Tuesday, 16 May 2023 : 6th Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 16 : 5-11

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “But now I am going to the One Who sent Me, and none of you asks Me where I am going; instead you are overcome with grief, because of what I have said.”

“Believe Me, it is better for you that I go away, because as long as I do not leave, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go away, it is to send Him to you, and when He comes, He will vindicate the truth before a sinful world; and He will vindicate the paths of righteousness and justice.”

“What is the world’s sin, in regard to Me? Disbelief. What is the path of righteousness? It is the path I walk, by which I go to the Father; and you shall see Me no more. What is the path of justice? It is the path on which the prince of this world will always stand condemned.”

Tuesday, 16 May 2023 : 6th Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 137 : 1-2a, 2bc-3, 7c-8

I thank You, o Lord with all my heart, for You have heard the word of my lips. I sing Your praise in the presence of the gods. I bow down towards Your holy Temple and give thanks to Your Name.

For Your love and faithfulness, for Your word which exceeds everything. You answered me when I called; You restored my soul and made me strong.

You save me from the wrath of my foes, with Your right hand You deliver me. How the Lord cares for me! Your kindness, o Lord, endures forever. Forsake not the work of Your hands.

Tuesday, 16 May 2023 : 6th Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 16 : 22-34

So the slave owners of Philippi set the crowd against Paul and Silas and the officials tore the clothes of them and ordered them to be flogged. And after inflicting many blows on them, they threw them into prison, charging the jailer to guard them safely. Upon receiving these instructions, he threw them into the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

About midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly a severe earthquake shook the place, rocking the prison to its foundations. Immediately all the doors flew open and the chains of all the prisoners fell off.

The jailer woke up to see the prison gates wide open. Thinking that the prisoners had escaped, he drew his sword to kill himself, but Paul shouted to him, “Do not harm yourself! We are all still here.” The jailer asked for a light, then rushed in, and fell at the feet of Paul and Silas. After he had secured the other prisoners, he led them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

They answered, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you and your household will be saved.” Then they spoke the word of God to him and to all his household. Even at that hour of the night, the jailer took care of them and washed their wounds; and he and his whole household were baptised at once. He led them to his house, spread a meal before them and joyfully celebrated with his whole household his newfound faith in God.

Monday, 15 May 2023 : 6th Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the Lord speaking to us through the Sacred Scriptures, all of us are called and reminded to follow the Lord wholeheartedly and dedicate ourselves to His works and ministry, and all that He has entrusted to all of us to do in our lives. Each and every one of us have been called to be good and faithful Christians in all things, to be role models and exemplary in our lives and actions so that we may be beacons of God’s light, truth and love in our various communities, proclaiming His Good News and truth to all the people all around us. That is what we have been called to do as Christians, and we will do well to heed this calling and to do what the Lord has commanded us to do, and to live our lives to the best of our abilities, in walking down the path that God has shown us.

In our first reading today, all of us heard from the Acts of the Apostles regarding the continuing works of the Apostles, as St. Paul continued on with his mission, travelling from place to place, proclaiming the Good News of God and ministering to the faithful in all those places. Many were turned towards the Christian faith and truth, and not few like what we heard today, in the example of the God-fearing lady named Lydia from Thyatira, who became a believer, and as we heard, her whole entire household were baptised in the Lord. More and more believers came to follow the path of the Lord, and more gave themselves to be baptised, growing the early Church from a very small community in the very beginning into a rapidly burgeoning assembly of the faithful, spreading from cities and towns, from place to place.

Despite the hardships, challenges and the many trials that the Apostles like St. Paul and the many other missionaries had to face throughout their mission, this certainly did not dampen their passion and efforts to proclaim the Good News of the Lord, as they continued to labour hard amidst the people of God, doing what they could to spread the truth of Christ, our Lord and Saviour, to more and more people. They patiently reached out to people of various origins and thoughts, convincing even some among those who were reluctant and even hostile at first, to become believers in the Lord and in His salvation. Thanks to the hard work of the Apostles and the saints, they have gained for the Lord innumerable new converts and more and more people who become parts of His Church, coming down the path towards salvation and eternal life.

They were all empowered and strengthened by the Holy Spirit just as the Lord Himself has promised and reassured them all in our Gospel passage today. The Lord has promised His disciples that He would send them all His Helper, or the Advocate, that is the Holy Spirit of God, Who would strengthen and invigorate them, give them the wisdom and the courage to carry out their missions and works, so that they might persevere and endure well despite the many challenges facing them, and the many obstacles and hardships that they had to go through amidst the duration of their ministry and hard work. The Holy Spirit guided the Apostles and the other missionaries and all the people of God ever since the Holy Spirit descended upon them at the time of the Pentecost. And from them, eventually the Holy Spirit has also passed down to us as well.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us have received the Holy Spirit as well and we have also been entrusted with the same gifts, talents and blessings, and given the same missions that the Lord has given to His disciples and servants then. What the Lord had asked His followers to do then, are still relevant to what we are supposed to do in our world today, as all of us are also called and reminded to proclaim the Good News of God, His truth and love in our own communities, as we embark upon our own missions and works as part of the Universal Church of God. There are also still a lot of people out there who have not yet known the Lord, and have not realised all the good things that He has done for us. The Lord has taught us all everything so that hopefully we can be the bearers of His truth and teachings, His ways and all to the others.

Not only that, but in fact, all of us are also called to rejuvenate and strengthen the faith of all those who are around us, those within the Church and our fellow Christian brothers and sisters, who have lapsed from their faith, who have forgotten their important obligations, duties and responsibilities in living up to their Christian calling and life, just as the Lord had told us all to do. There are many among us Christians who have not even gone to church or participate in the celebrations of the Eucharist and the other Sacraments for quite some time. And there are also many among us who have only gone through the motions in the way how we carry out our Christian living, in our actions and works. Many among us have become lukewarm in our faith, lacking true and genuine commitment to the Lord in our every deeds and works in life.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore today discern carefully our path in life, so that we may truly discern a path forward that leads us down the right path towards God and His salvation. If we have often been distracted by the many temptations and other matters in life, in all the worldly things and attachments we have, then we should take this opportunity to reevaluate our lives and how we have lived them so that we may truly be ever more faithful to the Lord, and have the right focus in life. All of us should reorientate our lives and our way of living them so that the Lord our God will always be at the very centre and as the very focus of our whole lives and existences. Let us all discern this carefully so that we may help to lead and inspire many others around us to live their own lives worthily in the path that God has shown us.

May the Risen Lord, Jesus Christ, our Saviour, King and Good Shepherd be with us always and be with His Church, that each and every one of us may ever be empowered, encouraged and strengthened to live our lives worthily as Christians, to be worthy beacons of God’s light, truth and love at all times. May God bless us all, in all of our works and efforts, for the greater glory of His Name. Amen.

Monday, 15 May 2023 : 6th Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 15 : 26 – John 16 : 4a

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “From now on the Helper, the Holy Spirit Whom the Father will send in My Name, will teach you all things, and remind you of all that I have told you.”

“Peace be with you! I give you My peace; not as the world gives peace do I give it to you. Do not be troubled; do not be afraid. You heard Me say, ‘I am going away, but I am coming to you.’ If you loved Me, you would be glad that I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.”

“I have told you this now before it takes place, so that when it does happen you may believe. It is very little what I may still tell you, for the prince of this world is at hand, although there is nothing in Me that he can claim. But see, the world must know that I love the Father, and that I do what the Father has taught Me to do. Come now, let us go.”

“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.”