Sunday, 28 May 2017 : Seventh Sunday of Easter, World Communication Sunday (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, we are celebrating the seventh and second last Sunday in the season of Easter, as we approach its ending, with the coming of the Solemnity of the Pentecost next Sunday. Today we also celebrate the occasion of the World Communication Sunday, bringing to our attention the importance of communication, not just as a primary method for us all to relate with one another, but more importantly, it is through communication that we are able to spread the Word of God to others, and call more people to salvation in God.

The Apostles whom we heard in the first reading today were the ones who preached the Good News of the Lord to the world, speaking the truth of Jesus Christ and bearing His light into a world darkened by sin and evil. Had they not gone forth and courageously telling the people of the truth of Christ, many people would not have known of God’s salvation, and these souls would have been lost from God, and might have fallen into eternal damnation.

They bore the truth of God to the people, and those who heard them were touched and were moved in their hearts to follow the Lord and obey His will. But did the Apostles do all the work on their own accord? Did they do all of these by their own strength and power? No, it was because they all, as their Lord had shown them, remained firmly connected to the Lord, through none other than constant prayer and devotion.

In the Gospel passage today, we heard how Jesus Himself prayed to His Father in heaven, in a series of long prayers from the Gospel of St. John, how Jesus prayed for the sake of His Apostles and His Church. He showed them how to pray to God, the Source of their life and the Master of all. Jesus glorified and thanked the Father, as He had also done in the Lord’s Prayer, which He had taught the Apostles in a separate occasion.

Prayer indeed is not as what many of us envisioned it or knew it. Prayer is not a litany of supplications and demands, wishes and wants. Many of us thought that through prayer we are able to get what we wanted, just by asking the Lord our God and everything will be granted to us. We turned to God only when we need Him, and when He did not give us what we wanted, that is when we ended up becoming angry at Him and left Him behind.

Many of us did not realise that prayer is how we truly ought to communicate with God, to speak to Him from heart to heart, and not just utterances from the mouth alone. It is perfectly possible for someone to utter words of prayers without understanding them, or without meaning them. What good will it be for us to pray and yet not meaning what we say? And what good will it do for us if we are to pray for our own selfish intentions and wants?

Today, as we celebrate the occasion of the seventh Sunday of Easter and also the World Communication Sunday, let us all remember these two things, which are truly very important for us as Christians. First of all, let us all remember that we Christians need to pray, as prayer is the foundation and the fabric of our faith. Without prayer, our faith will be easily shaken, and we will easily fall into temptation and into the traps laid down by the evil one.

For prayer is what strengthens the foundation of our faith, and genuine prayers help us to grow in our spirituality and in our relationship with God. Through prayers, we communicate with God, and as in all communications, such interactions should be two-way in nature. We also must allow God to speak in our hearts, just as we want to speak with Him.

It is very often that we as human beings living in this world are often too busy and too preoccupied by our worldly matters, by our work and occupations, to the point that we are unable to hear the words which God spoke to us in the depths of our heart, because we are simply too busy to take note, and the noise of this world prevented and distracted us from listening to Him.

It is important therefore, for us all to spend time with God, and not just be preoccupied with our work. After all, we all often bother and worry about many things we have in this world, about how we do our work, about how we perform in life, about whether we can get promotion in life, in work and in our career, but do we all realise that all these things are ultimately not the most important things in our life?

God knows all that we need, brothers and sisters in Christ, and it is often that what we need are not what we want. Many of us may think that we need money, possessions, wealth, fame, recognition from others, glory and praise. Yet, all these things are truly not what we need in life. There are many people out there who are rich, powerful, respected and filled with glory and honour in accordance to the world, and yet, they are not happy in their lives.

Prayer is the way for us to seek the Lord and gain true happiness through Him. For it is He alone Who can satisfy us truly and Who will provide us what we need in life. It is why we need to pray, and not just any prayers, or just by uttering words of prayers without meaning them or understanding them, but making those prayers out of the sincerity of our hearts, from the desire we have to share our burdens, our concerns and our worries with Him. And then, let Him take care of everything for us, in His own way. Let Him speak to us, so that we may know what it is that He really wants from us.

And therefore, we come to the second thing, which all of us Christians need to take heed of. And that is the fact that, all of us as Christians need to share the knowledge, the joy and the things which we have received from the Lord, for we have known the Lord, and we have spoken with Him, from heart to heart. As the Apostles had once laboured and worked hard to evangelise and to preach the Good News, it is now therefore our turn to do the same.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us as Christians, as the members of God’s Church have been given the same mission which He had given His Apostles, at the time when He ascended to heaven in glory. He commanded all of them to go to all the ends of the earth, and preach the Good News to all the peoples, that all of them may come to know the truth of the Lord, His love and the promised salvation He has brought to them, so that through baptism, all of them may be saved.

This is what we need to do, brothers and sisters in Christ, that is to communicate the truth of God to all the nations, to our fellow men and women, to those who have not yet known the Lord, and even to those who have rejected or abandoned Him. But we do not have to worry, for the Lord will ever be on our side, guiding us and telling us what to do.

And we do not need to begin from great things, for what is needed is indeed for each and every one of us to begin from ourselves, by making sure that all of us are truly faithful to the Lord, by practicing our faith with zeal. Then, let us all also do what the Lord had taught us to do, by loving our brethren, forgiving our enemies and all those who have caused us hurt and suffering. By being role models to others, we can inspire many more people to come to the Lord.

May the Lord therefore empower us all, as He had sent us His Holy Spirit, so that all of us will be filled with the courage and strength to do what we need to do, in order to become ever closer to the Lord, and to bring more and more people to His salvation and love. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

Sunday, 28 May 2017 : Seventh Sunday of Easter, World Communication Sunday (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
John 17 : 1-11a

At that time, after Jesus said all that He had said to His disciples, He lifted up His eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come! Give glory to Your Son, that the Son may give glory to You. You have given Him power over all humanity, so that He may give eternal life to all those You entrusted to Him. For this is eternal life : to know You, the only true God, and the One You sent, Jesus Christ.”

“I have glorified You on earth and finished the work that You gave Me to do. Now, Father, give Me, in Your presence, the same glory I had with You before the world began. I have made Your Name known to those You gave Me from the world. They were Yours, and You gave them to Me, and they kept Your word. And now they know that whatever You entrusted to Me, is indeed from You.”

“I have given them the teaching I received from You, and they received it, and know in truth that I came from You; and they believe that You sent Me. I pray for them. I do not pray for the world, but for those who belong to You, and whom You have given to Me. Indeed all I have is Yours and all You have is Mine; and now they are My glory.”

“I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I come to You.”

Sunday, 28 May 2017 : Seventh Sunday of Easter, World Communication Sunday (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
1 Peter 4 : 13-16

Instead, you should be glad to share in the sufferings of Christ because, on the day His Glory is revealed, you will also fully rejoice. You are fortunate if you are insulted because of the Name of Christ, for the Spirit of glory rests on you.

I suppose that none of you should suffer for being a murderer, a thief, a criminal or an informer; but if anyone suffers on account of being a Christian, do not consider it a disgrace; rather let this Name bring glory to God.

Sunday, 28 May 2017 : Seventh Sunday of Easter, World Communication Sunday (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White
Psalm 26 : 1, 4, 7-8a

The Lord is my Light and my Salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the Rampart of my life; I will not be afraid.

One thing I ask of the Lord, one thing I seek – that I may dwell in His house all the days of my life, to gaze at His jewel and to visit His sanctuary.

Hear my voice when I call, o Lord, have mercy on me and answer. My heart says to You, “I seek Your face, o Lord.”

Sunday, 28 May 2017 : Seventh Sunday of Easter, World Communication Sunday (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Acts 1 : 12-14

Then the disciples of Jesus returned to Jerusalem from the Mount called Olives, which is a fifteen minute walk away. On entering the city they went to the room upstairs where they were staying.

Present there were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James, son of Alpheus; Simon the Zealot and Judas son of James. All of these together gave themselves to constant prayer. With them there were some women and also Mary, the mother of Jesus, and His brothers.