Wednesday, 24 April 2019 : 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 about the salvation that God has given to all of us His faithful and beloved people, as we listened to the story of how God brought about His salvation among His people, healing them from their sickness and freeing them from their troubles. In the first reading today we heard of how St. Peter and St. John healed a crippled beggar, while in the Gospel we heard of the moment when the Lord appeared to two of His disciples who were on their way to Emmaus.

In both stories, God brought about a change to each of the lives of the people He encountered, and if we discern more carefully on those passages we have just heard, we will be able to see how God transformed the lives and the experiences of those whom He has blessed. In the first reading, we heard of a person who had been crippled from birth, who has always begged at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple, and how he sought the two Apostles, St. Peter and St. John for some money as he has always done.

However, he did not expect to receive something totally different, as instead of getting money from the pity of the passing people, instead, he received healing and complete freedom from the trouble he has suffered from the moment of his birth, by the power of the Lord Jesus, when the two Apostles proclaimed God’s power in His Name, and made him whole again. The crippled person was able to walk normally again, and we see in this case, the Lord Who healed His people from their physical and bodily problems.

But the Lord did even more than just that, as we heard in the Gospel passage today, how He appeared to the two disciples who were on their way to the town of Emmaus just outside of Jerusalem, right after the Lord has been crucified and then rose from the dead. The two of them were among those who have not yet believed in the Lord and the truth of what He had taught and proclaimed to them.

The Lord walked with them and spoke with them at length along the way, explaining the truth about Himself, as the One Whom God sent into the world and how everything had gone according to the Lord’s plans, including His own suffering and death on the cross, and later on, His glorious resurrection from the dead. And He inflamed their hearts and minds with hope and with the knowledge of the truth, before revealing Himself in their presence at the dining table as He broke the bread for them.

God so inflamed and strengthened their hearts that they gathered all the strength they had, even after a long journey from Jerusalem to the place where Jesus revealed Himself, and went back all the way to Jerusalem in joy and exultation just so that they might proclaim what they have just witnessed to the Apostles, a truly happy and joyous occasion, as what they had once thought to be lost to them and hopeless, God had turned to be a wonderful occasion.

And in that case, God healed the two disciples from the disease that has inflicted their spirits, their hearts and minds inside them. He inflamed in them a new hope and gave them a new strength, the strength to be witnesses to His own Resurrection and the truth of His salvation. And therefore, we have seen how God brought about renewal to His people, in body and spirit, making us all whole again through His own works.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us are called to live out this joy of being Christians, as all those whom God had called and gathered from all over the whole world, to follow Him and to embrace the truth which He has brought into this world. All of us are called to embrace the healing which God has presented before us, in His desire to free us from our affliction because of sin. Sin has corrupted us and made us to be broken and unworthy, and God wants to heal us from that brokenness.

Now, let us all renew our commitment to follow the Lord and to love Him from now on, with all of our strength and with all of our abilities. Let us all truly embrace the spirit and joy of Easter, in proclaiming the glory of our Risen Lord, the One through Whom all of us have been saved from death and destruction. May the Risen Lord be with us always, and may His grace, mercy and compassion be with us always. Amen.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019 : Wednesday within Easter Octave (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 24 : 13-35

At that time, on the same day Jesus rose from the dead, two followers of Jesus were going to Emmaus, a village seven miles from Jerusalem, and they talked about what had happened. While they were talking and arguing about what had happened, Jesus came up and walked with them. But their eyes were not able to recognise Him.

He asked, “What is it you are talking about?” The two stood still, looking sad. Then the one named Cleophas answered, “Why, it seems You are the only traveller to Jerusalem who does not know what haw happened there these past few days.” And He asked, “What is it?”

They replied, “It is about Jesus of Nazareth. He was a Prophet, You know, mighty in word and deed before God and the people. But the chief priests and our rulers sentenced Him to death. They handed Him over to be crucified. We had hoped that He would redeem Israel. It is now the third day since all this took place.”

“It is also true that some women of our group have disturbed us. When they went to the tomb at dawn, they did not find His Body; and they came and told us that they had had a vision of Angels, who said that Jesus was alive. Some of our people went to the tomb and found everything just as the women had said, but they did not find a Body in the tomb.”

He said to them, “How dull you are, how slow of understanding! Is the message of the prophets too difficult for you to understand? Is it not written that the Christ should suffer all this, and then enter His glory?” Then starting with Moses, and going through the prophets, He explained to them everything in the Scriptures concerning Himself.

As they drew near the village they were heading for, Jesus made as if to go farther. But they prevailed upon Him, “Stay with us, for night comes quickly. The day is now almost over.” So He went in to stay with them. When they were at table, He took the bread, said a blessing, broke it, and gave each a piece.

Then their eyes were opened, and they recognised Him; but He vanished out of their sight. And they said to one another, “Were not our hearts filled with ardent yearning when He was talking to us on the road and explaining the Scriptures?” They immediately set out and returned to Jerusalem.

There they found the Eleven and their companions gathered together. They were greeted by these words : “Yes, it is true, the Lord is risen! He has appeared to Simon!” Then the two told what had happened on the road to Emmaus, and how Jesus had made Himself known, when He broke bread with them.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019 : Wednesday within Easter Octave (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 104 : 1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9

Give thanks to the Lord, call on His Name; make known His works among the nations. Sing to Him, sing His praise, proclaim all His wondrous deeds.

Glory in His holy Name; let those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and be strong; seek His face always.

You descendants of His servant Abraham, you sons of Jacob, His chosen ones! He is the Lord our God; His judgments reach the whole world.

He remembers His covenant forever, His promise to a thousand generations, the covenant He made with Abraham, the promise He swore to Isaac.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019 : Wednesday within Easter Octave (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 3 : 1-10

Once when Peter and John were going up to the Temple at three in the afternoon, the hour for prayer, a man crippled from birth was being carried in. Every day they would bring him and put him at the Temple gate called “Beautiful”; there he begged from those who entered the Temple.

When he saw Peter and John on their way into the Temple, he asked for alms. Then Peter with John at his side looked straight at him and said, “Look at us.” So he looked at them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have neither silver nor gold, but what I have I give you : In the Name of Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, walk!”

Then he took the beggar by his right hand and helped him up. At once his feet and ankles became firm, and jumping up he stood on his feet and began to walk. And he went with them into the Temple walking and leaping and praising God. All the people saw him walking and praising God; they recognised him as the one who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple, and they were all astonished and amazed at what had happened to him.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017 : Wednesday within Easter Octave, Twelfth Anniversary of the Pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI, Vicar of Christ, Bishop of Rome, Supreme Pontiff and Leader of the Universal Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are reminded again of the frailties of our humanity, how the man who was crippled since his birth begged at the Temple for people to give him some money and allowances to allow him to come by his daily expenses. We heard about how he approached the two Apostles, St. Peter and St. John as they made their way into the Temple, hoping that they would be able to provide him with some money or food.

In the Gospel today, we heard another account, of how Jesus our Lord appeared just right after His resurrection from the dead to two of His disciples who were walking to the village of Emmaus outside of Jerusalem. The two disciples were busy discussing of all the events that had just happened in the previous week, and how Jesus was arrested, condemned to death, and died on the cross, while Jesus Himself walked alongside them, without them realising Who He was.

What we all saw here are two disabilities, one of the body and the other of the spirit and the mind. But each one of them were afflicted in one way or another, and the Lord showed mercy on them, bringing healing upon them. Through His Apostles, He brought healing upon the man who was unable to walk, and make him to overcome his physical limitations.

And to the two disciples who had been unable to recognise Jesus was inflamed in their hearts by the words and the teachings which Jesus placed in their hearts and minds. He awakened hope in their hearts, as they were initially doubtful and lacking faith in the resurrection of the Lord, despite having heard from the Apostles that Jesus had risen from the dead.

This is what the Lord had done for us, that by bringing His light and hope into the world, He had brought about healing and joy to all those who have lived for long in the darkness, to all those who despair and were without hope, to those who were afflicted, be it in their physical body and flesh, or in their minds, hearts and souls. God brought with Him this Easter joy, which all of us ought not only to rejoice together and enjoy, but also to emulate and to apply to our own lives.

What does this mean, brothers and sisters in Christ? It means that all of us ought to be courageous in our faith, and in all that we do, in all of our words and actions. We must follow in the example of the Apostles, who in their deeds proclaimed the glory of Christ and revealed to all His truth. In our actions, we must be gentle and be loving towards our brethren, showing mercy and compassion to our enemies, to all those who are sorrowful and unloved as the Apostles had done on the man paralysed from birth.

And in our words, we must also bring about hope and enlightenment to our brethren, especially to all those who have not known of the love of God. We must be like Jesus our Lord Who placed hope and encouragement in the hearts of the two disciples who were walking to Emmaus. We must therefore not slander against others, tell gossip or lies to one another, and we must not hurt others by our words, as well as our actions.

Otherwise, if we are not doing what the Lord had told us to do, and did what is opposite of what He wants us to do, we scandalise our faith, and in fact not just our faith, but the Lord Himself. And that is indeed a great sin for us to make, before God and before our fellow men. Not only that we have failed to do as expected from us, but we even drive people away from the salvation in God, because our actions deter them from coming closer to God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all reflect on this as we continue to progress through the Easter season. Let us all be inspired by the examples of our predecessors in faith, and devote ourselves anew with zeal and commitment, to love and serve the Lord our God, through our loving commitment and service to our brethren around us, especially all those who are in need of our love and attention. May God bless us all and our endeavours. Amen.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017 : Wednesday within Easter Octave, Twelfth Anniversary of the Pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI, Vicar of Christ, Bishop of Rome, Supreme Pontiff and Leader of the Universal Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Luke 24 : 13-35

At that time, on the same day Jesus rose from the dead, two followers of Jesus were going to Emmaus, a village seven miles from Jerusalem, and they talked about what had happened. While they were talking and arguing about what had happened, Jesus came up and walked with them. But their eyes were not able to recognise Him.

He asked, “What is it you are talking about?” The two stood still, looking sad. Then the one named Cleophas answered, “Why, it seems You are the only traveller to Jerusalem who does not know what haw happened there these past few days.” And He asked, “What is it?”

They replied, “It is about Jesus of Nazareth. He was a Prophet, You know, mighty in word and deed before God and the people. But the chief priests and our rulers sentenced Him to death. They handed Him over to be crucified. We had hoped that He would redeem Israel. It is now the third day since all this took place.”

“It is also true that some women of our group have disturbed us. When they went to the tomb at dawn, they did not find His Body; and they came and told us that they had had a vision of Angels, who said that Jesus was alive. Some of our people went to the tomb and found everything just as the women had said, but they did not find a Body in the tomb.”

He said to them, “How dull you are, how slow of understanding! Is the message of the prophets too difficult for you to understand? Is it not written that the Christ should suffer all this, and then enter His glory?” Then starting with Moses, and going through the prophets, He explained to them everything in the Scriptures concerning Himself.

As they drew near the village they were heading for, Jesus made as if to go farther. But they prevailed upon Him, “Stay with us, for night comes quickly. The day is now almost over.” So He went in to stay with them. When they were at table, He took the bread, said a blessing, broke it, and gave each a piece.

Then their eyes were opened, and they recognised Him; but He vanished out of their sight. And they said to one another, “Were not our hearts filled with ardent yearning when He was talking to us on the road and explaining the Scriptures?” They immediately set out and returned to Jerusalem.

There they found the Eleven and their companions gathered together. They were greeted by these words : “Yes, it is true, the Lord is risen! He has appeared to Simon!” Then the two told what had happened on the road to Emmaus, and how Jesus had made Himself known, when He broke bread with them.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017 : Wednesday within Easter Octave, Twelfth Anniversary of the Pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI, Vicar of Christ, Bishop of Rome, Supreme Pontiff and Leader of the Universal Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White
Psalm 104 : 1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9

Give thanks to the Lord, call on His Name; make known His works among the nations. Sing to Him, sing His praise, proclaim all His wondrous deeds.

Glory in His holy Name; let those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and be strong; seek His face always.

You descendants of His servant Abraham, you sons of Jacob, His chosen ones! He is the Lord our God; His judgments reach the whole world.

He remembers His covenant forever, His promise to a thousand generations, the covenant He made with Abraham, the promise He swore to Isaac.