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.

Saturday, 10 April 2021 : Saturday within Easter Octave (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Mark 16 : 9-15

At that time, after Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary of Magdala, from whom He had driven out seven demons. She went and reported the news to His followers, who were now mourning and weeping. But when they heard that He lived, and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.

After this He showed Himself in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. These men also went back and told the others, but they did not believe them. Later Jesus showed Himself to the Eleven while they were at table. He reproached them for their unbelief, and stubbornness, in refusing to believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.

Then He told them, “Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News to all creation.”

Saturday, 10 April 2021 : Saturday within Easter Octave (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 117 : 1 and 14-15, 16ab-18, 19-21

Alleluia! Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His loving kindness endures forever. The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation. Joyful shouts of victory are heard in the tents of the just : The right hand of the Lord strikes mightily.

The right hand of the Lord is lifted high, the right hand of the Lord strikes mightily! I shall not die, but live to proclaim what the Lord has done. The Lord has stricken me severely, but He has saved me from death.

Open to me the gates of the Just, and let me enter to give thanks. “This is the Lord’s gate, through which the upright enter.” I thank You for having answered me, for having rescued me.

Saturday, 10 April 2021 : Saturday within Easter Octave (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 4 : 13-21

The Jewish leaders, elders and teachers of the Law were astonished at the boldness of Peter and John, considering that they were uneducated and untrained men. They recognised also, that they had been with Jesus, but, as the man who had been cured stood beside them, they could make no reply.

So they ordered them to leave the council room while they consulted with one another. They asked, “What shall we do with these men? Everyone who lives in Jerusalem knows that a remarkable sign has been given through them, and we cannot deny it. But to stop this from spreading any further among the people, let us warn them never again to speak to anyone in the Name of Jesus.”

So they called them back and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the Name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s eyes for us to obey you rather than God. We cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

Then the council threatened them once more and let them go. They could find no way of punishing them because of the people who glorified God for what happened.

Saturday, 27 April 2019 : Saturday 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 which reminded us yet again of the mission which He has granted to us all, as Christians, as all those who believe in Him as Our Lord and Saviour, in how we believe in Him Who died for us all and Who has then risen from the dead, and therefore granting us the path to eternal life and salvation through Him.

And we stood by this faith which we have received from our predecessors, all those who have faithfully held this faith alive in them, all the way from the time of the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord. It was the same mission which He has entrusted to those whom He has sent and commissioned to be His holy workers among the world, to bear witness to His Passion and His resurrection, the truth which He has brought into this world into our midst.

For all of these, the Apostles had to suffer rejection, ridicule, oppression and many obstacles as we have heard in our first reading passage today, as they stood by their faith in the Lord, in His truth and in His salvation, before the whole Sanhedrin, or the Jewish High Council, many of whose members had opposed the Lord and His works, and who had also condemned Him to death. They stood against the enemies of the Lord with courage and great faith.

It was such that even though the Sanhedrin sternly warned them never again to teach in the Name of the Lord Jesus, under the pain of imprisonment, torture and suffering, the Apostles and the many other disciples of the Lord never gave up and continued to preach the truth, in defiance of the opposition and from all the pressures of the world, the Apostles steadfastly proclaimed their faith amidst all opposition.

And all these are caused by their own witnessing of the events that they have seen with their own eyes, how the Lord Jesus, the Saviour of the whole world and God Himself incarnate in the flesh, was crucified for our sake and died in agony on the Cross, all because of His boundless and infinite love for each and every one of us. The Lord has also then risen in glory from the dead, and showed Himself to His disciples, who then became witnesses of the Risen Lord.

If the Lord had indeed not risen from the dead, or merely an impostor or false Messiah as the Jewish authorities, the Sanhedrin had charged the Lord Jesus falsely of, then the disciples would have testified and stood up for their faith for nothing. They would have suffered persecution, pain, agony and torture for nothing, as they would have suffered for something that was false and untrue.

Yet, in what must have seemed to be unreasonable and puzzling for the Sanhedrin, not only that the Apostles and the many other witnesses of the Lord stood for and defended their faith with such great passion, courage and wisdom, but they refused to back down and abandon the mission which God had entrusted to them, even at the pain of suffering, imprisonment or death. They continued to preach and to testify in the Name of the Lord Jesus, their Lord and our Saviour.

This would not have made sense if what they have preached and stood up for was not true. On the other hand, if the resurrection of the Lord Jesus was a reality and is indeed truth, then everything that the Apostles and the martyrs of the Church had done throughout many years of persecutions and troubles would have made perfect sense to us. And therefore, all of us as Christians are also called to be the same witnesses of Our Lord’s truth and resurrection, in our own lives.

Let us all live our lives from now on with faith and devotion to God alone, and let us all renew the commitment to serve God and to be true disciples of the Lord, to be God’s ever faithful and committed people, in continuing the mission that God has entrusted to His servants and followers in the Church. May God be with us always, and may He grant us the strength and the courage to live ever more faithfully in Him and to bear witness to Him in our every words and actions. Amen.

Saturday, 27 April 2019 : Saturday within Easter Octave (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Mark 16 : 9-15

At that time, after Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary of Magdala, from whom He had driven out seven demons. She went and reported the news to His followers, who were now mourning and weeping. But when they heard that He lived, and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.

After this He showed Himself in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. These men also went back and told the others, but they did not believe them. Later Jesus showed Himself to the Eleven while they were at table. He reproached them for their unbelief, and stubbornness, in refusing to believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.

Then He told them, “Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News to all creation.”

Saturday, 27 April 2019 : Saturday within Easter Octave (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 117 : 1 and 14-15, 16ab-18, 19-21

Alleluia! Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His loving kindness endures forever. The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation. Joyful shouts of victory are heard in the tents of the just : The right hand of the Lord strikes mightily.

The right hand of the Lord is lifted high, the right hand of the Lord strikes mightily! I shall not die, but live to proclaim what the Lord has done. The Lord has stricken me severely, but He has saved me from death.

Open to me the gates of the Just, and let me enter to give thanks. “This is the Lord’s gate, through which the upright enter.” I thank You for having answered me, for having rescued me.

Saturday, 27 April 2019 : Saturday within Easter Octave (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 4 : 13-21

The Jewish leaders, elders and teachers of the Law were astonished at the boldness of Peter and John, considering that they were uneducated and untrained men. They recognised also, that they had been with Jesus, but, as the man who had been cured stood beside them, they could make no reply.

So they ordered them to leave the council room while they consulted with one another. They asked, “What shall we do with these men? Everyone who lives in Jerusalem knows that a remarkable sign has been given through them, and we cannot deny it. But to stop this from spreading any further among the people, let us warn them never again to speak to anyone in the Name of Jesus.”

So they called them back and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the Name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s eyes for us to obey you rather than God. We cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

Then the council threatened them once more and let them go. They could find no way of punishing them because of the people who glorified God for what happened.

Saturday, 22 April 2017 : Saturday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are all reminded again by the Scripture passage on the mission which the Lord our God had entrusted to us at the time when He had risen from the dead. All of us are in fact called to proclaim the Good News of the Lord to all, and not to remain in unbelief and fear that we would be persecuted or rejected if we are to do such good works for the sake of the Lord.

At the time of the Apostles, as we all heard in the Acts of the Apostles, the chief priests and the elders of the people were all trying very hard to stop the works of the Apostles by various means, including arresting them, coercing them and forcing them to stop teaching in the Name of the Lord. They used various means in order to prevent the teachings of the Lord from spreading any further, but without avail. For the Lord was with His servants and His people, and the truth of Christ continued to spread unabated.

The disciples of the Lord were mostly uneducated people, and yet we heard how they spoke with conviction, wisdom and strength, filled with courage and genuine intellect, surprising all those who have heard them, all who attempted to silence them and prevent the spreading of the Lord’s Good News. That was because the Lord was with them, and the Holy Spirit gave them the courage, strength and wisdom to do so.

The chief priests and elders stubbornly opposed the Lord’s good works because they were hindered by their own human intellect, their wisdom and their ways, which to them were their treasures in life. They allowed their pride to come in the way between them and their acceptance of God’s truth. As a result, even though they had seen so many miraculous deeds which Jesus had performed during His ministry, throughout all those times when they harassed Him and made His works difficult, they refused to believe, because they had hardened their hearts.

They opposed the Apostles and the other disciples of the Lord, harassing them and attacking them in the same manner just as they had harassed the Lord. They wanted to silence them and stop them from declaring God’s truth, but they would not have it that way. They placed their trust in the Holy Spirit which had been granted to them. They resisted the demands of the chief priests and elders, and spoke out about Christ regardless, even in the face of punishment and persecution.

This is the spirit and commitment which all of us Christians also ought to have in our respective lives. We must not be lukewarm in our faith, and we cannot be ignorant and lacking in action in living through our faith. Our faith must be one that is genuine and true, so that everyone who sees us and hears us may truly recognise the presence and the work of God inside each and every one of us.

This is the true spirit and joy of Easter that each and every one of us should have. We should be glad that the Lord had done such great things for us, giving us hope beyond all other hope, when we were in despair and engulfed with darkness. He has brought us all out of that darkness, and show us the path to His salvation. It is only right that we should share that light which we have received, with one another, with all those who are still living in darkness and in the state of sin.

Let us all show by our conviction and commitment to live out this life we have filled with zeal and devotion to God, through prayer, through faith, through charity and love, especially for the sick and the dying, to those who have no one to comfort them, to even our enemies and all those who have persecuted us. Remember, brothers and sisters in Christ, that even Jesus our Lord forgave His enemies and condemners from the cross.

Let us bring the light of Christ to one another, by our upright and just actions, and by our showing of care and concern to each other, so that many more people will come to believe in us, just as many believed in the words and actions of the Apostles and the saints, who have reflected the glory of the Risen Lord in their lives. Let us all become the beautiful windows through which the truth and glory of our Lord Jesus may be seen by all of mankind, that all will come to God through us and our works. God bless us all. Amen.

Saturday, 22 April 2017 : Saturday within Easter Octave (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Mark 16 : 9-15

At that time, after Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary of Magdala, from whom He had driven out seven demons. She went and reported the news to His followers, who were now mourning and weeping. But when they heard that He lived, and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.

After this He showed Himself in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. These men also went back and told the others, but they did not believe them. Later Jesus showed Himself to the Eleven while they were at table. He reproached them for their unbelief, and stubbornness, in refusing to believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.

Then He told them, “Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News to all creation.”