Wednesday, 3 July 2019 : Feast of St. Thomas, Apostle (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the feast day of one of the Twelve Apostles of Our Lord Jesus Christ, that is St. Thomas the Apostle, known also by his epithet ‘the Twin’ and as St. Thomas Didymus. St. Thomas was famous and well-remembered among the Apostles as the one who doubted the Lord on a few occasions, not believing in what the Lord has taught His disciples and also when He showed Himself to them after He has risen from the dead.

St. Thomas was someone who was a skeptic, sarcastically remarking openly before the disciples when He mentioned that He was going to Judea that all of them were going to die together with Him. He doubted the Lord’s resurrection when he was absent at the time when He appeared among His disciples, and wanted a concrete proof that He has risen from the dead, even to the point of challenging that unless he can put his fingers into the Lord’s wounds and witness them for himself, he would not believe.

In what we have heard in today’s readings, we heard of the lack of faith which St. Thomas once had, when he doubted in the Lord and refused to believe in Him. And we ought to link this with our own life experiences, in how we have lived our own faith thus far. St. Thomas was actually showing the same attitude that many of us have probably often taken throughout our lives, because we do not really believe in God.

Let us ask ourselves, brothers and sisters in Christ, how many times in our lives have we doubted that God is there for us or even feel angry at God because we think that He has not helped us or even thinking that He has abandoned us? How many times is it that we have doubted God’s presence just because we perceive that He is not around, or that we cannot feel His presence or because He does not seem to respond to our pleas and desires?

If we have done all of these, then we have to take note that it is this same attitude which St. Thomas the Apostle has also done. The Lord wants us all to know that He is in fact with us at all the time, and He will never abandon us because of the great love which He actually has for each and every one of us. If we do not get what we want, it was not because God is not there for us or that He does not listen to us, but everything in this world occurs and happens according to God’s will ultimately. We cannot have our own way all the time.

That is why it is very important that we have faith in us, this genuine and strong faith that the Apostles had shown in their own examples and lives. In the case of St. Thomas himself, despite his earlier doubts and lack of faith, having witnessed and I am sure he must have been quite embarrassed by the experience as mentioned in the Gospel today, when the Lord gently rebuked him for his lack of faith, he became a firm believer and a courageous witness for his faith in God.

St. Thomas went to a few places spreading the Good News, and eventually went to the region that is now the southern parts of India where he preached to the locals and converted quite a few among them, which became the progenitors of the Christian communities there, known colloquially as ‘St. Thomas Christians’ to show the great contributions that this Apostle has given for his love and faith for God.

He was eventually martyred for his courageous defence and witness for his faith, and we can see the tremendous change from such a doubter and someone who had a shaky faith, into a firm believer and faithful servant who served God unto his death in martyrdom. Such an example should be an inspiration for each and every one of us that we may grow in faith and love for God from now onwards.

May the Lord continue to guide us and bless us, that each and every one of us may always be blessed by the light of His presence, and be empowered and strengthened just as He has strengthened His Apostles. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019 : Feast of St. Thomas, Apostle (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

John 20 : 24-29

At that time, Thomas, the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with the other Eleven when Jesus came. The other disciples told Him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he replied, “Until I have seen in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in His side, I will not believe.”

Eight days later, the disciples were again inside the house and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see My hands; stretch out your hand, and put it into My side. Do not continue in your unbelief, but believe!”

Thomas said, “You are my Lord and my God.” Jesus replied, “You believe because you see Me, do you not? Happy are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

Wednesday, 3 July 2019 : Feast of St. Thomas, Apostle (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 116 : 1, 2

Alleluia! Praise YHVH, all you nations; all you peoples, praise Him.

How great is His love for us! His faithfulness lasts forever.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019 : Feast of St. Thomas, Apostle (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Ephesians 2 : 19-22

Now, you are no longer strangers or guests, but fellow citizens of the holy people : you are of the household of God. You are the house, whose foundations are the Apostles and prophets, and whose cornerstone is Christ Jesus.

In Him, the whole structure is joined together, and rises, to be a holy Temple, in the Lord. In Him, you, too, are being built, to become the spiritual Sanctuary of God.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019 : Feast of St. Matthias, Apostle (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the feast of one of the Twelve Apostles, although one who was not included in the original list of the Twelve Apostles, namely St. Matthias, who was chosen from among the ranks of the disciples, to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot, who left the number of the Twelve Apostles after his betrayal of the Lord and subsequent suicide.

St. Matthias was chosen because he was among the first disciples whom the Lord had called and stayed on with Him all the way throughout His entire ministry. And upon being chosen, St. Matthias filled the gap that was created by Judas Iscariot, taking up the mantle of responsibility that the Lord has given to the Apostles. He carried on the important task of building and establishing the Church which God had built upon their foundation, and went from place to place proclaiming God’s truth.

It was told that St. Matthias went to places as far as Ethiopia and spread the message of the Gospels in places like Cappadocia in Asia Minor, and eventually was martyred in Jerusalem or in the land of Ethiopia according to the different Apostolic traditions and Church history. St. Matthias chose to devote himself completely and thoroughly to the cause of the Lord and served Him so totally so as to give himself wholly to the mission entrusted to him.

St. Matthias and the other Apostles are good examples and role models for us all to follow, as they have shown us what it truly means to live up to the faith and to be fully dedicated to God in all things. St. Matthias did not shy away from suffering through persecutions and challenges, through pains and tribulations, no matter how hard and difficult they are, he continued to persevere and tried his best to do what the Lord had entrusted to him to do.

Likewise, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we recall the glorious life and memories of the many works of St. Matthias as well as the other Apostles and disciples, we bring to attention our own lives and actions. Have we done with our lives in the way the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord had done with theirs? Have we allowed God to perform His wonders and works with us as He has done with the Apostles?

All of us have to realise that the works of the Apostles were aplenty, and they are still not yet done. Many people have followed in their footsteps throughout history, and many of them suffered in the same way that the Apostles and the early faithful members of the Church had done. But yet, they lived their lives with the same courage and faith, committing themselves completely and wholeheartedly to the Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore reflect and think of what else we can do in our lives to devote ourselves to the Lord and commit ourselves to the will of God. We need to do what we can, imitating the good examples of the Apostles and doing what we can to be witnesses of the faith in the midst of our own respective communities. We can do that by practicing our faith with courage and devoting ourselves wholeheartedly.

If we are sincere and committed in living our lives, surely through our own examples and dedication, others will come to see the Lord being present in our lives, and we will become shining beacons of God’s truth for others to see and believe in. Let us all follow in the footsteps of the Apostles, and do our very best to serve the Lord and to love Him in all of our actions and deeds. May the Lord be with us always and may He continue to bless us and be with us each and every moments of our live, now and forevermore. Amen.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019 : Feast of St. Matthias, Apostle (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

John 15 : 9-17

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “As the Father has loved Me, so I have loved you. Remain in My love! You will remain in My love if you keep My commandments, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love.”

“I have told you all this, that My own joy may be in you, and your joy may be complete. This is My commandment : Love one another as I have loved you! There is no greater love than this, to give one’s life for one’s friends; and you are My friends, if you do what I command you.”

“I shall not call you servants any more, because servants do not know what their master is about. Instead, I have called you friends, since I have made known to you everything I learnt from My Father. You did not choose Me; it was I Who chose you and sent you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last. And everything you ask the Father in My Name, He will give you.”

“This is My command, that you love one another.”

Tuesday, 14 May 2019 : Feast of St. Matthias, Apostle (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 112 : 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8

Alleluia! Praise, o servants of YHVH, praise the Name of YHVH! Blessed be the Name of YHVH now and forever!

From eastern lands to the western islands, may the Name of YHVH be praised! YHVH is exalted over the nations; His glory above the heavens.

Who is like YHVH our God, Who sits enthroned on high, but also bends down to see on earth as in heaven?

He lifts up the poor from the dust and the needy from the ash heap. He makes them sit with princes, with rulers of His people.