Monday, 16 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 reminded that we are God’s people, His beloved ones who are therefore expected to follow Him, and we are expected to walk in His path, doing what He Himself had done for us, to show us love and compassion, kindness and mercy. And therefore each and every one of us as Christians are challenged to live a life filled with love and God’s compassion, that all of those who see us and witness our works and actions may come to realise that we are truly God’s chosen and beloved ones.

In our Gospel passage today, that is the essence of what the Lord has told us, in the conversation that He was having with His disciples at the Last Supper. He was revealing Himself and what He was about to do to all of them, saying to them how He has been sent from the Father to the world, to show them the love of God manifested in the flesh, and to show them the truth that He wants to give to us, so that we may find the way to eternal life through Him. When the disciples asked Him to show them the Father, the Lord was kind of disappointed as they still failed to realise that He and the Father were truly One, and as He Himself said, that knowing Him is already equal to knowing the Father.

Most importantly, the Lord also called on all of His followers and disciples to love one another just as He has loved them. He entrusted to them the commandment of love, the new commandment that He has revealed and brought into our midst, in order to rectify and make perfect the ancient laws and commandments, which at that time had been misunderstood and misinterpreted by many among the people of God. That was why the Lord told them all the truth of what the Law was all about, as He had actually told them many times previously, that the Law was truly all about love.

One ought to love the Lord with all of their strength, with all of their heart and mind, and then the same love ought to be shown as well to the others all around us, which is the essence of what the Ten Commandments and the many laws of Moses were. The Lord told His disciples to do as He has commanded them to do, and showed them by example, what He Himself was about to do for them and all of us, so that they might understand truly what it means to be His followers and disciples. And He would also send His Holy Spirit to guide them and to give them the wisdom to find their path in life, which He has given to all of us through His Church.

The Lord Himself showed us His infinite and most amazing love by His willingness to take up the Cross, to suffer on it and to endure the worst humiliation and pain, so that we may all be saved through Him. Our Lord did all these things because He truly loved us, and He wants to embrace us all back, and be reconciled with us. His love for us is greater than even the combined wickedness of our sins, which He wants to forgive and which He wants to help us to overcome, through His love and by showing us the path to repentance through His Cross. The Lord has loved us all so tenderly, that by His love all of us have received the assurance and hope of eternal life.

That is the message that all of us have received today, as we listened to the words of truth from the Scriptures, reminding us of the great love that God has shown us, and how we as His disciples ought to show Him the same love as well. We have to commit ourselves to the path of God’s love and testify His love to all the people whom we encounter, just as the Apostles and disciples had done, and which served as inspiration for all of us. In our first reading today, we heard how St. Paul and St. Barnabas preached about the Lord in Lystra, to the people who thought that they were their pagan gods when they saw the miraculous signs that the Apostles performed.

St. Paul and St. Barnabas were not swayed or distracted when the people were hailing them and treating them like gods, bringing them offerings and sacrifices, and instead, they courageously and wholeheartedly tried to tell them that what they were doing was wrong. They told the townspeople that they were not gods and that they were proclaiming Christ, as Lord and Saviour of the whole world, and they were merely the messengers of His truth and love. It was their love and compassion for their brethren, which allowed them to share so courageously their faith amidst a people who were not really willing to listen to them.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore go forth and be courageous like that of the Apostles and the other disciples of the Lord, like the saints and martyrs of ages past, in their wholehearted dedication to God, everything that they had done and all that they had endured for the sake of the Lord, their obedience to God and the love which they had shown their fellow men, the compassion, care and concern that they had for those who had not yet known the Lord, and the patience by which they had carried our their ministry and vocation. Each one of us are also called to be the same courageous and faithful disciples, and are we able to do that, brothers and sisters?

Let us all therefore do our best to follow the Lord from now on, in all of our lives, to devote our time, effort and attention to serve the Lord with all of our actions and deeds, to be His faithful witnesses and disciples in our respective communities, showing the love of God to all the people, to all those whom we encounter in life, through our every words, actions and deeds. May God bless us all in our every good works and endeavours, for His greater glory, now and always. Amen.

Monday, 16 May 2022 : 5th Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 14 : 21-26

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Whoever keeps My commandments is the one who loves Me. If he loves Me, he will also be loved by My Father; I too shall love him and show Myself clearly to him.”

Judas – not Judas Iscariot – asked Jesus, “Lord, how can it be that You will show Yourself clearly to us and not to the world!” Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word and My Father will love him; and We will come to him and make a room in his home.”

“But if anyone does not love Me, he will not keep My words; and these words that you hear are not Mine, but the Father’s Who sent Me. I told you all this while I was still with you. 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.”

Monday, 16 May 2022 : 5th Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 113B : 1-2, 3-4, 15-16

Not to us, o Lord, not to us, but to Your Name be the glory, for the sake of Your love and faithfulness. Why should the pagans say, “Where is their God?”

There in heaven is our God; whatever He wishes, He does. Not so the hand-made idols, crafted in silver and gold.

May you be blessed by the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth. Heaven belongs to the Lord, but the earth He has given to humans.

Monday, 16 May 2022 : 5th Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 14 : 5-18

A move was made by pagans and Jews, together with their leaders, to harm the Apostles and to stone them. But Paul and Barnabas learnt of this and fled to Lycaonian towns of Lystra and Derbe and to the surrounding countryside, where they continued preaching the Good News.

Paul and Barnabas spent a fairly long time at Lystra. There was a crippled man in Lystra who had never been able to stand or walk. One day, as he was listening to the preaching, Paul looked intently at him and saw that he had the faith to be saved. So he spoke to him in a loud voice, “In the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I command you to stand up on your feet!” And the man stood up and began to walk around.

When the people saw what Paul had done, they cried out in the language of Lycaonia, “The gods have come to us in human likeness!” They named Barnabas Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes, since he was the chief speaker. Even the priest of the Temple of Zeus, which stood outside the town, brought oxen and garlands to the gate; together with the people, he wanted to offer sacrifice to them.

When Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their garment to show their indignation and rushed into the crowd, shouting, “Friends, why are you doing this? We are human beings with the same weakness you have and we are now telling you to turn away from these useless things to the living God Who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and all that is in them.”

“In past generations He allowed each nation to go its own way, though He never stopped making Himself known; for He is continually doing good, giving you rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, providing you with food and filling your hearts with gladness.”

Even these words could hardly keep the crowd from offering sacrifice to them.