Friday, 19 May 2017 : 5th Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day all of us are reminded through the Scripture passages that we have listened to, of the obligations and duties we have as Christians, as those whom God had chosen to be His people. We have to remember these responsibilities, and live them out accordingly or else, we cannot call ourselves as Christians. Either that, or we are living a false Christian life.

Why is that so? That is because many of us are Christians and call themselves as one counted among the members of the Church, and yet, first of all, they do not attend the regular functions and events of the Church, most importantly of all, the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Many of us attend the Holy Mass only once or twice a year, during the time of Christmas and Easter, and once these seasons are over, we are quick to continue our busy life schedule and leave God behind.

Do we know that it was because of God’s great and undying love that all of us have received salvation and the promise of eternal life from Him? Do we all realise that had God not done so much for us out of His love for us, we would have perished and be destroyed by our sins and by our disobedience against Him? All of us have been marked for death because of our sins, and yet, God loved us so much that He was willing to forgive us and be reconciled with us, if only that we are willing to receive His mercy and forgiveness.

To that extent, He had given us the perfect gift of love, in the person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our Lord. He has come into the world in order to deliver us from sin and death, and that He indeed had done, not only just by some extraordinary means, but truly through the most extraordinary deed of all deeds. As St. Paul mentioned in his Epistle to the Romans, very few people would give up his or her life for the sake of others, even for a very righteous man. However, the Lord Jesus gave us His life, for our sake, so that all of us, while we are still sinners, might be saved through Him.

In this, we can see just how great the love that God had shown us, and it is indeed an unconditional love. God did not require us to love Him first before He loves us, as He has always loved us all, His creations and His children, ever since the day He created us all. And since He has loved us so greatly, it is only just and right that we should love Him back with the same love and devotion.

That is the most important commandment in the law of God, and one that we have to keep in mind at all times. There can be no being or creature that we can love more than how we love the Lord, our Master and Creator, the One Who is the reason for our existence and the Giver of our lives. And after we have loved Him, we are also expected to show the same love to our fellow men, for each one of us mankind are the same children of our God.

This is why, it is imperative in our world today, that all of us Christians are truly Christian in our way of life, or else, we scandalise our own faith and besmirch the Holy Name of our Lord. For it is indeed quite common that while we Christians preach the word of God, yet in our actions, we did not act and do as what we have believed in. How can we expect that others will believe in what we preach to them if we ourselves did not do as what we had preached?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore, let us all commit ourselves anew, giving our best to serve the Lord with all of our might. We should devote our time to do the will of God, by loving one another, showing mercy on those who have wronged us, and praying for those who hate us and those who persecute us. This is what the Lord had taught us to do, and we ought to practice it in our own lives.

May the Lord help us to remain firm in our faith, and may He strengthen our resolve to commit ourselves to His path and devote ourselves, our time and effort to do what He had commanded us to do, to show love in all the things we say and do, that many more people will come to believe in the Lord because of us and because of our loving works. May God bless us all. Amen.

Friday, 19 May 2017 : 5th Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
John 15 : 12-17

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “This is My commandment : Love one another as I have loved you! There is no greater love than this, to give one’s life for one’s friends; and you are My friends, if you do what I command you.”

“I shall not call You servants any more, because servants do not know what their master is about. Instead I have called you friends, since I have made known to you everything I learnt from My Father.”

“You did not choose Me; it was I Who chose you and sent you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last. And everything you ask the Father in My Name, He will give you. This is My command, that you love one another.”

Friday, 19 May 2017 : 5th Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White
Psalm 56 : 8-9, 10-12

My heart is steadfast, o God, my heart is steadfast. I will sing and make music. Awake, my soul, awake, o harp and lyre! I will wake the dawn.

I will give thanks to You, o Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praise to You among the nations. For Your love reaches to the heavens, and Your faithfulness, to the clouds.

Be exalted, o God, above the heavens! Let Your Glory be over all the earth!

Friday, 19 May 2017 : 5th Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Acts 15 : 22-31

Then the Apostles and elders together with the whole Church decided to choose representatives from among them to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. These were Judas, known as Barsabbas, and Silas, both leading men among the brothers. They took with them the following letter :

“Greetings from the Apostles and elders, your brothers, to the believers of non-Jewish birth in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia. We have heard that some persons from among us have worried you with their discussions and troubled your peace of mind. They were not appointed by us.”

“But now, it has seemed right to us in an assembly, to choose representatives and to send them to you, along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, who have dedicated their lives to the service of our Lord Jesus Christ. We send you then Judas and Silas who themselves will give you these instructions by word of mouth.”

“We, with the Holy Spirit, have decided not to put any other burden on you except what is necessary : You are to abstain from blood from the meat of strangled animals and from prohibited marriages. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.”

After saying goodbye, the messengers went to Antioch, where they assembled the community and handed them the letter. When they read the news, all were delighted with the encouragement it gave them.