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.

Thursday, 8 April 2021 : Thursday within Easter Octave (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 24 : 35-48

Then the two disciples told what had happened on the road to Emmaus, and how Jesus had made Himself known, when He broke bread with them. While they were still talking about this, Jesus Himself stood in their midst. (He said to them, “Peace to you.”)

In their panic and fright they thought they were seeing a ghost, but He said to them, “Why are you upset, and how does such an idea cross your minds? Look at My hands and feet, and see that it is I Myself! Touch Me, and see for yourselves, for a ghost has no flesh and bones as I have!” (As He said this, He showed His hands and feet.)

In their joy they did not dare believe, and were still astonished; so He said to them, “Have you anything to eat?” And they gave Him a piece of broiled fish. He took it, and ate it before them. Then Jesus said to them, “Remember the words I spoke to you when I was still with you : Everything written about Me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.

And He said, “So it was written : the Messiah had to suffer, and on the third day rise from the dead. Then repentance and forgiveness in His Name would be proclaimed to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things.”

Thursday, 8 April 2021 : Thursday within Easter Octave (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 8 : 2a and 5, 6-7, 8-9

O Lord, our Lord, how great is Your Name throughout the earth! What is man that You be mindful of him, the Son of Man, that You should care for Him?

Yet You made Him a little lower than the Angels; You crowned Him with glory and honour and gave Him the works of Your hands; You have put all things under His feet.

Sheep and oxen without number and even the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, the fish of the sea, and all that swim the paths of the ocean.

Thursday, 8 April 2021 : Thursday within Easter Octave (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 3 : 11-26

While the once crippled man clung to Peter and John, all the people, struck with astonishment, came running to them in Solomon’s Porch, as it was called. When Peter saw the people, he said to them, “Fellow Israelites, why are you amazed at this? Why do you stare at us as if it was by some power or holiness of our own that we made this man walk?”

“The God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob, the God of our ancestors has glorified His servant Jesus Whom you handed over to death and denied before Pilate, when even Pilate had decided to release Him. You rejected the Holy and Just One, and you insisted that a murderer be released to you. You killed the Master of life, but God raised Him from the dead and we are witnesses to this.”

“It is His Name and faith in His Name, that has healed this man whom you see and recognise. The faith that comes through Jesus has given him wholeness in the presence of all of you. Yet I know that you acted out of ignorance, as did your leaders. God has fulfilled in this way what He had foretold through all the prophets, that His Messiah would suffer.”

“Repent, then, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out and the time of refreshment may come by the mercy of God, when He sends the Messiah appointed for you, Jesus. For He must remain in heaven until the time of the universal restoration which God spoke of long ago through His holy prophets.”

“Moses foretold this when he said : The Lord God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among your own people; you shall listen to Him in all that He says to you. Whoever does not listen to that Prophet is to be cut off from among his people.”

“In fact, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel onward, have announced the events of these days. You are the children of the prophets and heirs of the covenant that God gave to your ancestors when He said to Abraham : All the families of the earth will be blessed through your descendant. It is to you first that God sends His Servant; He raised Him to life to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.”

Thursday, 25 April 2019 : Thursday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we continue to progress through this holy and blessed season of Easter, celebrating joyfully the glorious resurrection of Our Lord from the dead, and His triumph over darkness, sin and death, all of us are reminded in the Scripture passages of this day, that all of us ought to bear witness to this resurrection, bringing the truth of God’s glorious victory and triumph to all the people.

On this day we listened from the first reading passage taken from the Acts of the Apostles, of the courageous and wisdom-filled defence by St. Peter of his faith in God, before the Sanhedrin, the elite ruling council of the Jewish people and also all who were gathered in the assembly, including many of those who have then just witnessed the miraculous healing of a man who had been crippled from birth, whom St. Peter and St. John had healed in the Name of Jesus.

And the members of the Sanhedrin were outraged that the two Apostles had done such a feat in the presence of all the people, as many saw how the crippled man had been miraculously healed. And the Sanhedrin members threatened and pressured the Apostles not to teach or proclaim in the Name of the Lord Jesus anymore, under the pain of torture and imprisonment. But the Apostles would not be deterred by the threats and opposition, and stood firmly by their faith.

We must remember that St. Peter was an uneducated and illiterate man, a mere fisherman who once made a living at the lake of Galilee with his brother and with his fellow fishermen, most likely poor and of the lower standing in the community’s hierarchy. And yet, if we remember again what he had testified courageously before the whole Sanhedrin and the people, we surely would have been astonished.

He spoke with such clarity, understanding, wisdom and eloquence that no one could have believed that he was just a mere illiterate, uneducated and even uncouth fisherman, who could not have learnt to speak as St. Peter had done. In truth, St. Peter spoke not by his own wisdom or power, but rather through the power and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, which he and the other Apostles have received on the Pentecost day.

Many came to believe in the Lord and in His truth after they have seen all that He has done through His Apostles. But if we look at the Apostles themselves, even though they spoke bravely and courageously before the people, and even suffered and died after all the troubles and challenges that they encountered, they were once cowards and people who had little faith, who fled when the Lord was arrested and put to death.

But the Lord transformed them and changed them, in their mindset, in their thoughts and way of living their lives, and He granted them the power and the strength that allowed them to carry on living their lives despite the challenges, difficulties and obstacles that they had to endure throughout those years when they persevered through the years of ministry, going from places to places and being rejected again and again by those who refused to believe in the truth that they brought with them.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, what all of us must appreciate is the work that God has placed in us through His guiding hands and through the Holy Spirit and wisdom that He has given to us. We have heard and we have discussed how the Apostles were once doubtful and shaky in their faith, and how the Lord changed them and strengthened them. That is how they became so committed and so courageous in giving themselves wholeheartedly to the mission that God has entrusted to them.

And the same thing can also happen to us, if only we allow the Lord to work through us, and to guide us in our actions and in our way of life. Are we open to allow the Lord doing His works through us? Or are we not open and enclosed within ourselves, refusing the Lord’s presence in our lives, and as a result, we continue to do what is wrong and inappropriate, and and we continue to remain in ignorance of God’s wonderful works in our midst?

Let us all reflect on this as we continue to progress through this season of Easter and think in what ways it is that we are going to be able to commit ourselves to the Lord as better Christians, more attuned to His will and more courageous in carrying out the mission which He has entrusted to us. Let us all turn towards the Lord with a new courage in our hearts, to bear witness for His truth and for His resurrection among the people and within the communities in our world. May God bless us all and may He continue to guide us through our journey in life. Amen.

Thursday, 25 April 2019 : Thursday within Easter Octave (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 24 : 35-48

Then the two disciples told what had happened on the road to Emmaus, and how Jesus had made Himself known, when He broke bread with them. While they were still talking about this, Jesus Himself stood in their midst. (He said to them, “Peace to you.”)

In their panic and fright they thought they were seeing a ghost, but He said to them, “Why are you upset, and how does such an idea cross your minds? Look at My hands and feet, and see that it is I Myself! Touch Me, and see for yourselves, for a ghost has no flesh and bones as I have!” (As He said this, He showed His hands and feet.)

In their joy they did not dare believe, and were still astonished; so He said to them, “Have you anything to eat?” And they gave Him a piece of broiled fish. He took it, and ate it before them. Then Jesus said to them, “Remember the words I spoke to you when I was still with you : Everything written about Me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.

And He said, “So it was written : the Messiah had to suffer, and on the third day rise from the dead. Then repentance and forgiveness in His Name would be proclaimed to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things.”

Thursday, 25 April 2019 : Thursday within Easter Octave (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 8 : 2a and 5, 6-7, 8-9

O Lord, our Lord, how great is Your Name throughout the earth! What is man that You be mindful of him, the Son of Man, that You should care for Him?

Yet You made Him a little lower than the Angels; You crowned Him with glory and honour and gave Him the works of Your hands; You have put all things under His feet.

Sheep and oxen without number and even the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, the fish of the sea, and all that swim the paths of the ocean.

Thursday, 25 April 2019 : Thursday within Easter Octave (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 3 : 11-26

While the once crippled man clung to Peter and John, all the people, struck with astonishment, came running to them in Solomon’s Porch, as it was called. When Peter saw the people, he said to them, “Fellow Israelites, why are you amazed at this? Why do you stare at us as if it was by some power or holiness of our own that we made this man walk?”

“The God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob, the God of our ancestors has glorified His servant Jesus Whom you handed over to death and denied before Pilate, when even Pilate had decided to release Him. You rejected the Holy and Just One, and you insisted that a murderer be released to you. You killed the Master of life, but God raised Him from the dead and we are witnesses to this.”

“It is His Name and faith in His Name, that has healed this man whom you see and recognise. The faith that comes through Jesus has given him wholeness in the presence of all of you. Yet I know that you acted out of ignorance, as did your leaders. God has fulfilled in this way what He had foretold through all the prophets, that His Messiah would suffer.”

“Repent, then, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out and the time of refreshment may come by the mercy of God, when He sends the Messiah appointed for you, Jesus. For He must remain in heaven until the time of the universal restoration which God spoke of long ago through His holy prophets.”

“Moses foretold this when he said : The Lord God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among your own people; you shall listen to Him in all that He says to you. Whoever does not listen to that Prophet is to be cut off from among his people.”

“In fact, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel onward, have announced the events of these days. You are the children of the prophets and heirs of the covenant that God gave to your ancestors when He said to Abraham : All the families of the earth will be blessed through your descendant. It is to you first that God sends His Servant; He raised Him to life to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.”

Thursday, 20 April 2017 : Thursday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this occasion, all of us heard about the doubt and the lack of faith which were evident from the two readings from the Acts of the Apostles and the Gospel which we have just listened to. We heard how the Apostle St. Peter spoke to the Jewish people and all those who witnessed the amazing wonders of God, having healed the man born paralysed, who then could walk again and praising God.

In the Gospel we heard how the disciples of the Lord, the Eleven Apostles were stunned when Jesus suddenly appeared to them in their midst, through the locked doors, even though earlier on they had seen and heard from one another, from Mary Magdalene and other witnesses on the empty tomb of Jesus and His missing Body. They were still unable to believe that Jesus had not remained dead, but lived again, risen from the dead as He Himself had foretold.

In all these examples which we have heard, we saw just how often times, we mankind can be stubborn in many things, including in trying to understand things in our own way. We often try to rationalise things before we believe and put our trust and faith in something. This is nothing wrong, as indeed it is important for us to be able to truly understand and know the details about something which we want to believe in, or else we will be easily led to falsehoods and lies.

However, there are indeed certain things that are beyond the realm of our normal and usual human understanding and comprehension. There are many who doubted because they were not capable of putting into reason what they had heard about the resurrection of the Lord, and thought that it was impossible for someone from death to return into life.

Yet, there were many witnesses of what Jesus had done in His life and ministry in this world, all the healing miracles He had done, and even when He raised Lazarus up from the dead. There were many people who witnessed this and believed in the Lord. And indeed, Jesus also appeared to many people who had seen Him after His resurrection from the dead, and could testify to the truth of the resurrection, and all the miraculous deeds which His Apostles and disciples had done.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let me now ask all of you. How did we receive our faith? How is it that we are now believers in the Lord Jesus Christ? Is it just by mere fact or coincidence that we are believing in God now? Certainly, for many of us our answer would be that we received our faith from the instruction of our parents and relatives, all of whom had received their own instruction of the faith from their own parents and relatives, and affirmed with the teachings passed down through the Church.

And for all of those who have been baptised as adults, we also received our faith through our friends and through all those who have inspired us and called us to receive the Lord. And we have been affirmed by the faith that was passed down to us through careful instruction in the faith through the Church, by our catechists and guides, who helped us to grow in the faith. We all went through Catholic education, be it in schools or in our parishes and churches, and we grew together in the faith because of that.

That is how we came to believe in God, because we treasure and keep that same faith which our predecessors had received, all the way to the time of the Apostles, who themselves had seen the glory of the Risen Lord. And they also certainly did not have any reason to lie or to make any falsehoods, for they even were ready to lay down their lives defending that faith they had in the Lord. That was why there were so many martyrs in the days of the early Church, when the faithful were oppressed and persecuted just because they believed in the Lord Jesus.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, now it comes to the difficult part for all of us. All of us now need to also pass on this faith which we have in us to our next generation, and also to all others who have yet to hear of the Lord and His goodness. It is not an easy task, and challenges will be upon us. And at the same time, we must also fully embody our faith through our own words, deeds and actions. If we do not act as what we have believed in, no one will believe in us.

In fact, if we act contrary to what the Lord had taught us and shown us through His disciples, we are actually bringing scandal to our faith and to the Lord Himself. Therefore, let us all today pray together as the whole Church, that each and every one of us may live our Easter joy through our own lives, by our loving actions and by sharing our love and happiness with one another, especially to those who had no one to love them.

May the Lord help us and strengthen us in our faith, so that in everything we do, we will always do them in good faith to the Lord, and that through everything we say and do, we will always declare the glory of God to all the people, and thus help to gather together all the scattered people of the Lord, and come together to embrace His mercy and love. God bless us all. Amen.

Thursday, 20 April 2017 : Thursday within Easter Octave (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Luke 24 : 35-48

Then the two disciples told what had happened on the road to Emmaus, and how Jesus had made Himself known, when He broke bread with them. While they were still talking about this, Jesus Himself stood in their midst. (He said to them, “Peace to you.”)

In their panic and fright they thought they were seeing a ghost, but He said to them, “Why are you upset, and how does such an idea cross your minds? Look at My hands and feet, and see that it is I Myself! Touch Me, and see for yourselves, for a ghost has no flesh and bones as I have!” (As He said this, He showed His hands and feet.)

In their joy they did not dare believe, and were still astonished; so He said to them, “Have you anything to eat?” And they gave Him a piece of broiled fish. He took it, and ate it before them. Then Jesus said to them, “Remember the words I spoke to you when I was still with you : Everything written about Me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.

And He said, “So it was written : the Messiah had to suffer, and on the third day rise from the dead. Then repentance and forgiveness in His Name would be proclaimed to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things.”