Saturday, 10 April 2021 : Saturday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures we are called to be courageous in proclaiming our faith and the truth about the Lord and His Resurrection, His salvation and glory in the midst of our communities, among the communities and the peoples we are living with in this world, to be genuine Christians in all of our words, actions and deeds. We have to be faithful in the mission which God has entrusted to us all, His Church.

In our first reading today we heard the consternation and disbelief among the members of the Sanhedrin during the time when they took in the Apostles St. Peter and St. John for questioning, when they were interrogated for their activities. The Sanhedrin were surprised and amazed that the Lord Jesus and His works continued even after His death, as they likely believed that they had gotten rid of Him once and for all. And the great wisdom and courage showed by the two Apostles greatly unsettled them.

That the Apostles spoke courageously of the salvation of God that had come through Christ, recently crucified and handed over by the Sanhedrin to the Romans, and proclaimed as risen from the dead angered quite a few of the Sanhedrin members who were more hardline in their beliefs and opposition against the Lord, but the more moderate members cautioned violence and hardhanded actions against the followers of the Lord.

As such, the Apostles were released with just a stern warning that they were not to continue preaching in the Name of the Lord or continue their mission. But certainly, as we have seen, the Apostles refused to obey such a human order, and instead, continued to preach the truth of the Lord, proclaim His Resurrection and way to all the people, the Jews and the Gentiles alike without fear. They persevered through the challenges and trials, the persecutions and oppositions they faced, and remained true to the mission entrusted to them by God.

It is that same mission which we have heard in our Gospel passage today that the disciples and followers of the Lord had dedicated themselves to, following God with all of their strength to proclaim His Good News to the nations, as the Lord Himself commanded them all to “Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News to all creation.” Through this commandment, the Lord has sent all of His followers to be missionaries of the faith, and the witnesses to His truth to all the people, calling more and more to Himself.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, it is the same mission that we have been entrusted with, as members of the Church and through our common baptism, by which we have been made sharers in the same mission of the Lord, to reach out and evangelise the many peoples of the world, of all the nations, and to be witnesses of the Lord’s truth and Resurrection. And the works of the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord were far from done, as there are indeed still so many opportunities and avenues through which more and more can be saved.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, are we willing to contribute to this calling and mission we have? Are we willing to spend the time and effort to be true disciples of the Lord, that is not just in name or formality only, but also through real action and works? This is what we have been constantly reminded through this Easter season thus far, to be the living Church, continuing the works of the Apostles in our present day world and communities. As Christians, we have to be active in living our faith and be good role models and examples for our fellow brethren.

Let us all therefore do whatever we can, in whatever little and small things we can do each day, to reach out to our fellow brethren and be ever more committed to serve the Lord through our actions, through our charitable deeds and real, genuine concern for our fellow brothers and sisters. We are all called to be generous in our love and in our outreach, that more and more may come to know of God and His love through us, so that many more souls may come to repentance and reconciliation with Him, and thus be worthy to enter into eternal life and glory.

May God bless all of our efforts and endeavours, and may He, Our Risen Lord and Saviour, help us all to remain firm in faith and to be strong and courageous just as He has strengthened His Apostles and disciples to speak up and stand up for their faith before the Sanhedrin and those who doubted and oppressed them. Be with us, Lord, always, now and forevermore. Amen.

Friday, 9 April 2021 : Friday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard the continuation of the accounts of the Lord’s Resurrection and the early activities of the Apostles in spreading the faith in Jerusalem. In our first reading we heard how the members of the Sanhedrin brought St. Peter and St. John for questioning after they healed a paralytic man at the Temple gate and preached to the people who were gathered. Meanwhile, in our Gospel today we heard the appearance of the Risen Lord to His disciples at the Lake of Galilee not long after His resurrection from the dead.

In our first reading today, we heard of the Sanhedrin or the Jewish High Council, the influential and powerful members of the community questioning St. Peter and St. John for what they had done in healing the paralytic man. Based on what they were asking the Apostles, essentially they were surprised and amazed that the two Apostles could have done what was deemed impossible. Certainly those Sanhedrin members would have recognised the paralysed man who had been by the Temple gate for so many decades.

Yet, they were dumbfounded because they must have thought that since they managed to kill Jesus by condemning Him to death through the Romans, that they had eliminated this rival to their power, influence and authority. They could not believe that His Name was still being spoken and preached around, and even more so, that miracles could happen through His Name and power. That was because they sincerely believed that Jesus was a false Messiah.

And they were even more dumbfounded because they knew many of the disciples and followers of the Lord were mere ordinary people who were mostly uneducated except for a few, and St. Peter and St. John being formerly fishermen from Galilee were among the uneducated ones. Yet, they were able to speak with such eloquence, wisdom and passion, and perform such miracles, that the Sanhedrin were stunned by what they had done in the Lord’s Name.

They were all doing what the Lord had called them to do, as they obeyed His commandments and calling to reach out to the peoples of the nations, and proclaim to them all the Good News of His salvation, and call all of them to be reconciled with Him and to embrace His truth. That was what we heard in our Gospel today as well, symbolically presented in the occasion when the Lord appeared to His disciples in Galilee for the first time.

Today, in the Gospel passage, we heard of the Lord Jesus appearing to the disciples just as they were fishing in the lake of Galilee, having followed His instructions to go to Galilee where they would meet Him. They went to fish and could not gain anything over the entire night. Then, when the Lord came before them on the shore, He told them to cast their nets and immediately there were so many fishes that the boats were almost sunk by the amount of fishes that they managed to catch. It was then that they recognised the Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in that story, we heard a very symbolic representation of what the Lord called His disciples to do. First of all, Galilee itself at that time was at the periphery and edge of the Jewish world and community, a place very distant from Jerusalem and Judea, and which was dismissed by the Sanhedrin who said that no one worth of note, nor the Messiah would have come from there. There were many Gentiles living there together with the Jewish populations in Galilee.

Therefore, by being called to Galilee by the Lord, it was representative of the Lord sending out His disciples to go forth to not just the Jewish people but also to the Gentiles, or the non-Jewish people, and to spread the truth and salvation in Christ to all of them, without exception. The symbolism of the boat and the fishes is also very powerful, as the boat where the disciples were on, is the Church of God, often represented as a ship or boat, in which the many fishes, each of them represent the peoples of the various nations.

It was at that same place that the Lord Himself called the disciples, to be the fishers of men. It was thus that the Lord reiterated that calling and mission which He then entrusted to all of His disciples and followers, sending them all to reach out into the deep waters, and to cast their nets so that more and more people may come to know the Lord and be saved, and this is the same mission which He has entrusted to all of us as Christians, as parts and members of the Church, sharing in the same mission He has commanded on all of us to do.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all be courageous in faith and in carrying out the ministry entrusted to each and every one of us as parts of God’s living Church. Let us all turn towards God with faith and commit ourselves to Him with renewed zeal that we may be ever more committed to live our lives from now on with sincere desire to serve Him in our respective communities, reaching out to those who are in need of us and our help, and showing them the love of God, that they too may come to believe in Him.

Are we willing and able to commit ourselves to the Lord’s calling, brothers and sisters in Christ? Let us all do this, and let us all contribute in whatever little ways we can, in our own ways, among our communities, families and relatives, circles of friends and others we encounter in life. May God, our Risen Lord and Saviour be with all of us, and may He bless us all and our every good works and endeavours. Amen.

Thursday, 8 April 2021 : Thursday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we listened to the words of the Scripture telling us about the fulfilment of God’s promises through Christ, His Son, Our Lord and Saviour, through Whom God willed to reconcile us all to Himself, by Christ’s most selfless and loving sacrifice on the Cross, and by His Resurrection. All the prophets and the promises that God had made, pointed at Christ and what He would do for the salvation of all mankind.

In our first reading today, we heard of the continuation of the testimony of faith made by St. Peter and St. John before the people who were assembled seeing the great miracle that happened to a paralytic man healed from his condition after being sick for so many years. And St. Peter spoke of how it was through Christ, the Saviour Who had then just been recently crucified, that the Apostles had healed the paralysed man, and made him whole again.

St. Peter reminded the people that the Lord had promised all that had happened, through His prophets and messengers, from the days of Moses and even earlier, as God promised Abraham, their forefather. All that God had promised would come true in Jesus Christ, Who had brought the truth about the salvation of God to the midst of His people, and Whom, through His crucifixion, His suffering and death on the Cross, and finally the Resurrection, brought all mankind to the promise of eternal life.

We need to understand that it was this same people who had been in Jerusalem and witnessed everything that happened during the Lord’s Passion, His crucifixion and death. And while the Apostles and many of the disciples themselves had seen the Risen Lord, and many others had witnessed the occurrences on the Sunday of the Resurrection, when tombs were opened and many souls of the faithful came forth, risen with the Lord, but many among them did not yet know what had truly happened.

Therefore, St. Peter and the other Apostles, with the early Christian communities proclaimed the truth of what they had witnessed and known before all the people, to reveal to them the truth of God and His salvation. They did not have it easy as they often encountered a lot of opposition and challenges, and yet, they continued to persevere and reached out to others with the same truth because they themselves had seen the Lord as we heard in our Gospel today, of the moment when the Risen Lord Himself appeared in the flesh before them.

Had the Resurrection been false, those Apostles and disciples of the Lord would not have wanted to do so much for a lost cause, and they would have been disbanded and scattered, just as what happened to the other false Messiahs that had come up at that time. Instead, the early Christian Church grew and grew even stronger despite the challenges and persecutions it received. And with the many martyrs, more and more became inspired to follow the Lord rather than to abandon Him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as the Lord Himself said in today’s Gospel passage that the disciples were witnesses to everything that had happened, we too have a share of this truth by what we have received from the Church, the sacred tradition and faith that came to us from the Apostles themselves, preserved unchanged for the past two millennia. The Lord had entrusted to us, His Church to be His witnesses in the world today, to proclaim His truth among the nations, to reach out to those who have not yet known the truth.

Are we willing and able to commit ourselves to this cause, brothers and sisters in Christ? This is our calling, as Christians, to each and every one of us. We are all called to be good witnesses of our Lord’s truth and Resurrection in our respective communities, and as such, we should be good role models and examples for our fellow men and women, and through our actions, words and deeds grounded in our Christian faith, we should be the shining beacons of truth to all others.

Let us all as we journey through this season of Easter be renewed in our commitment to the Lord and be more willing to do our best to serve the Lord for His greater glory. Let us all be true to our calling as Christians and dedicate ourselves ever more to God, from now on. May God bless us all and our every endeavours, now and always. Amen.

Wednesday, 7 April 2021 : Wednesday within Easter Octave (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 reminded of the Lord’s Resurrection, and the healing and hope which His Resurrection has brought upon us. He has restored hope to us and bring healing into this world, and His work continues even after His Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven. As we heard in our Scripture readings today, the Lord’s works continued through His Apostles and His Church.

In our first reading today, we heard of the miraculous healing of the disabled and paralytic man who had been suffering for long by the Beauty Gate of the Temple of Jerusalem. The Apostles St. Peter and St. John were there and they helped the man, healing him by the power of God and with the Name of the Lord through the authority that had been given to them. The paralytic man was healed and praising God, many people who witnessed the act came to believe in the Lord, and the two Apostles themselves spoke of the Lord’s providence through Christ, His Son, Our Saviour.

In the Gospel passage today, we heard of the moment when the two disciples of the Lord who were on their way to the village of Emmaus just outside of Jerusalem encountered the Lord on their way. At that time, it was just after the Lord had been crucified and then Risen from the dead, but many among the disciples had not known about the Resurrection just yet. Thus, as they walked away from Jerusalem, they were weighed down with sorrow and regret for the Lord’s fate, rejected by His own people and crucified, died a criminal and humiliated.

But the Risen Lord came to them and told them that it was the fate of the Saviour to suffer and to be the One to bear the faults and sins of the world, and to die for the sake of all the people. He strengthened them and rekindled the courage in them through His words and teachings, and He revealed to them in the end, that He Who had been talking with them was none other than the Risen Lord Himself. And we heard then of how those two disciples immediately went all the way back to Jerusalem to tell the other disciples of what they had just seen and experienced.

As we listened to these readings from the Scriptures, we are reminded that this is what we have been called as Christians to do, to continue the good works of the Lord in the midst of our respective communities, in our communities, within our circles of friends and acquaintances, and definitely, within our own families and among our relatives. We are all called to be genuine Christians in faith, in words, deeds and actions, and not just being Christians in name only.

In this Easter season and beyond, we should make good use of the time and opportunities given to us to reach out to our fellow brethren, to those who have not been blessed by the light and hope in our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. We have been given this faith and all of the talents and abilities, all the blessings so that each and every one of us we may contribute our parts as the members of the Church to be the witnesses and the bearers of the truth of God.

Are we willing and able to commit ourselves, our time and efforts, and our concentration to be the bearers of our Christian faith and truth? Are we able to follow in the footsteps of the Apostles, who faithfully proclaimed the Lord despite the challenges, trials and opposition they encountered throughout their journey? Do we reflect our faith in our every single actions and deeds too? This is what we have been challenged to do as those whom the Lord had called and chosen to be His own beloved ones, His people.

During this time of great darkness and plenty of trials and difficulties, let us all reach out to our fellow men and women, and if we have been blessed with more, let us spare even a little to help others who are in need, taking care of the poor and the needy, and being there for those who are lonely and without help. Let us also take good care of our fellow family members, our friends and even those whom we encounter in life, in our workplaces, schools and more.

May the Lord continue to guide and strengthen us, and may He give us all the courage to remain faithful to Him, to be a people filled with genuine love for God and full of Easter joy, that we may always be ever closer to God, centred on Him and be encouraged to live a genuine Christian life, from now onwards of we have not done so earlier on. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

Tuesday, 6 April 2021 : Tuesday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, as we continue to progress through this week in the Easter Octave, we continue to hear the works of the Apostles and the events that happened surrounding those earliest moments in the history of the Church as first we heard about St. Peter the Apostle preaching to the people about the Risen Lord and the truth that He had brought into this world. And then, we heard of the encounter between Mary Magdalene and the Risen Lord, as He appeared before her right after His Resurrection.

In that first reading today, we heard how the Holy Spirit inspired testimony of faith by St. Peter stirred and touched so many among the people who listened to him and the other Apostles that at least three thousands among them chose to give themselves to be baptised, the event that marked the birth of the Church, the advent of the new Christian community blessed and guided by the Lord, as more and more people from then on would come to believe in the Lord and turn towards Him.

All these happened despite the challenges and trials that they had to face, the opposition they encountered from the Pharisees, the chief priests and many of the members of the Sanhedrin, who were opposed to the Lord Jesus and His teachings. They remained firm in their dedication and faith in the Lord, with the desire to serve Him faithfully and courageously even when faced with many problems, and as St. Stephen showed us all, even martyrdom and death for standing up for the Lord and His truth.

They proclaimed the same truth that Mary Magdalene had seen in the place where the Lord was buried, as detailed in our Gospel passage today. The Risen Lord made an appearance to Mary Magdalene who was sorrowful that the Body of the Lord could not be found. Initially she could not recognise Him, but then the Lord opened her eyes and she found out the truth of the Lord’s Resurrection.

Imagine Mary’s joy when she saw the Lord again and knew that He is alive. She went to the other disciples and told them about the Resurrection with great joy, which in a short moment was proven as the Lord Himself appeared to the disciples in several occasions. And that these faithful disciples of the Lord had seen Him risen in the flesh, they joyfully proclaimed His resurrection, His truth and teachings, despite the persecution they faced in so many occasions.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us may not have seen the Risen Lord Himself in the flesh, but as what many of those early disciples had done, in suffering and enduring many persecutions for the truth, we know that whatever we have received in faith through the Church is indeed true, and those faithful disciples and martyrs endured so many things because they truly have witnessed the truth and suffered because of the truth, and they were glad to be able to suffer for the Lord.

And now, as we journey together through this season and time of Easter, we really should consider how we should live up to our Christian calling and life, in the footsteps of the disciples and followers of the Lord. As Christians, it is our calling and vocation to reach out to our fellow brothers and sisters, and we are called to be the living testimony of faith and of our Lord’s Resurrection just as St. Peter had done. There are still yet so many people out there who had not yet known the Lord, and it is up to us to bring the light of God’s truth to them.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all spend our time and effort from now on to follow the Lord and to be His faithful witnesses through our every actions, through our dedication to His truth that in our every interactions with each other, we will always glorify His Name, and reveal Him to all those whom we encounter and interact with in life. May the Lord be with us all, and may He, Our Risen Lord be our source of strength and may He give us the courage to remain faithful to Him. Amen.

Monday, 5 April 2021 : Monday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we enter into the weekdays of Easter Octave, we listened to the words of the Lord speaking to us regarding the matter how the Apostles and the disciples were trying their best to proclaim the Lord and His truth, especially with regards to His glorious Resurrection among the people, beginning with the testimony made by St. Peter the Apostle before the whole assembly of the people, and then also what had happened at the Resurrection of the Lord as we heard it again in today’s Gospel passage.

In our first reading today we heard St. Peter speaking before the large number of people gathered at the moment after the Pentecost, when the Apostles received the Holy Spirit from God and began proclaiming courageously their faith in the Lord, and spoke openly regarding the Lord Jesus before all assembled, even when the chief priests and the Sanhedrin had been against such actions and works, and warned against all those who preached in the Name of the Lord. St. Peter spoke clearly and with conviction, calling on the people to follow the Lord.

St. Peter spoke to the people of how the recently crucified Man was indeed the Messiah or the Saviour of God, the One Who had been promised to all the people, and the One through Whom God’s salvation had come. And this was the truth that the chief priests and many among the members of the Sanhedrin or the Jewish High Council were trying to suppress and prevent from spreading. As we heard in the Gospel passage today, they tried to bribe the guards to tell the people how the disciples had plotted to steal the Body of Jesus and used that to claim how the Lord had risen from the dead.

That was truly a heinous attempt to stop the message of the Lord’s truth from being spread, to snuff out the Christian faith at its very infancy. However, the Lord guided those who were faithful to Him, giving them the courage and strength to speak up the truth even amidst the challenges and trials, the difficulties and threats that they were facing. They were guided by the Holy Spirit Who gave them the hope and the fire in their hearts to speak out what was in their hearts and minds.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we reflect on these readings, let us all consider carefully what it truly means for us to be Christians, to be those who believe in Christ, in His truth and Resurrection. As shown in those Scripture passages and as was evident throughout the long history of the Church, the faithful often had to contend against the popular opinion and also the general society, norms and rules, as persecutions of the faithful happened from time to time, again and again at different places and among different peoples.

Many of our brethren are still suffering from all sorts of persecutions and prejudices, bias and being ostracised, and yet, they held on to the faith firmly in the Lord despite the trials that they had to face. Then how about us, brothers and sisters in Christ? Have we allowed ourselves to be complacent in faith and take our Christian faith for granted? Let us remember the courage that was shown by the Apostles and the members of the early Church in standing up for their faith in Christ.

What are we going to do, brothers and sisters in Christ? We have all received the truth of God, and the Risen Lord had been revealed to us. Are we then going to be His witnesses in our world today? We do not have to do wonderful or amazing things in order to do so. Rather, we need to begin from the simple acts and our own daily living, each and every moments and interactions we have with our fellow brothers and sisters, with our neighbours and even with strangers we encounter.

How are we going to convince others if we ourselves have not led an exemplary Christian life, and commit ourselves thoroughly to a Christian way of living and also in the way we carry ourselves and act in this world? Let us not be like those hypocrites who pretended to believe and yet, in their hearts they did not truly love God at all. And let us all also not harden our hearts like those chief priests and the members of the Sanhedrin either.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all live our lives from now on, as faithful Christians, as good role models of our faith, that we may truly be inspirations and beacons of light, of the light of Christ in the midst of all the darkness in this world. Let us all turn towards the Lord with renewed faith and dedication, with commitment and the courage to walk in the path that the Lord had set before us, following the examples of the Apostles.

May the Lord, our Risen Saviour and Master, be with us all, and may He bless us all and our good works and endeavours. May He continue to strengthen and encourage us all daily, as we continue to live our lives, hopefully ever more faithfully with each and every passing moments. Amen.

Saturday, 7 April 2018 : Saturday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are reminded yet again of ourselves as Christians, and our obligations to be witnesses of our faith before God and before His people. In the first reading, we heard how the testimony of faith of the Apostles had created a great furore amongst the Sanhedrin or the Jewish high council. They were divided on the matter of the truth in the teachings of the Apostles.

There were those who saw the truth in what the Apostles had said and testified before the people, while there were even many more amongst these elders and the leaders of the people who hardened their hearts, closed off their minds and their ears from hearing the words of the truth. Yet, nonetheless, the Apostles courageously stood by their faith and defended themselves with zeal and wisdom that day.

The Apostles were ridiculed, persecuted, and those who did not want the truth and the teachings of Jesus to be propagated tried to threaten them not to teach in the Name of the Lord. However, the Apostles and the disciples stood firm by their faith, as God was with them. They were once afraid and unsure of their faith, but the Holy Spirit has given them the strength and the courage to carry on with their mission.

They spoke of the Lord, God Incarnate in the flesh of Man, Jesus Christ, Who has suffered and died on the cross, but He did not remain in the state of death or stayed in a tomb. They saw Him risen from the dead, and there were many witnesses among them who saw Jesus, in the flesh, appearing before them, walking among them, and even ate with them, to show that He has truly indeed risen.

This is the testimony of faith that the disciples of the Lord shared with many others, beginning with the time of the Pentecost and thus, the Church was born. More and more people gave themselves to be baptised in the Name of the Lord, and more and more people devoted themselves to God, and turning away from their sinful past, they allowed themselves to be worthy of the salvation that God has freely offered us.

Unfortunately, brothers and sisters in Christ, in our world today, more and more among us Christians are drifting away from the faith, and we no longer have the same zeal, devotion and commitment as that of the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord. We have lost our compass of faith, and we have wandered off away from God’s path, by our falling into temptation and the persuasions of the world.

There are many lies and the falsehoods which the devil is using to spawn confusion and challenges amongst us, and unless we devote ourselves to the Lord with all of our hearts and with zeal and conviction, as the disciples of the Lord had, we are likely to fall to Satan’s trap, and therefore fall away from God’s mercy and forgiveness. Is that what we want, brothers and sisters in Christ?

What do we need to do then? It is not enough for us to come for the Sunday Mass and say to ourselves that we have fulfilled the obligation which the Church has given us. No, that is not nearly enough. Indeed, to be present in the Mass is the greatest and most important part of our faith, but at the same time, in order to be truly faithful to God, we must have an active faith life, through constant and fervent prayer, by which we communicate with God and know what it is that He wants from us, and of course by actually committing ourselves to do what the Lord has asked us to do, to love one another.

May the Lord be with us, guiding us and providing us with the way forward, that we may find our way to serve Him with all of our hearts, with all of our strengths, and with all of our efforts. May we all be true Christians, in our words, in our actions and in everything we do in our lives, beginning this Easter, and continuing forevermore. Amen.

Friday, 6 April 2018 : Friday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day all of us are called to reflect on the readings from the Scriptures that we heard, that we may know what it is that all of us as Christians ought to be doing in order to dedicate ourselves to God’s cause ever more wholeheartedly in this Easter season and beyond. That is why we should reflect on the words we have just heard and put them in our hearts and minds.

In the first reading today, as it had been for the past few days throughout this Easter Octave, we continue to hear the proclamations and the works of the Apostles, who testified about the Lord Jesus, His resurrection from the dead and His triumph over sin. They professed their faith in Him and how others who heard them should also follow in their footsteps and give themselves to be baptised in the Name of the Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, they spoke of a God, Who has willingly given Himself to us and Who has suffered and died for our sake, that all of us may be saved from our fated destruction and damnation. That is what Christ had done for each and every one of us. He died so that we may live, and He rose from the dead so that by His resurrection, we may share in His glory together.

And in the Gospel that we have heard today, He made it clear to us His intentions and desires for the Church. The Gospel passage today is full of rich symbolisms, which if we do not scrutinise more closely, we would have easily missed their meanings. First of all, the disciples were fishing in the lake of Galilee in a boat, and throughout the night, they did not manage to catch any fish at all. But, when the Lord came upon them and told them what to do, suddenly plenty of large fishes and small fishes were caught.

The boat in which the disciples were in, represents the Church, steered by the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord. However, as we just heard, for an entire night, they fished and searched for catch without success, and only when the Lord instructed them on what to do, they managed to get so many fishes such that the boat almost sank. In this, we see how the Church ultimately draws its inspiration and authority from the Lord, Who delegated the authority to His Apostles and disciples, as well as their successors.

The fishes caught by the Apostles in the morning time represent all of us as Christians, whom God had brought to be His disciples and as members of His Church. This is the main purpose and mission which the Lord had commanded His disciples to do, calling all the people of God to be united as one people, God’s Holy Church. And the disciples of the Lord went forth to many places, calling on the people to repent from their sins and turn wholeheartedly towards God.

Thus, all of us, Christians living in this time and age are called to be true servants of God, to continue the good works which the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord have started. We need to listen to the call which the Lord had given to us, just as He called the Apostles to be the instruments of His will among His people. Are we able to follow the Lord as we are supposed to do?

Let us all be part of the great efforts of the Church, calling all of us faithful Christians to devote ourselves to the Lord’s way and give our best to serve Him, every day of our lives. May we draw ever closer to God’s grace, and may all of us work together with faith and zeal, in all the things we do, so that through all of our actions and dedications of faith, we may bring ever more souls to God’s salvation. May God bless us all, now and always. Amen.

Thursday, 5 April 2018 : Thursday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened more to the story of the Apostles and disciples of the Lord as they carried on their lives after the Lord’s death and resurrection. In the first reading, continuing with the story of the healing of the paralysed man at the Temple, in which the Apostles St. Peter and St. John healed the man by the authority and power of the Lord Jesus, the Risen Christ and Saviour, we heard how they testified before the assembly of people of their faith in the Risen Lord.

The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, the chief priests and the elders were angry because the Apostles were preaching about Jesus, Whom they thought that they had crucified and won against, but then they heard how He had actually risen from the dead just as He had said earlier to the people. To them, Jesus is a rival and a dangerous person to contend with, and that was why they tried to silence the Apostles and the other disciples, without avail.

For God was with His Apostles and disciples, and the wisdom and the courage of the Holy Spirit was with them. They were not afraid of the threats that the Sanhedrin or the Jewish ruling council had placed against them, but instead, it had encouraged them even more to speak out in the Name of Christ, the Risen Lord. They themselves have seen the Lord in person, Risen in glory and overcame death itself, as we heard in our Gospel passage today.

It was this experience and their witnessing to the wonderful works of the Lord, risen from the dead, that they testified before many others, with zeal and conviction. They refused to be silent and to fear the threats of worldly rulers who were only concerned about their own selfish thoughts and desires to maintain their position and influence in the society. Those people wanted to preserve the status quo and not what is good for the people.

But the Lord guided His disciples to be courageous preachers and witnesses to His resurrection and His truth. He wanted the whole world to know about His truth and the message of the Good News that He has brought into the world. In Him alone lies the sole hope for the salvation of all mankind, and not through any other ways. Ultimately, for someone to be saved, they must walk in God’s ways, believe in Him and entrust themselves to His love.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, what all of us as Christians need to know today, is the fact that the works of the Apostles, their ministry and courageous engagements amongst the people of God were not yet complete. There are still many areas in which more can be done, by the Church and by all of us Christians, to make this world a better place, and to fulfil what the Lord has commanded us to do, to bring His light and truth to all the nations.

Therefore, all of us are called to be the people of Easter, a renewed and more courageous people, who are willing to devote our effort, our time and our every actions for the glorification of God, and for the salvation of our fellow brothers and sisters, especially those who have fallen astray in their journey of life, and also all those who have not yet heard of God’s truth and have not yet known His saving grace.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all devote ourselves more wholeheartedly to God, and let us all spend more time with Him, and let us draw our strength from Him, so that day after day, we may always walk in His ways, undeterred by the challenges facing us, just as the Apostles had walked fearlessly amidst the opposition from the Jewish authorities at that time. May we always be worthy of God, and by our actions, may we be justified in our faith, that we may receive from God, an eternity of glory with Him. Amen.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018 : Wednesday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture speaking to us firstly about the works of the Apostles St. Peter and St. John, performing their first miracles on their own, after the Lord has ascended to heaven and gave them the Holy Spirit on the occasion of the Pentecost. The two Apostles healed a paralysed beggar who was always begging at the entrance to the Temple of God.

The Apostles healed him in the Name of the Lord Jesus, showing that although the Lord was no longer physically in their midst, but He was still always with His followers and disciples, and He worked His wonders and miracles through them. The Risen Lord showed the proof of His resurrection from the dead not only through His appearances to His disciples and Apostles, but also through His works still present in our midst even unto this very day.

That was what the two disciples who were walking towards the town of Emmaus also experienced, as we heard in our Gospel passage today. The two disciples had felt a great anguish and loss of hope, having followed the Lord and hoped that He would be the One, the King Who would restore the earthly glory of the kingdom of Israel, only to be rejected and condemned to death, a death on the cross in the hands of the Romans.

They were debating about the happenings and events surrounding the Passion, the crucifixion and death of the Lord Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, and then the latest news and rumour of how the Lord had actually risen from the dead, and seen by quite a few of His disciples. Here, we can see how the Lord was reaching out to those two disciples, appearing in their midst and walked among them.

By His words and by His teachings, He opened the senses of the two disciples which had been dulled and closed off by the worries and the temptations of the world. He showed them the truth about Himself, and the reason why He had to suffer and die for the sake of His people, fulfilling the promises and the prophecies He had given to them through His prophets.

By explaining to them the truth and the meaning behind the Scripture passages, He opened their minds and hearts to be able to realise the presence of God in their midst. Their hearts were inflamed by God’s words and the Holy Spirit stirring them. And they eventually realised that it was Jesus Who was journeying with them and speaking to them along the way to Emmaus.

Why have the two disciples failed to realise that the Lord had been with them all along? That is because they have their minds clouded and their senses dulled and blinded by the despair and the sense of hopelessness, after their Lord and Master had been crucified. It is likely that they thought in worldly terms, thinking that the Messiah would lead the nation of Israel to liberate them from their Roman conquerors and rulers.

How about us, brothers and sisters in Christ? All of us are often also unaware of the presence of God in our midst. We are often too preoccupied in our own worldly pursuits and business, that we end up getting more and more distant from God, and we end up falling away from God’s grace as a result. That is why we falter in our faith and why our lives become empty of purpose and meaning.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, all of us are called to reflect on our lives and our actions thus far. Have we lived our lives realising that God, Our Lord and Master is always present in our midst? Or have we walked our lives in the darkness, without proper destination in mind and without guidance? God is in our midst, as we who are Christians believe that the Lord Jesus has died for us, and most importantly, He has risen from the dead.

Thus we believe in Him Who has risen from the dead, that all of us who believe in Him will also overcome death, for we have also overcome sin, as sin causes death. Now, do we truly believe in God and in all that He has done for us? If we believe in Him wholeheartedly, then truly, like the paralysed beggar, who was healed from his troubles, we can, according to St. Paul, do all things in He Who strengthens us.

May the Lord be with us all, and may He empower each and every one of us to live faithfully and dedicate ourselves to Him, in all the things that we do in our respective lives. May He bless us all and all of our works and endeavours, now and always. Amen.