel. They sent word to the jail to have the prisoners brought in. But when the Temple guards arrived at the jail, they did not find them inside, so they returned with the news, “We found the prison securely locked and the prison guards at their post outside the gate, but when we opened the gate, we found no one inside.”

Upon hearing these words, the captain of the Temple guard and the high priests were baffled, wondering where all of this would end. Just then someone arrived with the report, “Look, those men whom you put in prison are standing in the Temple, teaching the people.” Then the captain went off with the guards and brought them back, but without any show of force, for fear of being stoned by the people.

Tuesday, 26 April 2022 : 2nd Week of Easter (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 to live worthily as Christians, as God’s beloved and chosen people, to be worthy of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. For Christ has come into our midst in order to redeem each and every one of us, and He has called and gathered us all, the lost sheep of the Lord, to His side, bringing us all from the many corners of this world to come to the presence of Our Lord, to enter into His love and compassionate mercy. We are all God’s people, His beloved children, whom He truly loved dearly from the very beginning.

In our first reading today, we heard the account from the Acts of the Apostles in which the lives of the early Christians were presented to us. We heard how the Apostles helped to establish the wonderful community of early Christian believers, proclaiming the truth of the Lord and His Resurrection, and revealing the love of Our Lord and Saviour by their own exemplary actions, filled with love and devotion to both the Lord and those whom they had been entrusted with as shepherds and guides. They proclaimed the Lord’s love and truth through their loving works among the people of God, their righteousness and love for one another.

They have lived a new life and existence, reborn in God and having received the Holy Spirit, strengthened and encouraged to live most worthily of God. Essentially, that was what we heard in our Gospel passage today as well. In that passage we heard the Lord Jesus speaking to Nicodemus, one of the members of the Pharisees and the Sanhedrin who was sympathetic to Him and His teachings. The Lord revealed to Nicodemus what He would do for the sake of His beloved people and told him what they all must do in order to follow Him and receive the fullness of His grace and blessings.

He mentioned how He would be raised into glory, raised between the heaven and the earth, an allusion and revelation of what He would soon suffer through the Passion on the Cross. He would be lifted up for all to see, so that all who see Him, witness Him and believe in Him will not perish but have eternal life, just as how the Israelites who were bitten by the fiery serpents at the time of their rebellion during the Exodus, were spared and saved from death by the bronze serpent that God had instructed Moses to make. The Lord would be raised on His Cross to be the hope and light for all of the nations, that through Him many people would be saved.

By His suffering and death, Our Lord has gathered us all and shared with us this death, the death to our past life filled with darkness and sin. We have been brought through the destruction of our wicked and unworthy previous way of life, our selfishness and lack of faith. And by His Resurrection, He shared with us and showed us that there is Light beyond darkness, Hope beyond despair, and salvation beyond death. He showed all of us that sin and death do not have the power or any say any more over us, and as long as we put our trust in Him, and follow Him wholeheartedly, we shall truly be free.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are all reminded to embrace fully this love that God had for us. God has loved us so much that He has given us His only beloved Son, to be with us and to bring us back to Him. He has gathered us all together, calling us tor return to Him and to be reunited and reconciled with Him. Even though we have disobeyed Him, ignored Him, rejected Him and did all sorts of things that truly must have hurt Him, yet, the Lord was still always full of patience and He reached out to us nonetheless.

Let us all be ashamed at our past sinfulness, all the rebellious attitudes we have displayed against the Lord’s persistent love and kindness. God has ever been so kind and patient towards us, and He has done everything in order to help us to return to Him, and to find our way back towards Him. He has shown us His most wonderful mercy, and we ought to be thankful and be very grateful at all these wonderful things we have received from His hands. This is why we are being reminded today to turn towards the Lord with renewed faith and contrite hearts, full of regrets at our sins and wickedness, and with the desire to love Him ever more from now on.

May all of us draw ever closer to God, and may each and every one of us walk ever more faithfully in His path, and may He empower and encourage each one of us that we may always persevere ever with greater commitment to be true to our faith in Him. May God bless each and every one of us and may He strengthen us all in our every day living, in living our lives with faith from now on, that we may inspire many others to follow the Lord and to be reconciled with God, like the way we do. Amen.