Wednesday, 3 May 2023 : Feast of St. Philip and St. James, Apostles (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

John 14 : 6-14

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. If you know Me, you will know the Father also; indeed you know Him, and you have seen Him.”

Philip asked Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and that is enough.” Jesus said to him, “What! I have been with you so long and you still do not know Me, Philip? Whoever sees Me sees the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me?”

“All that I say to you, I do not say of Myself. The Father Who dwells in Me is doing His own work. Believe Me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; at least believe it on the evidence of these works that I do. Truly, I say to you, the one who believes in Me will do the same works that I do; and he will even do greater than these, for I am going to the Father.”

“Everything you ask in My Name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. Indeed, anything you ask, calling upon My Name, I will do.”

Wednesday, 3 May 2023 : Feast of St. Philip and St. James, Apostles (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 18 : 2-3, 4-5

The heavens declare the glory of God; the firmament proclaims the work of His hands. Day talks it over with day; night hands on the knowledge to night.

No speech, no words, no voice is heard – but the call goes on throughout the universe, the message is felt to the ends of the earth.

Wednesday, 3 May 2023 : Feast of St. Philip and St. James, Apostles (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

1 Corinthians 15 : 1-8

Let me remind you, brothers and sisters, of the Good News that I preached to you and which you received and on which you stand firm. By that Gospel you are saved, provided that you hold to it as I preached it. Otherwise, you will have believed in vain.

In the first place, I have passed on to you what I myself received that Christ died for our sins, as Scripture says; that He was buried; that He was raised on the third day, according to the Scriptures; that He appeared to Cephas and then to the Twelve. Afterwards He appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters together; most of them are still alive, although some have already gone to rest.

Then He appeared to James and after that to all the Apostles. And last of all, He appeared to the most despicable of them, this is to me.

Tuesday, 2 May 2023 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Athanasius, Bishop 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 Scriptures, all of us are reminded of the call and responsibilities that each and every one of us have as Christians in proclaiming the truth of God to more and more people around us, to all those who have not yet heard of Him and those who have yet to know Him. All of us are called to be the bearers of God’s truth and love to the world, through our every words, actions and deeds. All of us ought to proclaim our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, the Risen Lord, and everything that He had done for us, in bringing us all out of the darkness and into the light, in saving us all from the threat of eternal damnation and death by freeing us from our sins. As Christians, each and every one of us are called and reminded to be good and faithful missionaries through our lives and our good examples.

In our first reading today, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, we heard of the continuing growth of the early Church, as there were more and more people who came to believe in the Lord and became believers, were baptised and welcomed into the community of the Christian faithful. It was told how the Apostles sent St. Barnabas to Antioch upon hearing of the vibrant and rapid growth of Christians in those regions, and despite the many challenges, trials, persecutions and hardships that they faced, it was said that the Lord was with His disciples and faithful ones, as He guided and strengthened them, protected and provided them throughout their journey of faith and life. The Apostles through St. Barnabas ministered to the Christian faithful, spreading the Good News of God and proclaiming His truth, calling on many to turn towards the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour.

The Lord has shown us all His faithfulness and love through this, and through many more examples, as He was with them all through even the most difficult and challenging moments, as a Good Shepherd guiding His beloved sheep in His flock, as we heard in our Gospel passage today. He cared for them, for their needs and provided for them, guarded and protected them, and gave them the love and attention, leading them from the darkness of this world into the true Light of His glory and truth. All of us are reminded that Christ is truly our Good Shepherd, the most loving Lord and God Who has showered and shown us His most generous love and attention, Who knows each and every one of us very well, and Who wants all of us to follow Him and become members of His flock, as Christians, those whom the people of Antioch called as such because of their belief in the Risen Christ.

Now, all of us are reminded today if we have lived our lives as the Lord has taught us to do, and whether we have committed our time and effort to glorify Him by our lives. As Christians, we are all those who have committed ourselves to the Risen Lord, Whom we have taken as our Lord, Master and Saviour. However, if we spend some time to look deep into ourselves and our way of life, very soon we may realise that it was often that we did not act in the way that the Lord has called and expected us to do, and on the contrary, we often acted in ways that were contrary to His teachings and truth. Many of us failed to embrace His path wholeheartedly and not only that, but often through our wayward actions and way of life, we turned people away from the Lord and His Church, because our actions, words and deeds, our way of life were abhorrent and against what our faith truly is.

That is why today all of us are reminded that as Christians all of us must first of all do what the Lord has commanded and taught us to do, to be devoted and committed to Him in all things. Each and every one of us have been given the gifts, grace and blessings, the opportunities and the abilities to carry out our respective parts in doing the work of God, to be faithful and committed in our lives as Christians. All of us should do our best and strive to be good role models, inspirations and examples to one another in our faith and way of life. For we have to realise that it is by our works and deeds, by our words and interactions with others that we may let the world know of the truth and the identity of Our Lord and Saviour, the One Whom we ought to be proclaiming about. But too often we allowed ourselves to be tempted by various temptations, and chose to walk the path of wickedness and evil instead.

Today, let us all be inspired by the great examples shown by the great servant of God, St. Athanasius, a renowned and most faithful disciple of the Lord, a most courageous and fearless defender of the faith, whose feast day we are celebrating on this very day. St. Athanasius was also known as St. Athanasius the Great or St. Athanasius of Alexandria, and was the Bishop of Alexandria, also known as the Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria, as one of the most prominent leaders of the Church during his time. He led the Church of Alexandria and was involved greatly throughout Christendom for a long period of forty-five years, which was intermittent due to the challenges and trials that he had to face during his ministry, which saw him being exiled and punished several times by those who opposed and oppressed him.

St. Athanasius lived and ministered to the faithful during a time of great change to the Church, as it was the years and decades following after the end of the long state persecution of Christianity by the Romans, with the Edict of Milan by the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, ever sympathetic to the Christian cause. However, this joy at the end of the persecution of the Church and Christians was then overshadow by the intensifying divisions within the Church due to various heresies, and most importantly then, was the rapidly rising heretical teachings of the arch-heretic Arius, a very popular preacher that claimed and taught that Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Messiah, was not equal to God the Father, but rather subservient to Him and existed after the Father, not Co-Eternal and not Co-Equal, neither Consubstantial with Him.

This heretical teachings gained wide support throughout Christendom and gained the support and belief of even many among the Church leaders and bishops, especially throughout the Eastern part of the Roman Empire, including Alexandria where St. Athanasius himself was Bishop at, with Arius himself hailing from the same region as well. St. Athanasius was very passionate and courageous, hardworking and zealous in his many efforts against the Arian heresy, resisting those who sought to subvert and divide the Church for their own selfish ambitions and desires. St. Athanasius did not give up even when many of the upper echelon of the Roman society and government were swayed by the Arians and some of them even becoming ardent supporters of the Arians and their false faith.

St. Athanasius faced a lot of struggles and hardships, having to endure persecution and even exile from his See of Alexandria, by the order and working of those who were favourable and supporters of the Arians. But he continued to faithfully carry out his works, writing extensively on the matters of the faith, supporting and strengthening all the others who also struggled with the various persecutions, hardships, divisions, heretical teachings and other challenges that they had to face throughout their lives and ministry. Despite the repeated challenges, exiles, hardships and all the other things that he had to endure, St. Athanasius continued to remain faithful to the calling and mission he had as the shepherd of the Lord’s flock, to the very end, and his courage and faithfulness, his persistence and perseverance in carrying out his works and mission should inspire us all as Christians to do the same as well.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all be inspired by the good examples of St. Athanasius, holy servant of God, our role model and most courageous defender of the Christian faith. Let us all be good role models and inspirations to one another as well, through our every words, actions and deeds, so that we may inspire more and more people to be ever more committed to the Lord and to follow Him. That is our calling and that is what we should be doing in our daily lives as those who truly believe in the Lord. May the Lord, our Saviour and Good Shepherd, be our guide and help and may He empower us all to be like His servants, like St. Athanasius and others in their faith and commitment. May God bless our every good works and efforts, for the greater glory of His Name. Amen.

Tuesday, 2 May 2023 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 10 : 22-30

At that time, the time came for the Feast of the Dedication. It was winter, and Jesus walked back and forth in the portico of Solomon. The Jews then gathered around Him and said to Him, “How long will You keep us in doubt? If You are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

Jesus answered, “I have already told you, but you do not believe. The works I do in My Father’s Name proclaim Who I am, but you do not believe because, as I said, you are not My sheep. My sheep hear My voice and I know them; they follow Me and I give them eternal life.”

“They shall never perish, and no one will ever steal them from Me. What the Father has given Me is above everything else, and no one can snatch it from out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are One.”

Tuesday, 2 May 2023 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 86 : 1-3, 4-5, 6-7

He Himself has built it in His holy mountain; the Lord prefers the gates of Zion to all of Jacob’s towns. Great things have been foretold of you, o city of God.

Between friends we speak of Egypt and Babylon; and also Philistia, Tyre, Ethiopia : “Here so-and-so was born.” But of Zion it shall be said, “More and more are being born in her.” For the Most High Himself has founded her.

And the Lord notes in the people’s register : “All these were also born in Zion.” And all will dance and sing joyfully for You.

Tuesday, 2 May 2023 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 11 : 19-26

Those who had been scattered because of the persecution over Stephen travelled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, telling the message, but only to the Jews. But there were some natives of Cyprus and Cyrene among them who, on coming into Antioch, spoke also to the Greeks, giving them the Good News of the Lord Jesus. The hand of the Lord was with them so that a great number believed and turned to the Lord.

News of this reached the ears of the Church in Jerusalem, so they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw the manifest signs of God’s favour, he rejoiced and urged them all to remain firmly faithful to the Lord; for he himself was a good man filled with Holy Spirit and faith. Thus large crowds came to know the Lord.

Then Barnabas went off to Tarsus to look for Saul and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they had meetings with the Church and instructed many people. It was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians.

Monday, 1 May 2023 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today the Church celebrates the occasion of the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, the Patron saint of all workers and all those who labour in this world, in conjunction with the secular celebration of the Labour Day or May Day. This Feast was instituted by the great Pope Pius XII in the year of 1955, during the time when the threat of Communism was rising everywhere in the world, with many Christians and people all around the world oppressed by Communist regimes and governments, and others yet having dangerous Communist movements and uprisings that were aiming to destroy the Christian faith, the Church and the belief in God. The atheistic Communists thought that they could overcome God and His Church, but the Lord showed them through this Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, that their belief and understanding of labour was truly flawed and inadequate, and one that the world should be wary about.

As compared to the soulless, empty and futile celebration of human and worldly labour in the Labour and May Day commemorations, and the glorification of worldly achievements and desires, which is the way how the Communists and the secular world tend to celebrate this day, and for the former which focused a lot on the matter of class struggle between the workers against the so-called more privileged classes, the true commemoration of labour and work as we celebrate today is not by focusing on ourselves and on our worldly achievements. Instead, St. Joseph as the Patron of the whole Universal Church, the foster-father of Our Lord and Saviour, is also the role model and patron for all the workers of the world. In his virtues and inspirational way of life, serves as a good example and shining beacon to help and guide us down the right path in life.

St. Joseph in his dedication to the Lord, his righteousness and virtues, and in his simple but honest living as a humble and unassuming carpenter in his village of Nazareth, is the perfect role model for all of us as Christians in our work life and ethics. Instead of the endless pursuits of worldly desires, achievements, ambitions and other forms of desires and pleasures of this world, as is common in our world today, as it has been in the past, St. Joseph showed us all what true workmanship is like, and he also reminds us what our labours and works are actually for. Many of us did not understand and realise what we should be doing in reconciling and harmonising our Christian faith with our work life and ethics. St. Joseph, the holy patron of the Church and all workers is our perfect guide to help and guide us down the right path, that we do not end up falling into the wrong ways in this life.

The job of a carpenter is a tough and often unappreciated one. Carpenters were important then as it is today because they made the important tools required in many aspects of life, especially in agriculture and husbandry, in taking care of the crops and the animals. However, despite the importance of the carpenter’s role, nobody usually remembered or thanked the carpenter, and they were usually treated with indifference, or even contempt and disgust. Carpenters were looked down upon and considered as a low-paying job and one that did not bring about prestige and good living. Yet, without them and their works, the society could not have survived or functioned properly as it was. St. Joseph, amidst all these, worked humbly, lived righteously and justly, and became a great role model and father figure not only for Our Lord Jesus Christ, His foster Son, but also to all of us as Christians.

In today’s Scripture readings, we heard of the works that the Lord our God, our Creator and Master Himself had done, in making us and in bringing us to life. In our first reading today, from the Mass of St. Joseph, we heard of the account of the creation of Man, how God made our first forebears and then placed everything under our care, stewardship and dominion, and then rested from all of His labours at the end of His work. In that passage, we can clearly see how the Lord’s own works in creating the world is also likened to that of a craftsman, and a carpenter. God is indeed the One Who had crafted and made the world, and He had patiently created us all, cared for us and provided for us all throughout despite our constant rebelliousness and unwillingness to listen to Him and obey His Law and commandments. Like St. Joseph, who as a carpenter, was looked down upon, we tend to do the same to the Lord as well, ignoring and abandoning Him, and only remembering Him when we have need of Him.

Not only that, but the Lord Himself has willingly then come down upon us as we all know it, in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, sent into this world. He was born of His mother Mary, and became the Son of a humble and upright carpenter, St. Joseph himself. From St. Joseph, the Lord likely learnt the virtue of obedience and also other good and virtuous values and deeds, which we ourselves should take heed of and follow as well in our own lives. This same Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour, would go on to bear His Cross, bearing the whole burden of our many and innumerable sins and punishments due to those sins, obediently following the will of His heavenly Father, and doing all just as how His foster father, St. Joseph, the model of all workers, has shown and taught Him earlier on in His life.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore be inspired as well by the good examples showed by St. Joseph, holy worker and man of God, in all of his righteousness and virtuous life. Let us all commit ourselves to the Lord anew in the same manner as St. Joseph had committed himself, and let us all come closer to the Lord and carry on living our lives in the best way possible, as virtuous and faithful Christians, in doing God’s will and in living our lives to the best of our ability, in proclaiming God’s love and truth in our respective communities, now and henceforth. Each and every one of us have our part to play as Christians, to be exemplary and faithful in our daily living, and to inspire each other to walk ever more faithfully in God’s Presence, to live as how St. Joseph had once lived his life, with virtue and devotion to God. Let our work glorify the Lord and not for our own personal glorification or for the pursuit of our own selfish ambitions.

May the Risen Lord continue to bless each and every one of us, and guide us in our works and ministry, and with the intercession from St. Joseph, His foster father, the patron and model of all workers, may all of us who labour and work continue to be reminded to do our work in accordance with God’s will and in line with our Christian faith and beliefs, and to carry on our works with consideration and care for others all around us. May God be with us all and with His Church, now and always, forevermore. Amen.

Monday, 1 May 2023 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 10 : 1-10

Jesus said to His disciples, “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep. Not so the hired hand, or any other person who is not the shepherd, and to whom the sheep do not belong. They abandon the sheep as soon as they see the wolf coming; then the wolf snatches and scatters the sheep. This is because the hired hand works for pay and cares nothing for the sheep.”

“I am the Good Shepherd. I know My own and My own know Me, as the Father knows Me and I know the Father. Because of this, I give My life for My sheep. I have other sheep which are not of this fold. These I have to lead as well, and they shall listen to My voice. Then there will be one flock, since there is one Shepherd.”

“The Father loves Me, because I lay down My life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down freely. It is Mine to lay down and to take up again : this mission I received from My Father.”

Alternative reading (Mass of St. Joseph)

Matthew 13 : 54-58

At that time, Jesus went to His hometown and taught the people in their synagogue. They were amazed and said, “Where did He get this wisdom and these special powers? Is He not the carpenter’s Son? Is Mary not His mother and are James, Joseph, Simon and Judas not His brothers? Are not all His sisters living here? How did He get all this?” And so they took offence at Him.

Jesus said to them, “The only place where prophets are not welcome is their hometown and in their own family.” And He did not perform many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

Monday, 1 May 2023 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 41 : 2-3 and Psalm 42 : 3, 4

As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for You, o God.

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I go and see the face of God?

Send forth Your light and Your truth; let them be my guide, let them take me to Your holy mountain, to the place where You reside.

Then will I go to the Altar of God, to God, my gladness and delight. I will praise You with the lyre an harp, o God, my God.

Alternative Psalm (Mass of St. Joseph)

Psalm 89 : 2, 3-4, 12-13, 14 and 16

Before the mountains were formed, before You made the earth and the world, from eternity to eternity – You are God.

You turn humans back to dust, saying, “Return, o mortals!” A thousand years in Your sight are like a day that has passed, or like a watch in the night.

So make us know the shortness of our life, that we may gain wisdom of heart. How long will You be angry, o Lord? Have mercy on Your servant.

Fill us at daybreak with Your goodness, that we may be glad all our days. Let Your work be seen by Your servants and Your glorious power by their children.