Saturday, 11 May 2019 : 3rd Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the reminder which the Lord has spoken to us through the passages of the Scripture we have just heard, as He spoke before the people who listened to His teachings, and heard how He referred to Himself as the Bread of Life and that His flesh is real food and His Blood is real drink. They heard how He said that unless they partake in His Body and Blood, they can have no life and part in Him.

Naturally, the people who did not understand the truth behind His words refused to believe in Him and doubted Him, saying as mentioned in our Gospel passage today, ‘These words and language are very hard, how can anyone accept them?’ And yet, the Lord spoke firmly of the truth which He had brought into this world, without hesitation and without holding back anything or changing His words. And many of the people who used to follow Him, left Him behind.

In the first reading today then, from the Acts of the Apostles, we heard of the works of St. Peter, who went to the city of Joppa to visit the faithful community there, and performed the impossible, making a paralysed man to be able to walk again, by the power and authority which God had granted him and the other Apostles. And then, later on, he also raised Tabitha, a devout disciple of the Lord who had already passed away, back into life.

Again, in what St. Peter had done, we have heard and witnessed things that were impossible, and even in our modern day thinking still are impossible, and yet, the Lord through His servants performed what was considered impossible and made them possible. This is a reminder for us that what is impossible and seems to be foolish for us mankind, is not beyond the ability and power of God to do, and indeed, He showed us all that everything is possible for Him, the All-Powerful, Almighty God.

Yet, the Lord had all those who refused to believe in Him, because they thought of themselves and their intelligence to be greater than the wisdom and the power of God. They hardened their hearts and minds because of the pride within them, the ego of their hearts that prevented them from truly being able to accept the Lord and His truth, which requires faith, and therefore, humility and submission before God.

And this is an important reminder for each and every one of us, that all of us as Christians are called to serve the Lord our God, Who has brought with Him truth and revelation that may often be difficult for others in this world to believe. And for that, Christians throughout generations and ages have been persecuted, because of their enduring faith and commitment to God, for their commitment to remain true to the Lord, their God, Who has given them this truth.

There will be times and moments when it will indeed be a challenge for us to be true to our faith amidst the opposition and refusal from all those who refuse to believe in the truth of God, when people refuse to believe in the centre tenet of our faith, of the Lord Jesus Christ Who is the Son of God and Who has come into our midst, to suffer and be crucified and to die on the Cross, so that by His crucifixion, He might save us all from eternal damnation and death.

And there are those who also deny the truth about the Real Presence in the Eucharist, a central tenet of our faith. Just like the people of the time of Jesus, they refused to believe that the Eucharist is truly the Most Precious Body and Blood of the Lord, despite this perfect gift of love that He has given us, offering and sacrificing Himself on the Altar of the Cross, that by giving us His Body and Blood to be consumed, we will have a share in His eternal glory, and receive new life of grace from Him.

May the Lord be with us always, and may He continue to guide us in our journey, now and forevermore. May all of us draw ever closer to Him, each and every days of our life. And be ever more committed to Him from now on. Amen.

Saturday, 11 May 2019 : 3rd Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 6 : 60-69

At that time, after the Jews heard Jesus, many of His followers said, “This language is very hard! Who can accept it?”

Jesus was aware that His disciples were murmuring about this, and so He said to them, “Does this offend you? Then how will you react when you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before? It is the Spirit that gives life, not the flesh. The words that I have spoken to you are Spirit and they are life. But among you there are some who do not believe.”

From the beginning, Jesus knew who would betray Him. So He added, “As I have told you, no one can come to Me unless it is granted by the Father.” After this many disciples withdrew and no longer followed Him. Jesus asked the Twelve, “Will you also go away?

Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We now believe and know that You are the Holy One of God.”

Saturday, 11 May 2019 : 3rd Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 115 : 12-13, 14-15, 16-17

How can I repay the Lord for all His goodness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the Name of the Lord.

I will fulfil my vows to the Lord in the presence of all His people. It is painful to the Lord to see the death of His faithful.

O Lord, I am Your servant, truly Your servant, Your handmaid’s son. You have freed me from my bonds. I will offer You a thanksgiving sacrifice; I will call on the Name of the Lord.

Saturday, 11 May 2019 : 3rd Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 9 : 31-42

Meanwhile, the Church had peace. It was building up throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria with eyes turned to the Lord and filled with comfort from the Holy Spirit.

As Peter travelled around, he went to visit the saints who lived in Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas who was paralysed, and had been bedridden for eight years. Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; get up and make your bed!”

And the man got up at once. All the people living in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord. There was a disciple in Joppa named Tabitha, which means Dorcas or Gazelle. She was always doing good works and helping the poor. At that time she fell sick and died. After having washed her body, they laid her in the upstairs room.

As Lydda is near Joppa, the disciples, on hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request, “Please come to us without delay.” So Peter went with them. On his arrival they took him upstairs to the room. All the widows crowded around him in tears, showing him the clothes that Dorcas had made while she was with them.

Peter made them them all leave the room and then he knelt down and prayed. Turning to the dead body he said, “Tabitha, stand up.” She opened her eyes, looked at Peter and sat up. Peter gave her his hand and helped her up. Then he called in the saints and widows and presented her to them alive.

This became known throughout all of Joppa and many people believed in the Lord because of it.

Friday, 10 May 2019 : 3rd Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we begin the discourse on the conversion of St. Paul the Apostle, who was once Saul, a great enemy and persecutor of the faithful, who is truly the unlikeliest of all people to become a champion of the faithful. Yet, that was what God willed for Saul, as he was called to leave behind his former life and existence, and to embrace a new life and purpose as God’s chosen servant.

Saul persecuted the Church and the early Christians so greatly that people feared even the mere utterance of his name and it was initially very difficult for the faithful to accept the fact that suddenly this great enemy of Christ and His Church has become the follower of Christ. But that was what God had done for His people, and what might seem to be impossible to them, is perfectly possible for Him.

Saul encountered the Lord on his way to Damascus, filled with anger, hatred and jealousy against all Christians, in his blind obedience to the Law and the way the Law was observed by his Pharisee fellows, and as a result, he acted in rash action against the followers of the Lord, with the desire to bring to justice all those who believed in God. But God touched his heart and opened his mind, making a profound change in the direction of his life forever.

That was how Saul, after the life-changing experience and conversion, went through a moment of reckoning and change, finally accepting the Lord Jesus as his Lord, Master and Saviour, being baptised into the Church and receiving the power of the Holy Spirit. And in all these we surely are able to see how God brought about such a transformation, allowing His grace to work wonders in St. Paul, and the same can also happen to us.

This must be understood together with what we have heard in our Gospel passage today, when the Lord Jesus spoke to the people regarding Himself as the Bread of Life, and the offering of His own flesh and His own Blood, to be the real food and drink for the people that all those who partake in this food, His own Most Precious Body and in His own Most Precious Blood, will share in the new life that He has offered them.

All of us received the Eucharist through the hands of the priest, who offered it in the persona Christi during the consecration at the Holy Mass, through which the bread and wine are changed, transformed and converted completely into the essence and reality of the very Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. And the Lord Jesus spoke to the people that all those who receive the Bread of Life, that is Christ Himself, will receive a new life and not perish, essentially referring to all of us who share in the wonders of His Eucharist.

And this has an even deeper meaning and significance for each and every one of us, as we have to compare what had happened to St. Paul, his conversion and change in life, to that of our own. St. Paul, as Saul, received the Lord and encountered Him in His Presence, and accepted His calling to be His disciple, embracing wholeheartedly a new life that transformed him so completely as we just discussed earlier, so much so that no one could have recognised him, be it his friends or his former targets, the early Christians.

Therefore, all of us are challenged in our own lives, to make the same change and transformation to happen to our own lives, so that, by accepting the Lord and embracing Him fully with love, each and every one of us may be renewed and reconciled with Him, and transformed to be His true disciples, as all those who truly believe in God and love Him with all of our hearts and with all of our might.

Let us all turn to the Lord from now on, dedicating ourselves completely to Him, and let us all show our love towards Him with a new strength and zeal, following in the footsteps of St. Paul, who followed and dedicated himself to God, all of the days of his life. May God be glorified through us, and may He continue to guide us and bless us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

Friday, 10 May 2019 : 3rd Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 6 : 52-59

At that time, the Jews were arguing among themselves, “How can this Man give us flesh to eat?” So Jesus replied, “Truly, I say to you, if you do not eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood, you have no life in you. The one who eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood lives eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

“My Flesh is really food, and My Blood is truly drink. Those who eat My Flesh and drink My Blood, lives in Me, and I in them. Just as the Father, Who is life, sent Me, and I have life from the Father, so whoever eats Me will have life from Me. This is the Bread which came from heaven; not like that of your ancestors, who ate and later died. Those who eat this Bread will live forever.”

Jesus spoke in this way in Capernaum when He taught them in the synagogue.

Friday, 10 May 2019 : 3rd Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 116 : 1, 2

Alleluia! Praise the Lord, all you nations; all you peoples, praise Him.

How great is His love for us! His faithfulness lasts forever.