Tuesday, 23 May 2023 : 7th Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 67 : 10-11, 20-21

Then You gave a rain of blessings to comfort Your weary children. Your people found a dwelling and in Your mercy, o God, You provided for the needy.

Blessed be the Lord, God our Saviour, Who daily bears our burdens! Ours is a God Who saves; our Lord lets us escape from death.

Tuesday, 23 May 2023 : 7th Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 20 : 17-27

From Miletus Paul sent word to Ephesus, summoning the elders of the Church. When they came to him, he addressed them, “You know how I lived among you from the first day I set foot in the province of Asia, how I served the Lord in humility through the sorrows and trials that the Jews caused me.”

“You know that I never held back from doing anything that could be useful for you; I spoke publicly and in your homes, and I urged Jews and non-Jews alike to turn to God and believe in our Lord Jesus.”

“But now I am going to Jerusalem, chained by the Spirit, without knowing what will happen to me there. Yet in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that imprisonment and troubles await me. Indeed I put no value on my life, if only I can finish my race and complete the service to which I have been assigned by the Lord Jesus, to announce the Good News of God’s grace.”

“I now feel sure that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom of God will ever see me again. Therefore I declare to you this day that my conscience is clear with regard to all of you. For I have spared no effort in fully declaring to you God’s will.”

Monday, 22 May 2023 : 7th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Rita of Cascia, Religious (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, each one of us are called to continue to live our lives faithfully as Christians and continue to carry out what the Lord had commanded us to do, to live our lives in the manner that He has taught us all to do, so that in everything we say and do, we will always be the worthy bearers of His light and truth, and that we may be inspiration and good role models for others around us, proclaiming the Good News and truth of God through our own lives and works, through our every words and interactions. All of us should do what we can to spread God’s message and ways to others whom we encounter in our lives. This is our calling and vocation as Christians, regardless whichever specific vocation that we have been called to.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Acts of the Apostles about the works of St. Paul the Apostle among the faithful in the region of Ephesus in Asia Minor. Ephesus was one of the early centres of Christianity, and the faithful there grew rapidly in numbers as both Jews and Gentiles alike embraced the new faith in God. The Lord has called on all of them to be His followers, and He spread to them His Good News and truth through His disciples and missionaries like St. Paul, who went to their region to proclaim the Good News and the truth of God. St. Paul was speaking to some of those disciples who were likely to have belonged to the Jewish diaspora there, who believed in the teachings of St. John the Baptist, the Herald of the Messiah. As was evident from the accounts from the Acts of the Apostles and the other parts of the New Testament, St. John the Baptist and his teachings were quite widespread around the region.

However, those disciples like the ones in Ephesus have not yet received the fullness of truth as what the early Christians have received, and hence, the Lord called on His Apostles and disciples to evangelise and spread the Good News to all of those people who have not yet heard of this truth and Good News. St. Paul taught them about the teachings and truth of the Lord, proclaiming to them the Good News and the Gospel of salvation. Those disciples believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and received Him as their Saviour and Master, and were baptised by St. Paul. The Holy Spirit came down upon them and many great miracles happened, as St. Paul continued to minister to all the faithful there and carrying out the good works that God had planted among them. That was how the Church kept on expanding and growing at that time in Ephesus and elsewhere.

Then, in our Gospel passage today, we heard of the Lord speaking to His disciples when they told Him that He was finally telling them the truth and no longer was using parables, hidden meanings and other forms of story-telling through which those who listened to the Lord had not been able to discern fully what He wanted to tell them. But this was because the Lord did not want them all to know everything at once, and wanted them to journey with Him, and to discover their faith in God gradually through their experiences and by listening to the word of God speaking in their hearts and through the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit stirring in them, prodding them to follow the path that the Lord has shown them, and for them to find out about the truth which He has presented and brought before all of them.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, essentially through what we have received in our Scripture readings today, all of us are reminded that each and every one of us who have received the same truth and revelation of the Good News of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, all of us have the obligation and calling, the mission and vocation to proclaim the truth of God to more and more of the people whom we encounter daily, at each and every moments. In our every works, our words and actions, in our every deeds and interactions with one another, all of us should do our part in living our lives worthily so that we may indeed bear our Christian faith and truth to others who interact with us and witness our work and actions. All of us bear within us this calling and mission, with whatever it is that the Lord has blessed and entrusted us with, in our various areas and competencies.

Today, all of us should be inspired by the examples of St. Rita of Cascia whose feast we are celebrating today. St. Rita of Cascia was an Italian saint and Augustinian nun, a holy and devout religious sister who had dedicated her life to the service and the glory of God. She was married at a very young age by her family and despite her desires to enter a convent even from an early age, she remained as a good and faithful wife to her husband, who was quick-tempered and immoral in nature. She was remembered for her efforts in trying to change her husband’s ways, in the marriage that lasted for eighteen years until her husband and sons passed away. It was known that her husband’s family was involved in the then bitter interfamilial struggles and conflicts, and when her husband was murdered, St. Rita of Cascia tried to dissuade her sons from seeking revenge for their father’s death. She also forgave her husband’s murderers and enemies.

And when the sons of St. Rita of Cascia were in danger of committing sins in the pursuit of vengeance, she voluntarily asked the Lord to take them away so that they would not fall into the path of sin and damnation. Miraculously, God listened to her prayers, and her sons were taken away from her, as they passed away from dysentery, before they could commit murder and mortal sins that could harm and endanger their eternal souls. Afterwards, St. Rita of Cascia entered the monastery of St. Mary Magdalene in Cascia, in which she devoted the rest of her life to a work of prayer and piety, and managed to bring the two feuding families together in fulfilling the conditions that were imposed to her before she was to join the monastery community, devoting her life henceforth only to the glorification of God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all hence be inspired by the examples and the role models showed to us by St. Rita of Cascia and many others of our holy predecessors. Let us all turn towards the Lord once again and commit ourselves to His path, doing whatever we can to do His will and to love Him at all times. May the Risen Lord, Our Saviour Jesus Christ continue to be with us and guide us all, and bless us all in our every good works, now and always. Amen.

Monday, 22 May 2023 : 7th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Rita of Cascia, Religious (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 16 : 29-33

At that time, the disciples said to Jesus, “Now You are speaking plainly and not in veiled language! Now we see that You know all things, even before we question You. Because of this we believe that You came from God.”

Jesus answered them, “You say that you believe? The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each one to his home, and you will leave Me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with Me. I have told you all this, so that in Me you may have peace. You will have trouble in the world; but courage! I have overcome the world.”

Monday, 22 May 2023 : 7th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Rita of Cascia, Religious (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 67 : 2-3, 4-5ac, 6-7ab

Arise, o God, scatter Your enemies; let Your foes flee before You. As smoke is blown by the wind, so blow them away; as wax melts before the fire, so let the wicked perish before You.

But let the righteous be glad and exult before God; let them sing to God and shout for joy. Sing to God, sing praises to His Name; the Lord is His Name. Rejoice in His presence.

Father of orphans and Protector of widows – such is our God is His holy dwelling. He gives shelter to the homeless, sets the prisoners free.

Monday, 22 May 2023 : 7th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Rita of Cascia, Religious (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 19 : 1-8

While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul travelled through the interior of the country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples whom he asked, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?” They answered, “We have not even heard that anyone may receive the Holy Spirit.” Paul then asked, “What kind of baptism have you received?” And they answered, “The baptism of John.”

Paul then explained, “John’s baptism was for conversion, but he himself said they should believe in the One Who was to come, and that One is Jesus.” Upon hearing this, they were baptised in the Name of the Lord Jesus. Then Paul laid his hands on them and the Holy Spirit came down upon them; and they began to speak in tongues and to prophesy. There were about twelve of them in all.

Paul went into the synagogue and for three months he preached and discussed there boldly, trying to convince them about the Kingdom of God.