Wednesday, 5 April 2023 : Wednesday of Holy Week (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Matthew 26 : 14-25

Then one of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “How much will you give me if I hand Him over to you?” They promised to give him thirty pieces of silver, and from then on, he kept looking for the best way to hand Jesus over to them.

On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and said to Him, “Where do You want us to prepare the Passover meal for you?” Jesus answered, “Go into the city, to the house of a certain man, and tell him, ‘The Master says : My hour is near, and I will celebrate the Passover with My disciples in your house.'”

The disciples did as Jesus had ordered, and prepared the Passover meal. When it was evening, Jesus sat at table with the Twelve. While they were eating, Jesus said, “Truly I say to you : one of you will betray Me.” They were deeply distressed, and they asked Him, one after the other, “You do not mean me, do You, Lord?”

He answered, “The one who dips his bread with Me will betray Me. The Son of Man is going as the Scripture says He will. But alas for that one who betrays the Son of Man : better for him not to have been born.” Judas, who was betraying Him, also asked, “You do not mean me, Master, do You?” Jesus replied, “You have said it.”

Wednesday, 5 April 2023 : Wednesday of Holy Week (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 68 : 8-10, 21bcd-22, 31 and 33-34

Since I am held in contempt for Your sake, and shame has covered My face. I have become a stranger to My kindred, an alien to My mother’s sons. Zeal for Your house consumes Me as fire and those who insult You insult Me as well.

I looked for sympathy and there was none, for comforters and there was no one. They gave me poison for food and vinegar to drink.

I will praise the Name of God in song; I will glorify Him with thanksgiving. Let the lowly witness this and be glad. You who seek God, may your hearts be revived. For the Lord hears the needy and does not despise those in captivity.

Wednesday, 5 April 2023 : Wednesday of Holy Week (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Isaiah 50 : 4-9a

The Lord YHVH has taught Me so I speak as His disciple and I know how to sustain the weary. Morning after morning He wakes Me up to hear, to listen like a disciple. The Lord YHVH has opened My ear. I have not rebelled, nor have I withdrawn.

I offered My back to those who strike Me, My cheeks to those who pulled My beard; neither did I shield My face from blows, spittle and disgrace. I have not despaired, for the Lord YHVH comes to My help. So, like a flint I set My face, knowing that I will not be disgraced.

He Who avenges Me is near. Who then will accuse Me? Let us confront each other. Who is now My accuser? Let him approach. If the Lord YHVH is my Help, who will condemn Me?

Tuesday, 4 April 2023 : Tuesday of Holy Week (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures and as we continue to progress through this blessed time of the Holy Week, all of us are reminded to continue to focus our attention on the Lord and appreciate everything that He had done for us, in how He has reached out to us with His love, patiently caring for each and every one of us, leading us to Himself and showing us His kindness and compassionate mercy in each and every moments. The Lord has done all these for us, for our salvation. If not for everything that He had done, we would have perished and been condemned to eternal damnation and destruction, but thanks to His generous intervention and love, God has rescued us and provided us with the assurance of new and everlasting life, a blessed existence with Him in His Holy Presence.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of the prophet Isaiah, the continuation of the discourse in the past few days regarding the coming of the Saviour or Messiah of God. The Lord promised His people through His prophets and messengers, particularly through the prophet Isaiah, of the coming of His deliverance and salvation to all of His people. The Lord has not forgotten those whom He cared about, and would send to them His help through His Messiah, Who is in fact His own beloved Son, Incarnate in the flesh, Our Lord Jesus Christ. This same Messiah or Saviour would endure the worst beatings and sufferings on our behalf, the worst hardships and trials, all to give us the sure path to eternal life and liberation from our sins. Through His Son, the Lord led us to a new path by which He would bring us back to Him, guiding us as a most loving Shepherd.

He came to us, calling on us, His lost sheep, to follow Him and to embrace the fullness of His love, reminding us not to harden our hearts and minds any longer, and be willing to embrace Him wholeheartedly, His loving kindness and generous mercy. Then, He did all these by exposing Himself to all the wickedness of the world and all the trials that He had to bear as part of His journey. In our Gospel passage today, we heard of the account of the conversion between the Lord and His disciples during the time of the Last Supper, at which time He revealed what would happen to Him, how He would be betrayed by one of those who were closest to Him, and how He would also be abandoned and left behind by His other disciples and followers. It was there that the Lord highlighted to all those who were listening to Him, what He would have to go through in order to fulfil the will of His heavenly Father perfectly and completely.

Judas Iscariot had already plotted against the Lord, his own Master, by allowing the temptations of the devil to sway and mislead him down the path of wickedness, as he gave in to the temptations of his greed and attachments of worldly desires. He has often embezzled much funds from the common funds of the Lord and the disciples, taking advantage of his responsibility as the treasurer of the group. Judas Iscariot allowed himself to be swayed by the temptations of those money and worldly attachments, and thus, led him to walk the path that Satan had guided him, to approach the chief priests and to plot with them in betraying his own master, for a sum of thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave. He betrayed and abandoned the Lord for greed and desire of worldly glory, wealth and possessions, trading the assurance of eternal life and true joy for the temporary joy of the world.

It is easy then indeed for all of us to put all the blame on Judas Iscariot. It is convenient for us to point fingers at him and his wicked attitudes and deeds, but lest we forget, that everything which Judas Iscariot had done, are what we mankind had done again and again, throughout time and ages past. If we are to accuse Judas for his betrayal and wickedness, then we ought first look upon our own weaknesses and vulnerabilities to sin. If Judas Iscariot had betrayed and abandoned the Lord for money, material goods and other worldly things, is that not what we have often done ourselves, from time to time? How many of us have spent a lot of time, effort and attention on worldly pursuits, ambitions and all sorts of things that we desire in this world, ignoring and forgetting about the Lord, and doing all sorts of wicked and evil things, in our mad pursuit for those worldly matters?

That is why, instead of pointing fingers at Judas Iscariot and dumping all the blame on him, let us all make good use of what we have heard today from our Scripture passages to reflect on our own lives and on how we ourselves have often failed the Lord and betrayed Him for the many attractions and persuasions of this world. And as we enter more deeply into the mystery and immersing ourselves into our Lord’s Passion, His suffering, death and resurrection during this Holy Week, let us all therefore remember first of all God’s love for us made manifest to us in the person of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, Who has shown us the genuine face of God’s Love, made tangible and real for us. Let us reflect on our fallen state and failures, our faults and wickedness which have prevented us from coming towards the Lord and attain full reconciliation with Him.

Let us all therefore take heed from the downfall of Judas Iscariot as a reminder for each and every one of us so that we may turn away from the path of worldliness and desire, unhealthy attachments and ambitions, which had led so many of our predecessors to their downfall. Instead, we should deepen our humility and learn to resist the temptations of pride, ego and desire, and guard ourselves well, lest the devil may strike at us and make us to be enslaved by sin. This Holy Week we are all reminded that God has done so much for us, to call us out from the darkness, and to bring us to the path of His love, truth and righteousness. But, what have we done to embrace God and His love? Have we spent the time and the opportunities given to us so that we may make good use of them in developing an ever better and stronger relationship with God?

May the Lord continue to guide us all and may He encourage us to live ever more worthily in His Presence. May He continue to show us the path forward, filled with His love and grace, and may He help us to persevere amidst this world full of darkness and many temptations and pressures all around us, that we may always be strong and courageous to resist those temptations and pressures, striving to lead a life truly holy and worthy of the Lord. May God bless us all in our every good works and efforts, and may He bless us especially during this upcoming Easter Triduum, that in whatever we do to immerse ourselves in all the celebrations and commemorations, we may continue to glorify Him by our every actions, words and deeds. Amen.

Tuesday, 4 April 2023 : Tuesday of Holy Week (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

John 13 : 21-33, 36-38

At that time, after He said a discourse to His disciples after He washed their feet, Jesus was distressed in Spirit, and said plainly, “Truly, one of you will betray Me.” The disciples then looked at one another, wondering whom He meant. One of the disciples, the one Jesus loved, was reclining near Jesus; so Simon Peter signalled him to ask Jesus whom He meant.

And the disciple, who was reclining near Jesus, asked Him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “I shall dip a piece of bread in the dish, and he to whom I give it, is the one.” So Jesus dipped the bread and gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And as Judas took the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus then said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”

None of the others, reclining at the table, understood why Jesus said this to Judas. As Judas had the common purse, they may have thought that Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or “Give something to the poor.” Judas left as soon as he had eaten the bread. It was night.

When Judas had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him. God will glorify Him, and He will glorify Him very soon. My children, I am with you for only a little while; you will look for Me, but as I already told the Jews, so now I tell you : where I am going you cannot come.”

Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, where are You going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but afterwards you will.” Peter said, “Lord, why can I not follow You now? I am ready to give my life for You.”

“To give your life for Me?” Jesus asked Peter, “Truly I tell you, the cock will not crow, before you have denied Me three times.”

Tuesday, 4 April 2023 : Tuesday of Holy Week (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 70 : 1-2, 3-4a, 5-6ab, 15 and 17

In You, o Lord, I seek refuge; let me not be disgraced. In Your justice help me and deliver me, turn Your ear to me and save me!

Be my Rock of refuge, a Stronghold to give me safety, for You are my Rock and my Fortress. Rescue me, o my God, from the hand of the wicked.

For You, o Lord, have been my Hope, my Trust, o God, from my youth. I have relied on You from birth : from my mother’s womb You brought me forth.

My lips will proclaim Your intervention and tell of Your salvation all day, little though it is what I can understand. You have taught me from my youth and until now I proclaim Your marvels.