Wednesday, 18 May 2022 : 5th Week of Easter, Memorial of Pope St. John I, Pope and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

John 15 : 1-8

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “I am the True Vine and My Father is the Vinegrower. If any of My branches does not bear fruit, He breaks it off; and He prunes every branch that does bear fruit, that it may bear even more fruit.”

“You are already made clean by the word I have spoken to you. Live in Me as I live in you. The branch cannot bear fruit by itself, but has to remain part of the vine; so neither can you, if you do not remain in Me. I am the Vine and you are the branches. As long as you remain in Me and I in you, you bear much fruit; but apart from Me you can do nothing.”

“Whoever does not remain in Me is thrown away, as they do with branches, and they wither. Then they are gathered and thrown into the fire and burnt. If you remain in Me and My words in you, you may ask whatever you want, and it will be given to you. My Father is glorified when you bear much fruit : it is then that you become My disciples.”

Wednesday, 18 May 2022 : 5th Week of Easter, Memorial of Pope St. John I, Pope and Martyr (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

Psalm 121 : 1-2, 3-4a, 4b-5

I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” And now we have set foot within your gates, o Jerusalem!

Jerusalem, just like a city, where everything falls into place! There the tribes go up.

The tribes of the Lord, the assembly of Israel, to give thanks to the Lord’s Name. There stand the courts of justice, the offices of the house of David.

Wednesday, 18 May 2022 : 5th Week of Easter, Memorial of Pope St. John I, Pope and Martyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

Acts 15 : 1-6

Some persons who had come from Judea to Antioch were teaching the brothers in this way, “Unless you are circumcised according to the law of Moses, you cannot be saved.”

Because of this there was trouble, and Paul and Barnabas had fierce arguments with them. For Paul told the people to remain as they were when they became believers. Finally those who had come from Jerusalem suggested that Paul and Barnabas and some others go up to Jerusalem to discuss the matter with the Apostles and elders.

They were sent on their way by the Church. As they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria they reported how the non-Jews had turned to God, and there was great joy among all the brothers and sisters. On their arrival in Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the Church, the Apostles and the elders, to whom they told all that God had done through them.

Some believers, however, who belonged to the party of the Pharisees, stood up and said that non-Jewish men must be circumcised and instructed to keep the law of Moses. So the Apostles and elders met together to consider the matter.

Tuesday, 17 May 2022 : 5th 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 Scriptures, we are called to remain faithful to God and to uphold His peace in our hearts and minds at all times. We are also called to trust in the Lord and not be disheartened by the challenges and trials that we may have to encounter in our path of faith. We have to remain true and firm in our commitment to serve the Lord in each and every actions we do, in all of our dealings and interactions, and be the good role models and inspirations through whom many others may come to believe in God as well.

In our first reading today, we heard of the account from the Acts of the Apostles in which the works of the Apostles especially that of St. Paul and St. Barnabas were highlighted. They had been rejected from Lystra due to the machinations of the Lord’s opponents, and had almost even died because of the persecution afflicted on them. But that did not dampen the spirits of the Apostles. On the contrary, that encouraged them to be even more committed and fervent in carrying out their mission and in preaching the truth of the Gospels and in revealing the love of God. They would not be deterred by the opposition or hardships that they faced.

They continued to travel from town to town throughout Asia Minor and beyond, proclaiming the Christian faith and truth courageously, not afraid of the trials and hardships they faced. St. Paul, St. Barnabas, and the many other Apostles whose various actions and works were too many and varied to be listed and detailed in the Acts of the Apostles, continued to glorify God by their dedication and faith. They inspired many of the faithful to do the same, raising up many missionaries and faithful disciples who have spent a lot of time and effort to do the will of God and bring the teachings and way of Christ to more and more people all around the world.

They all had strong faith and trust in God, believing that God is truly always with them, guiding them and being with them, even through their toughest and hardest moments. They helped and supported each other, and the courage showed by those same Apostles and disciples of the Lord inspired many among the faithful not to give up on their faith in God. They would not allow the temptations and pressures of the world, their community and others to make them abandon the Lord and their faith in Him. Many of them were indeed conflicted and troubled by their experiences, but most remained truly faithful to God, to the very end.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard of the Lord Jesus speaking to His disciples at the Last Supper, speaking to them to reassure them and to ask them to remain faithful to the path He has shown them despite the trials and challenges that they might have to endure, and despite what He Himself would have to suffer and go through, for the salvation of the whole world. The Lord reminded His disciples that He would always be with them, and His peace would always be with them if they trust in Him, and not to give in to their worries and fears. He would guide them and strengthen them, through the challenging days of their future.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, it was that reassurance and the providence that the Lord has constantly given His people that made them to be firm in their faith. They themselves had seen and witnessed how the Lord triumphed over death itself, and rose gloriously from the dead, and all the other wonders and miracles which He had performed before them, which made them to believe in Him and His truth. They passed on this faith through the Church, all that they had seen and witnessed, to all of us, with all of their inspiring life stories and examples, which should be inspiring for us as well, and should empower us to follow the Lord more wholeheartedly as well.

All of us are reminded that we are all called to walk in the same path that the Apostles themselves had walked in, and we are expected to follow their examples, in showing the world what the truth about the Lord, our Christian faith and beliefs are all about. If we do not truly believe in all of these ourselves, then how can we believe in the Lord or make others to believe in Him through us? We have to believe in God and live our lives with faith as well, as is expected to us as Christians. We cannot and should not be idle in living our lives because as Christians, we are called to evangelise and to lead by example.

Now, are we willing and able to commit ourselves, our time and effort to be good role models just like how the Apostles, the saints and martyrs are our good examples and role models? Let us all pass on our faith and transmit this burning flame of love we have for God to others, so that many more may come to be saved through us, and come ever closer to God and His grace. May the Lord be glorified through us and our actions, and may He be with us always and guide us in our lives, from now and henceforth, leading ever more souls to Himself. Amen.