Tuesday, 30 April 2019 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of Pope St. Pius V, Pope (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the Scripture passages reminding each and every one of us of the things that all of us have to do in our respective lives as Christians, that is as members of our one Church community, the community of the Body of Christ. All of us share this same faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, Whom has revealed before Nicodemus the faithful Pharisee, what He would do for the sake of all mankind, in our Gospel passage today.

The Lord revealed the all powerful and all enduring love of God for us all mankind, that although each and every one of us have sinned and rebelled against Him, but God still ‘so loved the world’, that He sent us all a Saviour, in the form of His own Beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Himself, so that through Him all may have the new hope of eternal life and redemption via the salvation He has brought into this world.

And He also revealed how He would do this by being lifted up high like that of the moment when the bronze serpent of Moses was lifted up in the desert. In that instance, the people of Israel during their Exodus from Egypt and the journey towards the Promised Land refused to believe in God and rebelled against Him. As a result, God sent fiery serpents that bit many among them and many died because of those serpents.

When the people repented and begged God for forgiveness, God showed His love, compassion and mercy by asking Moses to make an image of the serpent in bronze and mounting it up on a tall staff, so that everyone who has been bitten by the serpents and saw the bronze serpent would not die but live. God did this as a prefigurement of what He would Himself do, for the salvation of all mankind, through Jesus, Our Lord.

For the Lord was also lifted up high on the Cross, bearing all of our sins and faults which should have been our undoing and destruction. He gathered all of them upon Himself and suffered for our sake, so that by His suffering and death, He may release us and free us from the bondage to sin and therefore from our fated death and destruction. And He has willingly borne all of these, all the agony, pain and suffering out of His love for each and every one of us.

It is exactly this love which the Apostles and the other followers of the Lord imitated in their own lives, which is also in accordance with what He Himself commanded His disciples to do, that is to love one another as they love themselves, and to love each other and to serve one another, just in the same way as the Lord has loved them and served them. That is why in our first reading today, we heard of how the very earliest Christian communities lived, loving and caring for the needs of others, and sharing the blessings that God has given them.

But unfortunately many of us Christians today do not live in this manner. In fact, we are often so busy and so distracted by the many temptations of the world, of the temptations of money, of worldly pleasures, power, ambition and desire, that we often acted selfishly towards one another, caring only about ourselves and our own selfish desires, often even causing hurt and pain, suffering and unhappiness among us in our Christian communities.

That is why, today all of us are called to take a step back and reflect on our own lives and in particular, how we have lived our lives thus far. Have we truly been faithful to God and been good Christians in our words, actions or deeds? Or are we like those hypocrites who profess to have faith in God and yet have no love for God and love for our fellow men in us? And we should also look upon the good examples shown by our holy predecessors, especially our saint today, Pope St. Pius V.

Pope St. Pius V was remembered for his piety and dedication to the Lord, especially in his great leadership of the Church that was then battered with many challenges and oppositions both from outside and from inside the Church, with the reformation heresies and falsehoods tearing the unity of the Church apart and external enemies threatening to destroy the entire Christendom. He successfully concluded the great Council of Trent, which reformed the Church practices and enforced discipline.

The holy Pope and saint devoted his life and ministry to purify the excesses and wickedness that have crept into the Church at the time, while labouring hard to overcome the many issues and challenges that the Church had to endure at the time. Pope St. Pius V dedicated himself to love the people of God just as how God Himself loved us so much, that He went through all the troubles and pains, all the sufferings and the agony just so that He can bring to us His salvation and the eternal life He promised us.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, following the examples of this holy saint and servant of God, and also imitating the good examples of the early Christian communities, let us all be more faithful and loving towards God and to our fellow men. Let us all be inspiration and examples for each other, so that many more people may come to believe through us and our examples in life. May God be with us all, and may He bless us all in our good works for His sake. Amen.

Tuesday, 30 April 2019 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of Pope St. Pius V, Pope (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 3 : 7b-15

Jesus said to Nicodemus, “You must be born again from above. The wind blows where it pleases and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. It is like that with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Nicodemus asked again, “How can this be?” And Jesus answered, “You are a teacher in Israel, and you do not know these things! Truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and we witness to the things we have seen, but you do not accept Our testimony. If you do not believe when I speak of earthly things, what then, when I speak to you of heavenly things? No one has ever gone up to heaven except the One Who came from heaven, the Son of Man.”

“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life.”

Tuesday, 30 April 2019 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of Pope St. Pius V, Pope (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 92 : 1ab, 1c-2, 5

YHVH reigns, robed in majesty; YHVH is girded with strength.

The world now, is firm; it cannot be moved. Your throne stands from long ago, o YHVH; from all eternity You are.

Your decrees can be trusted; holiness dwells in Your House, day after day, without end, o YHVH.

Tuesday, 30 April 2019 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of Pope St. Pius V, Pope (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 4 : 32-37

The whole community of believers was one in heart and mind. No one claimed private ownership of any possessions; but rather, they shared all things in common. With great power, the Apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, for all of them were living in an exceptional time of grace.

There was no needy person among them, for those who owned land or houses, sold them and brought the proceeds of the sale. And they laid it at the feet of the Apostles, who distributed it, according to each one’s need. This is what a certain Joseph did. He was a Levite from Cyprus, whom the Apostles called Barnabas, meaning : “The encouraging one.” He sold a field which he owned and handed the money to the Apostles.

Monday, 30 April 2018 : 5th Week of Easter, Memorial of Pope St. Pius V, Pope (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we continue to hear the discourse of the works of the Apostles from our first reading, which for the duration of Easter is taken from the Book of the Acts of the Apostles. In that, we heard how St. Paul and St. Barnabas went to the mostly Greek population of the Eastern Mediterranean cities, preaching about the Lord and His salvation.

But the people misunderstood their teachings and the miracles they performed before the people of the city. Many of them thought that the Greek gods such as Zeus and Hercules themselves have descended down to earth and graced them with their presence. This was how the gods in the Greek mythology often behaved, and the people thought that St. Paul and St. Barnabas were indeed, gods.

That was why they brought sacrifices and offerings before them, as if they were gods, and worshipped them. The two Apostles were enraged at what they had seen, and they indignantly stood up for their faith before those who misunderstood their intentions. They rebuked the people by saying that they were man and mortals just as they were, and not gods as they thought those two were.

Nonetheless, the people still misunderstood the intentions of the Apostles, and later on, upon the instigation of some of the enemies of the Lord, the people would rise up against them and struck at the two Apostles, leaving them almost dead. But God was with His faithful servants, and they continued on their mission work, travelling from place to place to preach about the one and true God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, if we look more closely upon what the two Apostles had done, they truly remained faithful to their Lord and Master, despite what must have been a great temptation to be adored and praised, more so as a living god who came amongst the people. Who would not be tempted by such a situation? Surely everyone would be tempted. However, the two faithful servants resisted the temptations.

Many of the people refused to believe in the teachings of the Apostles because they were stubborn, thinking that their way of life and their intellect are superior to whatever the Lord has brought them through His Apostles and disciples. That was why many of the pagans stubbornly refused to listen to St. Paul and St. Barnabas, because they refused to let them to show them the way to the truth, and they preferred to remain as they were, living in ignorance and sin.

That was why many of the Jewish people and their leaders were also stubborn in their opposition against the Lord and His disciples. That was because of their pride and stubborn minds and hearts, which refused to let the Lord’s truth to enter and make its works among them. They shut the doors of their hearts and minds tight against the teachings of the Lord and against the words of the disciples, persecuting the Church in the process.

Yet, the Lord never ceases His efforts to reconcile these people, by sending them one after another, messengers and disciples to call them to repentance, from the time of the Apostles to our present day. Such was His great love for us sinners, that He wants each one of us to be reconciled to Him. One of such great servants was Pope St. Pius V, one of the great and holy successors of St. Peter, who presided over a period of great reform in the Church, completing the Council of Trent, which removed sinful practices and excesses from the Church.

Pope St. Pius V reigned as the Supreme Pontiff and the Vicar of Christ for the entire Church at a particularly difficult time when the Church was assaulted from both the inside and from outside. From inside, corruptions and wickedness have pervaded among the clergy for many years and decades prior to the reform, and these were stamped out by the reforms of the Council of Trent, which Pope St. Pius V courageously enforced strongly.

From the outside, the Church was assaulted by the forces of the protestant heresy, which threatened the souls of many of the faithful, as well as by the forces of the pagan Turks, attacking the Church and Christendom from the east. But Pope St. Pius V worked hard to coordinate an effort to counter all these threats, sending out many missionaries especially the Jesuits to counter the heresy of the so-called ‘reformation’, and assembling a great alliance to fight the forces of the Turks, that eventually triumphed.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the examples of the saints and the Apostles, and also the courage and faith of Pope St. Pius V should have also inspired each and every one of us as Christians to be fully devoted to God. Let us all do whatever we can in our actions, and do our best to preach the Good News and the truth of God to our fellow brothers and sisters. Indeed, there will be challenges as we have seen what happened to the Apostles, but remember, if we do nothing, then they will fall into damnation.

May the Lord be with us all, that we may be more courageous and faithful as true and living Christians, filled with the Holy Spirit in all of our actions and deeds. May the Lord bless us all, and all of our endeavours, now and always. Amen.

Monday, 30 April 2018 : 5th Week of Easter, Memorial of Pope St. Pius V, Pope (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 14 : 21-26

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Whoever keeps My commandments is the one who loves Me. If he loves Me, he will also be loved by My Father; I too shall love him and show Myself clearly to him.”

Judas – not Judas Iscariot – asked Jesus, “Lord, how can it be that You will show Yourself clearly to us and not to the world!” Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word and My Father will love him; and We will come to him and make a room in his home.”

“But if anyone does not love Me, he will not keep My words; and these words that you hear are not Mine, but the Father’s Who sent Me. I told you all this while I was still with you. From now on the Helper, the Holy Spirit Whom the Father will send in My Name, will teach you all things, and remind you of all that I have told you.”

Monday, 30 April 2018 : 5th Week of Easter, Memorial of Pope St. Pius V, Pope (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 113B : 1-2, 3-4, 15-16

Not to us, o Lord, not to us, but to Your Name be the glory, for the sake of Your love and faithfulness. Why should the pagans say, “Where is their God?”

There in heaven is our God; whatever He wishes, He does. Not so the hand-made idols, crafted in silver and gold.

May you be blessed by the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth. Heaven belongs to the Lord, but the earth He has given to humans.