Wednesday, 20 April 2022 : Wednesday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scripture, we are all reminded of the grace that God has given us through the suffering, death and resurrection of His only Son, Jesus Christ, Whom He had sent into this world to be our Lord and Saviour. Through Christ, all of us have received a new hope and seen the Light of God’s salvation, revealing fully the great and enduring love which God has for each and every one of us, each one without exception. We are all reminded that through His suffering, death and resurrection, Christ has gathered and called us all, the lost sheep of His flock, to find our way towards Him and the eternal life that He has promised and purchased by His death, for all the faithful ones.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Acts of the Apostles the account of the healing of the beggar who sat by the Beautiful Gate of the Temple of Jerusalem, by St. Peter and St. John who happened to be passing by. The beggar was healed by the Apostles who healed him in the Name of the Lord, and the crippled beggar was made whole again. That miraculous healing made not only the beggar to rejoice, leaping with joy, but also everyone else who have witnessed the miraculous healing, as everyone knew how long that man had been sitting and was crippled since birth, and God had made him whole and fine again.

Then in our Gospel passage today, we heard of the two disciples of the Lord who were on their way to the village of Emmaus from Jerusalem. This happened just right after the Lord had died on the Cross and risen from the dead. This likely happened on the later time of the Sunday of the Resurrection, in the late afternoon and early evening. They had been debating and discussing among themselves about what they had heard and experienced, most perplexing of which was the words spreading amongst the disciples that the Lord Jesus had risen from the dead and had appeared to some among them.

Those disciples apparently did not yet believe in this truth, and they were still doubtful and shaken in their faith, as they thought that the Lord would have led them all in a great revolution against the Romans and the other oppressors of the people and reestablished the kingdom of Israel. But the Lord instead died and went through the worst of humiliations in His sufferings and then crucifixion and death. They could not reconcile their expectations of what their Messiah or Saviour would do with the reality of what the Lord Jesus had done, in suffering the worst of humiliation and dying for the sake of all the people of God. And that was why, they could not recognise God at first, and failed to realise that He had been with them all along, journeying with them to Emmaus.

The Lord journeyed with the two disciples, speaking to them and encouraging them, explaining the words of the Scriptures to them, revealing why the Messiah had to suffer to fulfil what had been prophesied and spoken about Him. The Lord encouraged and strengthened them, giving them the power and the courage once again, and then, He revealed Himself before them, as He broke the bread with them. Those same two disciples had been journeying quite a distance from Jerusalem by the time that happened, but that did not stop them from rushing back to Jerusalem that very instant to proclaim the Risen Lord to the other disciples. Such was indeed the power of God’s strength and courage.

Those two disciples had been healed from their spiritual hurt and lack of faith, just as how the crippled beggar had been healed from his disability by the Apostles. Through what we had heard in those two examples, we can clearly see how God restored us all into a graceful condition, lifting us up from the depth of our misery, despair and the darkness surrounding us. He would not allow us to perish in the darkness by ourselves, and called us, rescuing us back into the light of His truth and love. Through Him, God has touched each and every one of us, releasing us from our attachments to sin, the disease that corrupts every single one of us, crippling us and making us to fall into this terrible state of existence, from which God alone can rescue us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we recall the love that God has shown us, in His great love, mercy and compassion, we are all reminded of the wonderful grace we have received through His Son, Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, from Whom we have received the assurance for eternal life, the light of His truth and love, the healing for all of our mistakes, faults, shortcomings and all of our imperfections that had kept us in the darkness all these while. Through Christ, we have been made whole once again, and rightfully therefore, we ought to follow Him and commit ourselves anew to the path that He has shown us. We have to be His dedicated and faithful, courageous witnesses in our respective communities and among all those whom we have encountered in life.

Let us all therefore renew our commitment to the Lord, brothers and sisters in Christ, renewing the commitment to love Him and to serve Him wholeheartedly much as how the Apostles and the innumerable saints and martyrs had done in the past. As we are the modern day successors of these wonderful holy men and women, and we have been entrusted with the great works of the Lord in His Church, we cannot stand idle anymore or ignore our obligations as Christians in proclaiming the Good News, the truth and the salvation of God. We have to make good use of the opportunities provided to us and dedicate ourselves in each and every moments of our lives, to glorify the Lord by our lives and to be great inspiration to one another in faith.

May the Lord be with us all, and may our Risen Lord continue to strengthen us and give us the courage and the power to be great missionaries of His love and truth in our present day world. May we help one another to be closer to God, and bring many others to the healing and happiness that can be found in God alone, our Hope and our Light, our Saviour and our God. Amen.

Wednesday, 20 April 2022 : Wednesday within Easter Octave (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 24 : 13-35

At that time, on the same day Jesus rose from the dead, two followers of Jesus were going to Emmaus, a village seven miles from Jerusalem, and they talked about what had happened. While they were talking and arguing about what had happened, Jesus came up and walked with them. But their eyes were not able to recognise Him.

He asked, “What is it you are talking about?” The two stood still, looking sad. Then the one named Cleophas answered, “Why, it seems You are the only traveller to Jerusalem who does not know what haw happened there these past few days.” And He asked, “What is it?”

They replied, “It is about Jesus of Nazareth. He was a Prophet, You know, mighty in word and deed before God and the people. But the chief priests and our rulers sentenced Him to death. They handed Him over to be crucified. We had hoped that He would redeem Israel. It is now the third day since all this took place.”

“It is also true that some women of our group have disturbed us. When they went to the tomb at dawn, they did not find His Body; and they came and told us that they had had a vision of Angels, who said that Jesus was alive. Some of our people went to the tomb and found everything just as the women had said, but they did not find a Body in the tomb.”

He said to them, “How dull you are, how slow of understanding! Is the message of the prophets too difficult for you to understand? Is it not written that the Christ should suffer all this, and then enter His glory?” Then starting with Moses, and going through the prophets, He explained to them everything in the Scriptures concerning Himself.

As they drew near the village they were heading for, Jesus made as if to go farther. But they prevailed upon Him, “Stay with us, for night comes quickly. The day is now almost over.” So He went in to stay with them. When they were at table, He took the bread, said a blessing, broke it, and gave each a piece.

Then their eyes were opened, and they recognised Him; but He vanished out of their sight. And they said to one another, “Were not our hearts filled with ardent yearning when He was talking to us on the road and explaining the Scriptures?” They immediately set out and returned to Jerusalem.

There they found the Eleven and their companions gathered together. They were greeted by these words : “Yes, it is true, the Lord is risen! He has appeared to Simon!” Then the two told what had happened on the road to Emmaus, and how Jesus had made Himself known, when He broke bread with them.

Wednesday, 20 April 2022 : Wednesday within Easter Octave (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 104 : 1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9

Give thanks to YHVH, call on His Name; make known His works among the nations. Sing to Him, sing His praise, proclaim all His wondrous deeds.

Glory in His holy Name; let those who seek YHVH rejoice. Look to YHVH and be strong; seek His face always.

You descendants of His servant Abraham, you sons of Jacob, His chosen ones! He is YHVH our God; His judgments reach the whole world.

He remembers His Covenant forever, His promise to a thousand generations, the Covenant He made with Abraham, the promise He swore to Isaac.

Wednesday, 20 April 2022 : Wednesday within Easter Octave (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 3 : 1-10

Once when Peter and John were going up to the Temple at three in the afternoon, the hour for prayer, a man crippled from birth was being carried in. Every day they would bring him and put him at the Temple gate called “Beautiful”; there he begged from those who entered the Temple.

When he saw Peter and John on their way into the Temple, he asked for alms. Then Peter with John at his side looked straight at him and said, “Look at us.” So he looked at them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have neither silver nor gold, but what I have I give you : In the Name of Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, walk!”

Then he took the beggar by his right hand and helped him up. At once his feet and ankles became firm, and jumping up he stood on his feet and began to walk. And he went with them into the Temple walking and leaping and praising God. All the people saw him walking and praising God; they recognised him as the one who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple, and they were all astonished and amazed at what had happened to him.