Wednesday, 30 April 2014 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of Pope St. Pius V, Pope (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

The Lord loves all those that belong to Him, and He cares deeply for all of them. Brothers and sisters in Christ, that is why with the Lord on our side, we should not fear, for God will guide our way and protect us from harm, as He had done with His Apostles who spread His Good News to the people.

God’s tender mercy and love for us is indeed so great, that in His willingness to save all of us, as we all know from the well-known passage taken from John 3 : 16 as we read in the Gospel today that the Lord so loved the world that He gave us His only Son, that all who believe in Him may not die, but receive life eternal through Him. That is the complete truth about God’s love and dedication for us all His creations.

Jesus indeed came into the world to liberate it from the darkness that had veiled the eyes of the people for a long time, and He came so that the Law can be explained in its fullness, and its purpose revealed, that is first to bring glory to God, and secondly, to bring mankind and all the people of God back into the loving embrace of their Lord and Father.

Jesus did not condemn anyone for their sinfulness and unworthiness, and He instead proclaimed forgiveness for all those who were willing to repent with true sincerity and turned their backs against their past, sinful lives. He did not judge them unless they themselves had refused to listen and accept His presence and teachings in the first place, as what the Pharisees had done with great impunity and stubbornnness.

Jesus our Lord sought out the sinners and the downtrodden, the so-called least and lowest in the societal hierarchy, that is those rejected by the people, marginalised and ostracised. He sought them out with love, that He might bring God’s love and forgiveness to them, and through this, many believed in Him and were profoundly changed, bringing them closer towards salvation.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, that in essence, is the Christian love that all of us should aspire towards, and which we should follow, sharing our love, care and attention especially to those who are marginalised and rejected, whose rights are trampled against, and who are treated unjustly. These people need our help, and if our Lord and God did not hesitate to come and save us all, His people, then we too should not be hesitant to help our brethren in need, in whatever way we can.

There will be many who will be against our good works and our charitable acts, just as many had opposed the Lord when He was in the world and exercised His power to bring light to many. There are many people who still remain in darkness, and sadly, that many prefer to remain in darkness rather than to be welcomed into the light, and this resulted in the opposition that we may face as we go about doing what we are doing.

But do not be disheartened, brothers and sisters, and do not fear, for we have to always remember that the Lord is on our side, and He will guide us and protect us on our way, and He will not abandon us to those who seek our destruction. The Lord loves all peoples, and especially those who had given themselves to His cause and walk in His ways.

Today we celebrate the feast of a saintly Pope, the leader of the Universal Church, that is Pope St. Pius V, who was renowned for his leadership of the Church during a time of division and troubles, when the Church of God was assailed from within and without, and when the Church was truly in dire straits, and the fate of the many souls of the people of God were in true danger.

For Pope St. Pius V lived during a time of particularly difficult era for the Church and Christendom in general, when the powerful Ottoman Empire, the heathen-led unbelievers, assailed the very heart of Christendom, and had risen to be a very powerful, all-conquering and mighty empire with an enormous force of arms. Pope St. Pius V lived at the height of the tumult created by Protestant reformations, when misguided people of God turned their backs against the orthodox and true faith of their fathers in the Church.

Today we celebrate the life and examples of this Pope, who reigned as the leader of the Universal Church and the guide of the barque of St. Peter at this difficult time. Pope St. Pius V and his examples were truly legendary and great, and his sainthood cannot be separated from the fact that he managed to keep the Church and the faithful united strongly together amidst the difficulties and the various forces opposed to the people of the Lord.

He led the efforts to fight back the enemies of the faithful by forming a Holy League composed of those who pledged themselves to the Lord to fight for the people of God and in the end won an astounding and total victory at the Battle of Lepanto, which Pope St. Pius V attributed to the intercession of the Blessed Mother of our Saviour, which day of battle he dedicated to be the feast of our Lady of Victory, now known as the feast of our Lady of the Rosary.

Pope St. Pius V also solidified the Church and the faithful by completing with great faith the reforms of the Council of Trent, designed to purify the faith of all human errors and sinfulness, and changing the Church of God for the better while condemning all the erroneous judgments made by the heretical Protestants who cared more for themselves and for worldly glories rather than the glory of God.

Pope St. Pius V is someone whose dedication to the Lord and His Church we should emulate, in our own lives, that we may be dedicated to the Lord as well, that in all of our actions, we may reflect that we are truly the children of Christ, and the followers and disciples of Christ, proclaiming the love and forgiveness of God wherever we go.

May Almighty God be with us, guide our steps and strengthen us as we embark on this journey of life, that, following the footsteps of Pope St. Pius V we may do good to others and be faithful and dedicated servants of our Lord, defending the orthodox and true faith, keeping it pure from any worldly taint of sin and human desires, that we may be in the end, worthy of His presence and glory. God bless us all. Amen.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of Pope St. Pius V, Pope (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 3 : 16-21

Yes, God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him may not be lost, but may have eternal life. God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world; instead, through Him the world is to be saved. Whoever believes in Him will not be condemned. He who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the Name of the only Son of God.

This is how the Judgment is made : Light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For whoever does wrong hates the light, and does not come to the light, for fear that his deeds will be seen as evil. But whoever lives according to the truth comes into the light, so that it can be clearly seen that his works have been done in God.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of Pope St. Pius V, Pope (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 33 : 2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

I will bless the Lord all my days, His praise will be ever on my lips. My soul makes it boast in the Lord; let the lowly hear and rejoice.

Oh, let us magnify the Lord, together let us glorify His Name! I sought the Lord, and He answered me; from all my fears He delivered me.

They who look to Him are radiant with joy, their faces never clouded with shame. When the poor cry out, the Lord hears and saves them from distress.

The Lord’s angel encamps and patrols to keep safe those who fear Him. Oh, see and taste the goodness of the Lord! Blessed is the one who finds shelter in Him!

Wednesday, 30 April 2014 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of Pope St. Pius V, Pope (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 5 : 17-26

The High Priest and all his supporters, that is the party of the Sadducees, became very jealous of the Apostles; so they arrested them and had them thrown into the public jail. But an angel of the Lord opened the door of the prison during the night, brought them out, and said to them, “Go and stand in the Temple court and tell the people the whole of this living message.”

Accordingly they entered the Temple at dawn and resumed their teaching. When the High Priest and his supporters arrived, they called together the Sanhedrin, that is the full Council of the elders of Israel. They sent word to the jail to have the prisoners brought in.

But when the Temple guards arrived at the jail, they did not find them inside, so they returned with the news, “We found the prison securely locked and the prison guards at their post outside the gate, but when we opened the gate, we found no one inside.”

Upon hearing these words, the captain of the Temple guard and the high priests were baffled, wondering where all of this would end. Just then someone arrived with the report, “Look, those men whom you put in prison are standing in the Temple, teaching the people.”

Then the captain went off with the guards and brought them back, but without any show of force, for fear of being stoned by the people.