Saturday, 30 April 2022 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of Pope St. Pius V, Pope (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 6 : 16-21

At that time, when evening came, the disciples went down to the shore. After a while they got into a boat to make for Capernaum on the other side of the sea, for it was now dark and Jesus had not yet come to them. But the sea was getting rough because a strong wind was blowing.

They had rowed about three or four miles, when they saw Jesus walking on the sea, and He was drawing near to the boat. They were frightened, but He said to them, “It is I! Do not be afraid!” They wanted to take Him into the boat, but immediately the boat was at the shore to which they were going.

Saturday, 30 April 2022 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of Pope St. Pius V, Pope (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 32 : 1-2, 4-5, 18-19

Rejoice in the Lord, you who are just, praise is fitting for the upright. Give thanks to Him on the harp and lyre, making melody and chanting praises.

For upright is the Lord’s word and worthy of trust is His work. The Lord loves justice and righteousness; the earth is full of His kindness.

But the Lord’s eyes are upon those who fear Him, upon those who trust in His loving-kindness to deliver them from death and preserve them from famine.

Saturday, 30 April 2022 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of Pope St. Pius V, Pope (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 6 : 1-7

In those days, as the number of disciples grew, the so-called Hellenists complained against the so-called Hebrews, because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution.

So the Twelve summoned the whole body of disciples together and said, “It is not right that we should neglect the word of God to serve at tables. So, friends, choose from among yourselves seven respected men full of Spirit and wisdom, that we may appoint them to this task. As for us, we shall give ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the Word.”

The whole community agreed and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and Holy Spirit : Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenus and Nicolaus of Antioch who was a proselyte. They presented these men to the Apostles who first prayed over them and then laid hands upon them.

The Word of God continued to spread, and the number of the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly and even many priests accepted the faith.

Friday, 29 April 2022 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Lord through the Scriptures, we are all presented with the calling for us all as Christians in proclaiming the Risen Lord as the Saviour of the whole world, He Who has given His own life for our sake, in breaking His own Precious Body and shedding His own Precious Blood for our sake. Our Lord and Saviour has extended His love and compassion in coming down into our midst, to gather us all and to provide for us the path towards salvation and eternal life. He, the Bread of Life and the Lamb of God, is the sure and only path towards eternal life.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard the account from the Gospel of St. John on the Lord Jesus Who miraculously fed the great multitude of five thousand men and many more women and children with just five loaves of bread and two fishes. The Lord showed pity and love for all the people who were gathered there for days, following Him and listening to His teachings, and had become hungry because there was no place nearby for them to buy any food. But the Lord told His disciples for the need of the people, and with just five loaves of bread and two fishes which He blessed and prayed over, He multiplied them all miraculously and fed everyone with enough food and even with plenty of spare.

As the Lord fed the people with all the food, some among them wanted to make Him as their King, and would have had their way if the Lord did not quietly slip away amidst all the multitudes of people and everything that happened. But through that feeding of the people, the Lord reminded all of us that He came into this world to nourish us, and to restore us to new life, not just physically, but also spiritually as well, wholesomely transforming us from those who hunger for the truth and justice, for the light and hope in our life, to those who have been strengthened and empowered by the light and hope of Christ.

This is why, as compared to the false idols and all other distractions in life, there is nothing comparable to the Lord in fulfilling our needs and in revealing to us our true path in life. And as the Scriptures pointed out to us, that unless we anchor ourselves in the Lord’s truth and grace, in His light and hope, then we will likely end up falling into the wrong path, falling into the path of sin and evil, and from which we may find it difficult or even impossible to get out from. And that is why the Lord constantly reminds us that in Him and through Him alone there is hope and sure path out of the darkness and the despair surrounding us, and if we put our trust in Him, we shall surely not be disappointed.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Acts of the Apostles of the time when the disciples of the Lord were arrested and brought before the Sanhedrin or the Jewish High Council, with many of its members wanting to persecute and oppress the followers of Jesus, banning His teachings and truths. The Lord has always been seen as a great rival and threat by many among the members of the Sanhedrin back then, and many of them refused to believe in Him despite all the miraculous deeds that the Lord had done before all of them and before the people. They hardened their hearts and minds against Him.

However, as we heard in that same reading, a wise member of the High Council named Gamaliel spoke to the whole Sanhedrin regarding leaving everything to God and His providence, giving the evidence based on the past several false prophets and Messiahs who had claimed to be the Messiah and yet, failed in their efforts and attempts, as they proved to be no more than just mere men who were misguided, selfish and even wicked, in their desire for worldly power and glory, and their works and followers quickly dissipated and disappeared after their failure. Hence, Gamaliel stated that if the Lord Jesus was truly genuine and His works true, and His truth and teachings authentic, then the Sanhedrin would soon find themselves going against God Himself.

With this, the Sanhedrin as represented by Gamaliel himself acknowledged that the truth came from God alone, and indeed, as history had proven that until this very day, this very moment now we are breathing and living in, the Church is still very much alive and vibrant, and even flourished beyond what the Apostles might have been able to imagine, and therefore, is the proof that our Christian faith, the Church and the truth, and everything that the Lord had done, is the truth and the one and only truth of God. And it is this faith that each and every one of us ought to hold very closely onto, as we live our lives in this world today.

We must also remember that we are given the task and mission to spread the truth of God, His Good News and the words of His love and salvation to all the peoples, and we should do our best in life, and become great inspiration for many others to follow, that our way of life may inspire them to come to believe in God as well. Today we can find inspiration from one of our holy predecessors, namely that of St. Catherine of Siena, the well-known saint and patron of Italy and one of the Church’s great Doctors of the Church. St. Catherine of Siena was truly a dedicated servant of God, whose commitment to God and her holiness in life should be source of inspiration for each one of us as Christians in how we should lead our own lives with faith.

St. Catherine of Siena was a very devout woman who dedicated much of her life for the betterment of the Church and Christian communities of her time. She spent a lot of time and effort in restoring purity and holiness, sanctity to the Church, its various organisations and the religious orders and groups, especially against the creeping corruptions caused by the influences of worldly temptations and vices which caused scandal and disturbances within the Church and the various Christian communities. She was also credited with her effort in helping to broker peace among the various conflicting parties and in the ending of the schisms within the Church. Her great dedication and piety inspired many to follow in her examples.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, inspired by the great examples set by St. Catherine of Siena and many other holy men and women of God, let us all dedicate ourselves anew to God, striving to do our best to glorify Him by our lives. Let us put our faith in Him and do whatever we can to serve the Lord ever more faithfully from now on. May all of us be faithful witnesses of Our Lord’s truth and Resurrection, and bear the Good News of His love, that more and more may come to entrust themselves to the Lord, the Bread of Life, our Hope and Saviour, through us. May God bless us all in our every good works and endeavours, now and always. Amen.