Thursday, 22 April 2021 : 3rd Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this day as we continue to listen from the Scriptures we are called to continue to proclaim the Word of God and His truth in our respective communities, in our lives and in our actions. We are all called to proclaim the Lord, our Living Bread, the Bread of Life and the Lamb of God, Who has come into this world to be our Saviour and leading us out of the darkness into the light.

We all proclaim Him as Our Lord and Saviour, as part of our Christian faith, our true belief and dedication, and we proclaim Him as the Light and Hope in the midst of all the darkness in this world, that through Christ and all that He has done for us, He has restored us to a new hope and freed us from the chains of sin and the tyranny of death that had separated us from Him. God’s great love for us had been manifested in Christ and His love, and as such, we His people who know Him, ought to be His good and faithful witnesses in this world, proclaiming Him through our actions and deeds.

Like St. Philip the Apostle, we have received the same Holy Spirit from God, through our baptism, and those of us who have received the Sacrament of Confirmation, we have been further strengthened by the same Spirit, through which God is guiding us to be His faithful witnesses and servants, to lead others and many people to Him. St. Philip ministered in the regions that he went to and met an Ethiopian official, on his way back from Jerusalem, and revealed to him the true identity of the Messiah proclaimed in the Scriptures, which the official happened to be reading.

St. Philip so convinced the Ethiopian official that he was willing to embrace baptism, and gave himself to be baptised by the Apostle. St. Philip has received this very truth and revelation from none other than the Lord Himself, Who in our Gospel passage today, spoke of Himself as the Bread of Life and the Saviour, sent from the Father in heaven into this world, to bring all of mankind to salvation, and to a new life, restoring them to true joy and grace. And unlike the old manna eaten by the Israelites in the past, the Bread of Life, given and offered freely by the Lord Himself, would bring all to life, eternal life in God.

But this truth is not something that is easily believed by many, as the Lord Himself, when He spoke of the truth before all the assembled people, He faced many skepticism and doubts, and many left Him and abandoned Him when He spoke in such terms. Even His disciples told Him that such a truth was truly very hard to take in and to be comprehended. Yet, it is this same truth which St. Philip had spoken of to the Ethiopian official, and the same truth that the Apostles, and so many saints and holy martyrs had toiled and laboured for, all suffering for the sake of the Lord.

Yet, they all rejoiced at the chance to suffer in the Lord, to continue to preach the truth and reach out more and more people despite the opposition, persecution, challenges and trials that they faced. Their exemplary faith and unceasing devotion to the Lord became source of inspiration for many others who followed in their footsteps, their commitment and courage became source of strength for those who also faced the same trials and challenges well after the time of the earliest disciples.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, how about us then? As Christians are we all inspired by the examples showed by our holy and dedicated predecessors? Are we inspired to reach out and be part of the Church’s continued efforts to evangelise and to proclaim the Good News and the truth to the people of God? As we are reminded today through the Scriptures, we are all part of this work of evangelisation, and the responsibility is upon us to be faithful always to the Lord, at all times, and to be exemplary in the way we live our lives in the most Christian way possible.

Otherwise, if our faith is just but in name or formality only, and if our actions show that we are not truly faithful, and are disobedient of the Lord, then it will be a scandal to our faith and a disgrace to the Lord. And we all shall be accountable to all these that we have done at the day of Judgment. Surely this is not what we want or intend to do. But that’s why we are reminded today yet again, during this most blessed time of Easter, to be a true Easter people, filled with the spirit and joy of Easter to proclaim joyfully the Lord, His truth and Resurrection to all. May God be with us always, and may He, our Risen Lord, bless us and our every good efforts and endeavours, always. Amen.

Thursday, 22 April 2021 : 3rd Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 6 : 44-51

At that time, Jesus said to the Jews, “No one can come to Me unless he is drawn by the Father Who sent Me; and I will raise Him up on the last day. It has been written in the Prophets : They shall all be taught by God. So whoever listens and learns from the Father comes to Me.”

“For no one has seen the Father except the One Who comes from God; He has seen the Father. Truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the Bread of Life. Though your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, they died. But here you have the Bread which comes from heaven, so that you may eat of it, and not die.”

“I am the Living Bread which as come from heaven; whoever eats of this Bread will live forever. The Bread I shall give is My flesh, and I will give it for the life of the world.”

Thursday, 22 April 2021 : 3rd Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 65 : 8-9, 16-17, 20

Praise our God, o nations, let the sound of His praise be heard, for He has preserved us among the living and kept our feet from stumbling.

All you who fear God, come and listen; let me tell you what He has done. I cried aloud to Him, extolling Him with my tongue.

May God be blessed! He has not rejected my prayer; nor withheld His love from me.

Thursday, 22 April 2021 : 3rd Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 8 : 26-40

An Angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south towards the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, the desert road.” So he set out and it happened that an Ethiopian was passing along that way. He was an official in charge of the treasury of the queen of the Ethiopians; he had come on pilgrimage to Jerusalem and was on his way home. He was sitting in his carriage and reading the prophet Isaiah.

The Spirit said to Philip, “Go and catch up with that carriage.” So Philip ran up and heard the man reading the prophet Isaiah; and he asked, “Do you really understand what you are reading?” The Ethiopian replied, “How can I, unless someone explains it to me?” He then invited Philip to get in and sit beside him.

This was the passage of Scripture he was reading : He was led like a sheep to be slaughtered; like a lamb that is dumb before the shearer, He did not open His mouth. He was humbled and deprived of His rights. Who can speak of His descendants? For He was uprooted from the earth.

The official asked Philip, “Tell me, please, does the prophet speak of himself or of Someone else?” Then Philip began to tell him the Good News of Jesus, using this text of Scripture as his starting point. As they travelled down the road they came to a place where there was some water. Then the Ethiopian official said, “Look, here is water; what is to keep me from being baptised?”

And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” Then he ordered the carriage to stop; both Philip and the Ethiopian went down into the water and Philip baptised him. When they came out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord took Philip away. The Ethiopian saw him no more, but he continued on his way full of joy.

Philip found himself at Azotus, and he went about announcing the Good News in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.