Wednesday, 24 May 2017 : 6th Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard how the Lord guided His Apostle, St. Paul, who went to various places across the Roman Empire in order to preach His truth to the people, and today we heard the part when St. Paul went to the region now known as Greece, the venerable ancient city of Athens, which was then known to be a centre of learning and science, the centre of ancient wisdom and understanding, the heart of philosophy and intellectual studies.

St. Paul went to a people who had long history of scientific knowledge and discovery, and who came after a long line of famous philosophers and thinkers, who made Athens their home. These people believed in their pagan gods, the gods of nature, of the sky, lightning, the seas and the earth, and all other natural phenomena, which we may be more familiar of as the Greek pantheon of gods and goddesses.

It must have been quite a challenge for St. Paul to have come to the Areopagus, the place where the Greek philosophers gathered to debate about many things, including the matters of the supernatural, about their gods and goddesses. And there came St. Paul bearing the truth to them, the truth about the One and only Living God, the True God Who created all things, and rejecting the falsehoods of their pagan gods.

But St. Paul persevered through, revealing the folly of worshipping gods and idols which were made of human creations, and were made out of gold, silver and all forms of human craftsmanship, and not something that transcends the world itself. He revealed the truth about the Lord, Who was still unknown to those pagan peoples, but through St. Paul and his teachings, they came to know of the Lord and His salvation.

St. Paul showed the philosophers the emptiness and the futility of worshipping the elements of nature, which are merely creations and products of the creation by the Creator. If those things which had been created were truly amazing that mankind came to worship them as gods and idols, then truly, all the more and all the greater is the One Who had created all of them.

That is why all of us worship the Lord our God, for He is the one and only true God, from Whom all life came from, and from Whom all things were created, including each and every single one of us. He has come into this world, by His own accord, in order to reveal Himself to us all, that through that revelation all of us might finally see His truth and learn to accept His light, and live no longer in the darkness.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, it is too often that we mankind refused to follow the Lord, especially because we have hardened our hearts against Him. We placed our trust in our own might, in our own intellect and in our own abilities, to the point that we could not comprehend the truth of the Lord, as what some of the people at the time of St. Paul had done.

Yet, as we heard from the readings, some of the philosophers were intrigued by what St. Paul had said, and wanted him to explain more about the Lord to them. It was from this moment that the foundation of the faith in that region began to be established and strengthened. It was the willingness of the pagans to open their hearts to the Lord, which allowed Him to enter into their hearts and turn them towards the way to salvation.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we should heed this example, and also turn ourselves completely and wholeheartedly towards the Lord. Let us all believe in Him, our Lord and Creator with all of our heart, with all of our strength and might, so that we may draw ever closer to Him, and not be distracted by the temptations found in this world, so that we may find our way to the salvation in our God. May God bless us all. Amen.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017 : 6th Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
John 16 : 12-15

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “I still have many things to tell you, but you cannot bear them now. When He, the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into the whole truth. He has nothing to say of Himself, but He will speak of what He hears, and He will tell you of the things to come.”

“He will take what is Mine and make it known to you; in doing this, He will glorify Me. All that the Father has is Mine; because of this, I have just told you that the Spirit will take what is Mine, and make it known to you.”

Wednesday, 24 May 2017 : 6th Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White
Psalm 148 : 1-2, 11-12, 13, 14

Alleluia! Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise Him in the heavenly heights. Praise Him, all His Angels; praise Him, all His heavenly hosts.

Kings of the earth and nations, princes and all rulers of the world, young men and maidens, old and young together.

Let them praise the Name of the Lord. For His Name alone is exalted; His majesty is above earth and heaven.

He has given His people glory; He has a praise to His faithful, to Israel, the people close to Him. Alleluia.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017 : 6th Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Acts 17 : 15, 22 – Acts 18 : 1

Paul was taken as far as Athens by his escort, who then returned to Beroea with instructions for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible. Then Paul stood up in the Areopagus hall and said, “Athenian citizens, I note that in every way you are very religious. As I walked around looking at your shrines, I even discovered an altar with this inscription : To an unknown God. Now, what you worship as unknown, I intend to make known to you.”

“God, Who made the world and all that is in it, does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands, being as He is Lord of heaven and earth. Nor does His worship depend on anything made by human hands, as if He were in need. Rather it is He Who gives life and breath and everything else to everyone.”

“From one stock He created the whole human race to live throughout all the earth, and He fixed the time and the boundaries of each nation. He wanted them to seek Him by themselves, even if it were only by groping for Him, succeed in finding Him. Yet He is not far from any one of us. For in Him we live and move and have our being, as some of your poets have said : for we too are His offspring.”

“If we are indeed God’s offspring, we ought not to think of divinity as something like a statue of gold or silver or stone, a product of human art and imagination. But now God prefers to overlook this time of ignorance and He calls on all people to change their ways. He has already set a day on which He will judge the world with justice through a Man He has appointed. And, so that all may believe it, He has just given a sign by raising this Man from the dead.”

When they heard Paul speak of a resurrection from death, some made fun of him, while others said, “We must hear you on this topic some other time.” At that point Paul left. But a few did join him, and believed. Among them were Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus court, a woman named Damaris, and some others. After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.