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.

Wednesday, 21 April 2021 : 3rd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Anselm, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scripture we are called to reflect on them and think of our calling as Christians in proclaiming the truth of God in the midst of our respective communities, and we are reminded that we are God’s beloved ones, God’s chosen ones, that He has called to be His witnesses towards those who have not yet known Him, to bring forth all those whom God had called to Him.

As Christians, it is our responsibility, our duty and obligation to reach out to our fellow brethren, to those who have not yet known the truth about God. We are all called to reach out to those who are still living in ignorance or in exclusion from God. And we are all called to be God’s faithful witnesses through our lives, by our every words, actions and deeds that we may indeed show what our Christian faith is truly all about. It means that we ourselves have to be genuine in our Christian living and must have true love for God in order to do so.

We are preaching about Christ, Our Lord and Saviour, the Bread of Life, Whom we heard in our Gospel passage today in the continuation of the Bread of Life discourse, revealing more and more about Himself to the people, that He is the Holy One of God, sent into the world to save us all. By the offering, breaking and shedding of His own Most Precious Body and Blood, He would bring the salvation of God to all, and gather everyone to Himself. The Lord loved us so much that He did all this, through His most loving sacrifice on the Cross.

All of us as His followers, as those who believe in Him are those who are charged with the continuation of His works, His most loving ministry, reaching out to everyone in need of His light and truth. All of us God’s followers are called to follow His examples in showing the light of His love to all the peoples, to be walking in the footsteps of the Apostles, like St. Philip who went about in Samaria and other places, speaking the truth of God and who eventually later on, would encounter an official from Ethiopia, whom he evangelised to and managed to convince to be baptised.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we gather together celebrating the continued joy of Easter, let us all remind ourselves of our Christian calling and obligation, to be part of the efforts of the Church to be witnesses of our Lord and His Resurrection, to all the peoples of all the nations. We have been called to be these witnesses, through our own lives and actions, that everyone who sees us, hears us, and witnesses our actions may also come to believe in the Lord through us, and be inspired to follow Him and walk in His path following our own examples.

That is why, today all of us should be inspired by the good examples set by St. Anselm, whose feast day we are celebrating this day. St. Anselm was the Archbishop of Canterbury during the Middle Ages renowned and remembered for his piety, faith and dedication to the mission entrusted to him, in which he helped to steer the Church through difficult and turbulent times, having to endure challenges and even opposition from the kings of England, who wanted to bring the Church under their control. St. Anselm resisted those efforts and helped to keep the Church faithful and true to its missions.

He was remembered for his great piety and faith throughout his as a monk and later on as abbot for many years, before he was chosen to be the Archbishop of Canterbury, the principal Archbishop in England and the leader of the English Church. The king desired control over the Church lands and influences, and therefore came into conflict with St. Anselm and the other prelates. While initially reluctant to take up the position as Archbishop of Canterbury, St. Anselm dedicated himself later on to pursue the reforms of the Church, the works of evangelisation and the freedom of the Church from secular control and influences.

All these brought him many sufferings and trials, having to endure not once but twice exile from England, while he continued to faithfully serve the Lord and His people over all those years of his service as Archbishop and leader of the faithful. He remained firm to his convictions to the end, and his faith and dedication inspired many people in the following centuries right up to this very day. Are we ourselves inspired by the examples and the faith of St. Anselm, brothers and sisters in Christ?

Let us all seek the Lord therefore with a renewed conviction and desire to love Him with all our heart and with all of our strength just as showed by the Apostles, the holy saints and martyrs, especially St. Anselm, whose memory we recall today. Let us all glorify the Lord by our lives and let us be great witnesses of Our Lord in the midst of our families, our communities and among all those whom we encounter each day in life. Amen.

Wednesday, 21 April 2021 : 3rd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Anselm, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 6 : 35-40

At that time, Jesus said to the people, “I am the Bread of Life; whoever comes to Me shall never be hungry, and whoever believes in Me shall never be thirsty. Nevertheless, as I said, you refuse to believe, even when you have seen. Yet all those whom the Father gives Me will come to Me, and whoever comes to Me, I shall not turn away. For I have come from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of the One Who sent Me.”

“And the will of Him Who sent Me is that I lose nothing of what He has given Me, but instead that I raise it up on the last day. This is the will of the Father, that whoever sees the Son and believes in Him shall live eternal life; and I will raise him up on the last day.”

Wednesday, 21 April 2021 : 3rd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Anselm, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 65 : 1-3a, 4-5, 6-7a

Shout with joy to God, all you on earth; sing to the glory of His Name; proclaim His glorious praise. Say to God, “How great are Your deeds!”

All the earth bows down to You, making music, in praise of You, singing in honour of Your Name. Come, and see God’s wonders; His deeds, awesome for humans.

He has turned the sea into dry land, and the river was crossed on foot. Let us, therefore, rejoice in Him. He rules by His might forever.

Wednesday, 21 April 2021 : 3rd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Anselm, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 8 : 1b-8

This was the beginning of a great persecution against the Church in Jerusalem. All, except the Apostles, were scattered throughout the region of Judea and Samaria. Devout men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. Saul, meanwhile, was trying to destroy the Church. He entered house after house and dragged off men and women, and had them put in jail.

At the same time, those who were scattered went about, preaching the word. Philip went down to a town of Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there. All the people paid close attention to what Philip said as they listened to him, and saw the miraculous signs that he did. For, in cases of possession, the unclean spirits came out shrieking loudly. Many people who were paralysed or crippled, were healed. So there was great joy in the town.

Tuesday, 20 April 2021 : 3rd Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we heard the words of the Lord in the Scriptures, we are called to put our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour, the Bread of Life and Son of God, Who has willingly offered Himself and gave Himself for us, to be the sustenance and the providence through which He shared with us the grace of new life blessed and provided for by His love. All of us have been guaranteed a share of this divine grace and love, and what we need to do is to accept Him fully as Our Lord and Saviour.

However, as we heard in our Scripture passages today, this is much easier said than done. There are many who still refuse to believe in the Lord or to embrace Him fully, and there were many who had even persecuted those who believed in the Lord. As we heard in the persecution and martyrdom of St. Stephen in our first reading today taken from the Acts of the Apostles that the Sanhedrin and many of its members who opposed the works of the Apostles condemned St. Stephen to death and stoned him just as they had earlier on condemned the Lord Himself to death.

Even as St. Stephen spoke most eloquently and wonderfully with the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and even as his arguments and words were most convincing and unrefuteable, those who opposed him still hardened their hearts and closed off their mind, blatantly closing off their ears and covering them to shut the words of St. Stephen, charging at him and stoned him to death. Their pride and ego prevented them from seeing the truth of God.

It was a similar attitude showed by the people whom the Lord spoke to in our Gospel passage today. They showed doubt and refusal to believe that the Lord is the Bread of Life when He spoke to them referring to Himself as that. Contextually, the Lord had just fed the multitudes of over five thousand men and thousands of others who were gathered miraculously with only five loaves of bread and two fishes. He revealed Himself as the Bread of Life to pre-empt and show what He would do for the salvation of all.

But the people still doubted and refused to believe that this Man could have fed them, especially with His own Flesh and Body as He mentioned. And in the end, after the events mentioned in today’s Gospel, many of those who followed the Lord initially left Him and abandoned Him. They could not take the hard truth and reality that He has revealed to them, and chose to walk away from that truth. It was no surprise therefore that St. Stephen faced the same issues and problems when he spoke of the same truth to the people gathered against Him.

This is why as Christians, all of us are reminded that it is often our faith will bring us into contradiction and opposition against the world, and what we may face along the way, may indeed be discouraging for us and hard for us to accept. Yet, that is the reality of our Christian faith and what we have been called to do as those who have accepted the Lord Jesus as our Lord, our Master and our Saviour. We are all called to be His faithful disciples, and to be His witnesses in our daily living, that we may, through our words, actions and deeds truly proclaim that the Lord Jesus is the Messiah, the Saviour of the world.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, are we willing and able to follow in the footsteps of the Apostles, the saints and martyrs, like that of St. Stephen who had devoted himself thoroughly to even suffer and die for the Lord’s sake? As Christians, we are yet again reminded that we cannot remain idle in our faith, but instead our faith must be one of giving, the generous giving of ourselves in reaching out to all those who hunger for the truth of God, and as the beacons of the light of God to those who are still living in the darkness, that through the light we bring forth, we may illuminate the path for many on their way to God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all pray that God will guide and strengthen us all with faith, and with the courage so that we may embark ever more faithfully and courageously to live our lives at each and every moments as devout and committed Christians, so that as far as possible, our every actions and our very lives will proclaim God’s truth and show that we are truly God’s children, His beloved and chosen people. May the Lord bless us and our many good works, that through us, He may bring His light and salvation to more and even more people, our fellow brothers and sisters. Amen.

Tuesday, 20 April 2021 : 3rd Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 6 : 30-35

At that time, the Jews said to Jesus, “Show us miraculous signs, that we may see and believe You. What sign do You perform? Our ancestors ate manna in the desert; as Scripture says : They were given bread from heaven to eat.”

Jesus then said to them, “Truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven. My Father gives you the true Bread from heaven. The Bread God gives is the One Who comes from heaven and gives life to the world.” And they said to Him, “Give us this bread always.”

Jesus said to them, “I am the Bread of Life; whoever comes to Me shall never be hungry, and whoever believes in Me shall never be thirsty.”

Tuesday, 20 April 2021 : 3rd Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 30 : 3cd-4, 6ab and 7b-8a, 17 and 21ab

Be a Rock of refuge for me, a Fortress for my safety. For You are my Rock and my Stronghold, lead me for Your Name’s sake.

Into Your hands I commend my spirit; but I put all my trust in the Lord. I will rejoice and be glad in Your love, for You have seen my affliction.

Make Your face shine upon Your servant; save me in Your love. In the shelter of Your presence You hide them from human wiles; You keep them in Your dwelling.