Wednesday, 21 April 2021 : 3rd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Anselm, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scripture we are called to reflect on them and think of our calling as Christians in proclaiming the truth of God in the midst of our respective communities, and we are reminded that we are God’s beloved ones, God’s chosen ones, that He has called to be His witnesses towards those who have not yet known Him, to bring forth all those whom God had called to Him.

As Christians, it is our responsibility, our duty and obligation to reach out to our fellow brethren, to those who have not yet known the truth about God. We are all called to reach out to those who are still living in ignorance or in exclusion from God. And we are all called to be God’s faithful witnesses through our lives, by our every words, actions and deeds that we may indeed show what our Christian faith is truly all about. It means that we ourselves have to be genuine in our Christian living and must have true love for God in order to do so.

We are preaching about Christ, Our Lord and Saviour, the Bread of Life, Whom we heard in our Gospel passage today in the continuation of the Bread of Life discourse, revealing more and more about Himself to the people, that He is the Holy One of God, sent into the world to save us all. By the offering, breaking and shedding of His own Most Precious Body and Blood, He would bring the salvation of God to all, and gather everyone to Himself. The Lord loved us so much that He did all this, through His most loving sacrifice on the Cross.

All of us as His followers, as those who believe in Him are those who are charged with the continuation of His works, His most loving ministry, reaching out to everyone in need of His light and truth. All of us God’s followers are called to follow His examples in showing the light of His love to all the peoples, to be walking in the footsteps of the Apostles, like St. Philip who went about in Samaria and other places, speaking the truth of God and who eventually later on, would encounter an official from Ethiopia, whom he evangelised to and managed to convince to be baptised.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we gather together celebrating the continued joy of Easter, let us all remind ourselves of our Christian calling and obligation, to be part of the efforts of the Church to be witnesses of our Lord and His Resurrection, to all the peoples of all the nations. We have been called to be these witnesses, through our own lives and actions, that everyone who sees us, hears us, and witnesses our actions may also come to believe in the Lord through us, and be inspired to follow Him and walk in His path following our own examples.

That is why, today all of us should be inspired by the good examples set by St. Anselm, whose feast day we are celebrating this day. St. Anselm was the Archbishop of Canterbury during the Middle Ages renowned and remembered for his piety, faith and dedication to the mission entrusted to him, in which he helped to steer the Church through difficult and turbulent times, having to endure challenges and even opposition from the kings of England, who wanted to bring the Church under their control. St. Anselm resisted those efforts and helped to keep the Church faithful and true to its missions.

He was remembered for his great piety and faith throughout his as a monk and later on as abbot for many years, before he was chosen to be the Archbishop of Canterbury, the principal Archbishop in England and the leader of the English Church. The king desired control over the Church lands and influences, and therefore came into conflict with St. Anselm and the other prelates. While initially reluctant to take up the position as Archbishop of Canterbury, St. Anselm dedicated himself later on to pursue the reforms of the Church, the works of evangelisation and the freedom of the Church from secular control and influences.

All these brought him many sufferings and trials, having to endure not once but twice exile from England, while he continued to faithfully serve the Lord and His people over all those years of his service as Archbishop and leader of the faithful. He remained firm to his convictions to the end, and his faith and dedication inspired many people in the following centuries right up to this very day. Are we ourselves inspired by the examples and the faith of St. Anselm, brothers and sisters in Christ?

Let us all seek the Lord therefore with a renewed conviction and desire to love Him with all our heart and with all of our strength just as showed by the Apostles, the holy saints and martyrs, especially St. Anselm, whose memory we recall today. Let us all glorify the Lord by our lives and let us be great witnesses of Our Lord in the midst of our families, our communities and among all those whom we encounter each day in life. Amen.

Wednesday, 21 April 2021 : 3rd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Anselm, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 6 : 35-40

At that time, Jesus said to the people, “I am the Bread of Life; whoever comes to Me shall never be hungry, and whoever believes in Me shall never be thirsty. Nevertheless, as I said, you refuse to believe, even when you have seen. Yet all those whom the Father gives Me will come to Me, and whoever comes to Me, I shall not turn away. For I have come from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of the One Who sent Me.”

“And the will of Him Who sent Me is that I lose nothing of what He has given Me, but instead that I raise it up on the last day. This is the will of the Father, that whoever sees the Son and believes in Him shall live eternal life; and I will raise him up on the last day.”

Wednesday, 21 April 2021 : 3rd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Anselm, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 65 : 1-3a, 4-5, 6-7a

Shout with joy to God, all you on earth; sing to the glory of His Name; proclaim His glorious praise. Say to God, “How great are Your deeds!”

All the earth bows down to You, making music, in praise of You, singing in honour of Your Name. Come, and see God’s wonders; His deeds, awesome for humans.

He has turned the sea into dry land, and the river was crossed on foot. Let us, therefore, rejoice in Him. He rules by His might forever.

Wednesday, 21 April 2021 : 3rd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Anselm, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 8 : 1b-8

This was the beginning of a great persecution against the Church in Jerusalem. All, except the Apostles, were scattered throughout the region of Judea and Samaria. Devout men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. Saul, meanwhile, was trying to destroy the Church. He entered house after house and dragged off men and women, and had them put in jail.

At the same time, those who were scattered went about, preaching the word. Philip went down to a town of Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there. All the people paid close attention to what Philip said as they listened to him, and saw the miraculous signs that he did. For, in cases of possession, the unclean spirits came out shrieking loudly. Many people who were paralysed or crippled, were healed. So there was great joy in the town.

Tuesday, 21 April 2020 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Anselm, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard of the salvation which God has bestowed upon us all through Christ, His beloved Son, by which all of us have been delivered from the precipice of destruction and death. That is what we have heard in our readings today, as we learn how we ought to love as Christians, living in grace and filled with the love of Christ in all things, as how the first Christians lived.

In our first reading today we heard from the Acts of the Apostles on the lives of the first Christians, on how they cared for one another, being very generous with their care and love, their sharing of God’s blessings with one another that no one were left out. They lived in the state of a wonderful bliss and grace, filled with the Holy Spirit, as people who have been reborn anew in God through the Spirit, exactly what the Lord had said to Nicodemus during their meeting.

The Lord had told Nicodemus that everyone who believe in Him ought to be reborn again in the Spirit, and this referred to the Baptism that we have all received at the time when we received that Sacrament, whether as infants or as adult converts. And through Baptism, all of us have been made sharers in the Lord’s Passion, suffering, death and resurrection. We have become sharers in His death, as we die to our sins and wickedness united to the Cross of Christ, by which He bore all of our sins and died for us, and then we are united in His resurrection into new life.

Yes, and this is how we enter into this new life and existence in God, a new life filled with love and the grace of God, an existence in the Holy Spirit of God. And we are also reminded how the Lord has also called us to reflect on the salvation which He has given to us, this new hope we have received through His Sacrifice on the Cross. The Lord Jesus revealed to Nicodemus how He Himself would do as how Moses lifted up the bronze serpent to save many of the Israelites who rebelled against God, and He Himself was lifted up on the Cross for all to us.

All of us, who have rebelled against God and therefore fallen into sin, are just like those Israelites who suffered and were about to perish from the folly of their actions, their rebellious attitudes, and the Lord had mercy and took pity on all of them. When Moses interceded on behalf of the people and crafted the bronze serpent that all who saw the bronze serpent would not die but live, it was a prefigurement of what the Lord Himself would be doing for the fulfilment of His promised salvation.

This time, it was the Lord Himself Who interceded on our behalf, as our High Priest, lifting Himself up on the Cross, offering His own Precious Body and Blood as a worthy sacrifice, the slaughtering of the Paschal Lamb for the atonement of our sins. He has done all these because of His everlasting, ever-enduring and most magnificent love for us all, that even when we have sinned against Him and wronged Him on so many occasions, He is still patient for us, waiting for us to return to Him and to be reconciled with Him.

He has given us all a new lease of life, giving us a new hope of life and a new existence through Him. He has called us all to embrace His mercy and forgiveness, to be cleansed from the many corruptions of our sins and to walk once again in His grace and in His path. As Christians, are we then willing and able to commit ourselves to walk with God down this new path in life? Are we able to endure the challenges and trials that we may encounter along this journey of faith?

Now, all of us are living in a particularly difficult time in our lives with so many troubles besetting many of us and our communities in this year alone. This is why perhaps it is time for us to be those beacons of hope and the light for others to brighten their lives and light their way out of the darkness. Are we willing and able to bring hope to our fellow brothers and sisters around us, especially to those who are in need of hope, in need of love, care, attention and some compassion? Let us look at the example set by our predecessors in faith for inspiration.

Today, we also celebrate the feast of St. Anselm, one of our holy predecessors, who was a renowned bishop and a Doctor of the Church. St. Anselm was remembered especially for his role as the Archbishop of Canterbury and therefore the Primate of England, originally a monk and abbot who laboured hard throughout Christendom in reforming the Church and the faith, and was then entrusted with the role of the leader of the Church in England by its king.

St. Anselm devoted himself to his office and calling, leading a virtuous and upright life, and showed exemplary faith throughout his years in ministry, and had to go up against even the opposition from the king and his enemies, that in fact he had to endure exile twice from his See. St. Anselm devoted himself and his life to reforming the corrupt practices of the government and the Church at his time regardless, giving his trust fully in God and bringing His love and compassion to all of his flock.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all embrace God’s love and compassion fully as St. Anselm had once done, and pass that same love and share them to one another. May the Lord be our guide and help us in our journey of faith, that we may always be faithful in walking down the path that God has set before us. May the Lord give us the strength and the courage to persevere through the various trials and difficulties we may have to face along this journey. Amen.

Tuesday, 21 April 2020 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Anselm, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 3 : 7b-15

Jesus said to Nicodemus, “You must be born again from above. The wind blows where it pleases and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. It is like that with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Nicodemus asked again, “How can this be?” And Jesus answered, “You are a teacher in Israel, and you do not know these things! Truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and we witness to the things we have seen, but you do not accept Our testimony. If you do not believe when I speak of earthly things, what then, when I speak to you of heavenly things? No one has ever gone up to heaven except the One Who came from heaven, the Son of Man.”

“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life.”

Tuesday, 21 April 2020 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Anselm, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 92 : 1ab, 1c-2, 5

YHVH reigns, robed in majesty; YHVH is girded with strength.

The world now, is firm; it cannot be moved. Your throne stands from long ago, o YHVH; from all eternity You are.

Your decrees can be trusted; holiness dwells in Your House, day after day, without end, o YHVH.

Tuesday, 21 April 2020 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Anselm, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 4 : 32-37

The whole community of believers was one in heart and mind. No one claimed private ownership of any possessions; but rather, they shared all things in common. With great power, the Apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, for all of them were living in an exceptional time of grace.

There was no needy person among them, for those who owned land or houses, sold them and brought the proceeds of the sale. And they laid it at the feet of the Apostles, who distributed it, according to each one’s need. This is what a certain Joseph did. He was a Levite from Cyprus, whom the Apostles called Barnabas, meaning : “The encouraging one.” He sold a field which he owned and handed the money to the Apostles.

Saturday, 21 April 2018 : 3rd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Anselm, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are reminded that as a disciple and follower of the Lord, we have a lot of responsibilities in our lives as well as work to do, in facing occasions when we need to stand up for our faith facing the challenges and obstacles that will be on our path if we remain faithful to God.

In the first reading today, we heard of how the Apostle St. Peter travelled from place to place, preaching about the Lord and performing many miraculous works, healing people who were sick, infirm and disabled. Eventually, he also performed what many people thought was impossible, that is to return someone who had died, back into life. Yet, that had exactly happened, just as the Lord Jesus Himself brought Lazarus back to life.

In the Gospel passage, the Lord Jesus spoke to His disciples regarding what they have heard Him teaching the people, on Himself as the Living Bread, the Bread of Life, by the giving of His own Body and by the outpouring of His own Blood, which in fact turned off many people who could not believe that someone would give His own Body and His own Blood for others to eat and drink.

They could not understand in their simple minds about the revelation which God had brought to them. To them it is inconceivable and impossible for a man to do as what the Lord Jesus had said, and they could not bring themselves to believe it. But that is because they were thinking in worldly terms and not in terms of God. Yet, that is the reality and the truth, just as a man and a girl who had died, could return to life once again, as the Lord Jesus and His Apostle, St. Peter had done.

As Christians, all of us stand by the Lord’s ways, which often may seem to be strange or even incomprehensible to those who live by the ways of the world. And as such, there may be occasions when we will be ridiculed, rejected and shunned by others, even by those who are close to us, because we stand by firmly to our faith in God and not following what is common to those in this world.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, now, let us ask ourselves, are we able to stand by the Lord faithfully in the same manner as the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord had done? Are we able to commit ourselves in the same way as they had? Many people refused to believe what the Lord had said, left Him behind and went on their own way. But the disciples remained firm in their conviction and faith, despite of all that they have just experienced and heard.

What all of these are telling us, is the fact that as Christians, all of us will be tempted from all sides and sources, to abandon the Lord and to walk on their own path. But we have to persevere through all of these challenges and temptations, for should we fail to do so, what is at stake is nothing less than the fate of our eternal soul. And it is through Christ alone that we can reach out to the Lord and be saved.

Let us all look at the faith that our holy predecessor, St. Anselm of Canterbury had once shown, which became inspiration for many others. On this day, as we celebrate his feast and remember his actions, as the Archbishop of Canterbury, who faithfully served his flock and cared for the needs of all those who have been entrusted to him. He even resisted the secular authorities, of kings and nobles who tried to intrude into the governance of the Church.

For that, he had to endure opposition, persecution and exile. He had to endure painful suffering and opposition from the powerful lords and especially the king of England who wanted to make the Church in his domains subservient to his rule and whim. He struggled faithfully and remained firm in his faith, not giving in to the temptations or to the persuasions. In the end, the truth triumphed and St. Anselm shared in the glory of God’s Apostles and His saints.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all walk in the same path as walked by St. Anselm, in his faith and devotion, in his commitment and outreach, all the effort he had put in place to serve the people of God with faith. Let us all seek to be faithful at all times, and devote ourselves, our time and attention to be with God, to love Him with all of our strength, as we should, now and forevermore. Amen.

Saturday, 21 April 2018 : 3rd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Anselm, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 6 : 60-69

At that time, after the Jews heard Jesus, many of His followers said, “This language is very hard! Who can accept it?”

Jesus was aware that His disciples were murmuring about this, and so He said to them, “Does this offend you? Then how will you react when you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before? It is the Spirit that gives life, not the flesh. The words that I have spoken to you are Spirit and they are life. But among you there are some who do not believe.”

From the beginning, Jesus knew who would betray Him. So He added, “As I have told you, no one can come to Me unless it is granted by the Father.” After this many disciples withdrew and no longer followed Him. Jesus asked the Twelve, “Will you also go away?

Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We now believe and know that You are the Holy One of God.”