Friday, 26 May 2017 : 6th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Philip Neri, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
John 16 : 20-23a

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly, I say to you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy. A woman in childbirth is in distress because her time is at hand. But after the child is born, she no longer remembers her suffering because of such great joy : a human being is born into the world.”

“You feel sorrowful now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice; and no one will take your joy from you. When that day comes you will not ask Me anything.”

Friday, 26 May 2017 : 6th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Philip Neri, Priest (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White
Psalm 46 : 2-3, 4-5, 6-7

Clap your hands, all you peoples; acclaim God with shouts of joy. For the Lord, the Most High, is to be feared; He is a great King all over the earth.

He brings peoples under our dominion and puts nations under our feet. He chose our inheritance for us – the pride of Jacob whom He loves!

God ascends amid joyful shouts, the Lord amid trumpet blasts. Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises!

Friday, 26 May 2017 : 6th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Philip Neri, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Acts 18 : 9-18

One night, in a vision, the Lord said to Paul, “Do not be afraid, but continue speaking and do not be silent, for many people in this city are Mine. I am with you, so no one will harm you.” So Paul stayed a year and a half in that place, teaching the word of God among them.

When Gallio was governor of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him before the court. And they accused him, “This man tries to persuade us to worship God in ways that are against the Law.”

Paul was about to speak in his own defence when Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of misdeed or vicious crime, I would have to consider your complaint. But since this is a quarrel about teachings and divine names that are proper to your own law, see to it yourselves : I refuse to judge such matters.”

Then the people seized Sosthenes, a leading man of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the tribunal; but Gallio paid no attention to it. Paul stayed on with the disciples in Corinth for many days; he then left them and sailed off with Priscilla and Aquila for Syria. And as he was no longer under a vow he had taken, he shaved his head before sailing from Cenchreae.

Thursday, 25 May 2017 : Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we commemorate the great Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, remembering the moment when our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, ascended into His heavenly glory, and was taken up physically away from us, so that none of us can see Him any longer, and this was the ending of the earthly ministry of our Lord which began from the moment He was conceived in the womb of His mother Mary, through His birth, His youth and growing years, His work among the people of God, and finally His Passion, suffering, death and resurrection.

On this day we remember the moment when the Lord ascended into heaven, not so that He left us behind or abandoned us, but rather because as He had mentioned to His disciples, that He went ahead in order to prepare the places He had destined for us all. It was in the Ascension that we truly know that the Lord was indeed Who He had claimed to be, as the One Who had come down from heaven, and not merely just a Man.

On several occasions, Jesus had said that no one had known or can know the Father, the Creator God, save for the One Who came from heaven itself. And He was indeed referring to Himself when He said such words, revealing His unearthly origin, as the One Who had come down from heaven, and taking up the flesh of humanity, becoming like one of us in appearance and in physical body, but in reality, is also the Divine Son of God.

Jesus our Lord was the Word of God made Flesh, as the Divine Word Incarnate. He was the Word with which the Father willed to create all things found in creation. Through Him all things were made and all existences were willed to be. And through Him also, all of us have seen God, He Who was once invisible and beyond human comprehension and understanding, have revealed Himself to all mankind.

He is the Love of God made incarnate into flesh, God Who is Love, Who descended into this world out of His great and everlasting love for us all, His beloved and yet unworthy children. We have sinned because of our disobedience against God’s will, and yet, He Who loves us beyond everything else still loves each one of us, despite of our shortcomings and wickedness.

And to that extent, He had come to save us from certain destruction, by readily bearing up our sins and wickedness upon Himself, all the punishments and consequences for those sins we committed. He bore on the cross all those punishments, so that by His wounds all of us may receive liberation from the tyranny of sin and evil. He has freed us all by His love and sacrifice.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, what the Lord had promised us all has been reaffirmed to us. The Lord ascended into glory is a premonition and a preview to our own glorious ascension into an eternity of glory and grace, when we come to our final victory against evil and death. When the Lord comes again to claim all of us His faithful ones, He will separate us from the wicked, and bring us all together into His loving embrace.

But we must not just care only for our own personal safety and well-being. For indeed, many of us have been saved because we believe in the Lord, and we obey Him in all that He had commanded us to do, and we act in ways that are worthy of the Lord and His love. However, we must keep in mind what the Lord Jesus had commanded His Apostles and disciples, just before He was about to ascend from them into heaven, His last and most important command to them.

He commanded all of them to go forth to all the nations, to all the peoples, so that they might bring the truth and revelations which they have received, and bring them to the people of God who still lived in the darkness, those who still refused to welcome Him, those who rejected Him and His truth, all those who continued to live in a state of sin, and all who were still ignorant of His truth and salvation.

That was what the Lord had told His followers to do, for a simple reason. If we do nothing for the sake of these people, then we are truly condemning them to fall into eternal damnation, for if we do not act in order to bring the truth of God to them, then who will do so? We cannot assume that there will be someone out there who will do the work for our sake. No, brethren, we have to step up to the challenge given to us by the Lord, and do as what He had commanded us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, how should we then act? We do not need to do marvellous or great things. What we all need is really for us to start from small and little things which we can do, beginning from ourselves and from our own families and relatives. We should spend our time to do as the Lord had taught us, that is to show love in all of our actions, showing concern and care for our fellow brethren, for all those who we see as those who are in need, even for strangers.

Once we have begun doing what is right and just in the sight of the Lord, our actions themselves will speak louder than words, and they will become a source of inspiration for many others, who hopefully will be touched by what we have done, and therefore, through us, they may find out the love of the Lord. This is what we all should do, that we live our faith truly through our actions and deeds.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us therefore today, as we commemorate our Lord’s glorious Ascension into heaven, seek to deepen our relationship with Him, and devote ourselves anew to love and care for our brethren, especially those who are in need, and all those who have yet to come to understand the love and truth of God, and all those who have been blinded by the darkness of sin, and therefore remain separated from the love and salvation in God.

May the Lord help us all that we may be ever more courageous and be filled with faith, so that in all things we do in this life, we will grow ever more and more committed to the Lord and to our fellow men and women, calling to salvation all those whom the Lord had called to receive His grace and love. May the Lord bless us all. Amen.

Thursday, 25 May 2017 : Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Matthew 28 : 16-20

At that time, as for the eleven disciples, they went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw Jesus, they bowed before Him, although some doubted.

Then Jesus approached them and said, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples from all nations. Baptise them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all that I have commanded you. I am with you always even to the end of the world.”

Thursday, 25 May 2017 : Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Ephesians 1 : 17-23

May the God of Christ Jesus our Lord, the Father of Glory, reveal Himself to you and give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation, that you may know Him. May He enlighten your inner vision, that you may appreciate the things we hope for, since we were called by God.

May you know how great is the inheritance, the glory, God sets apart for His saints; may you understand with what extraordinary power He acts in favour of us who believe. He revealed His Almighty power in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and had Him sit at His right hand in heaven, far above all rule, power, authority, dominion, or any other supernatural force that could be named, not only in this world but in the world to come as well.

Thus has God put all things under the feet of Christ and set Him above all things, as Head of the Church which is His Body, the fullness of Him Who fills all in all.

Thursday, 25 May 2017 : Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White
Psalm 46 : 2-3, 6-7, 8-9

Clap your hands, all you peoples; acclaim God with shouts of joy. For the Lord, the Most High, is to be feared; He is a great King all over the earth.

God ascends amid joyful shouts, the Lord amid trumpet blasts. Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises!

God is King of all the earth; sing to Him a hymn of praise. For God now rules over the nations, God reigns from His holy throne.