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.”

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

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 115 : 12-13, 14-15, 16-17

How can I repay the Lord for all His goodness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the Name of the Lord.

I will fulfil my vows to the Lord in the presence of all His people. It is painful to the Lord to see the death of His faithful.

O Lord, I am Your servant, truly Your servant, Your handmaid’s son. You have freed me from my bonds. I will offer You a thanksgiving sacrifice; I will call on the Name of the Lord.

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

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 9 : 31-42

Meanwhile, the Church had peace. It was building up throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria with eyes turned to the Lord and filled with comfort from the Holy Spirit.

As Peter travelled around, he went to visit the saints who lived in Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas who was paralysed, and had been bedridden for eight years. Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; get up and make your bed!”

And the man got up at once. All the people living in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord. There was a disciple in Joppa named Tabitha, which means Dorcas or Gazelle. She was always doing good works and helping the poor. At that time she fell sick and died. After having washed her body, they laid her in the upstairs room.

As Lydda is near Joppa, the disciples, on hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request, “Please come to us without delay.” So Peter went with them. On his arrival they took him upstairs to the room. All the widows crowded around him in tears, showing him the clothes that Dorcas had made while she was with them.

Peter made them them all leave the room and then he knelt down and prayed. Turning to the dead body he said, “Tabitha, stand up.” She opened her eyes, looked at Peter and sat up. Peter gave her his hand and helped her up. Then he called in the saints and widows and presented her to them alive.

This became known throughout all of Joppa and many people believed in the Lord because of it.

Friday, 21 April 2017 : Friday within Easter Octave, 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 how the Lord appeared to His disciples by the lake of Galilee, where the disciples had been fishing for day and night without any success. Then, He asked them to follow His instructions, and they obeyed Him, and immediately, they caught so many fishes, that the boat almost sank. And immediately, St. Peter and then the other Apostles recognised Jesus as He was.

In today’s Gospel passage, we saw the fulfilment of what the Lord Himself had spoken to the Apostles when He called them at the same spot, calling His first Apostles from among humble fishermen plying their trade on the lakeside. He called them to leave their nets and livelihood behind, that they would no longer be fishermen catching fishes at the lake, but would become fishers of men. That was the symbolism of the miracle which Jesus performed at that time.

The Church is often portrayed as a boat, helmed by the saints and the martyrs. The Apostles were the ones whom the Lord had entrusted with the foundation of His Church. And they were the workers who ensured that the boat was guided properly and thus was capable of gathering as many fishes as possible into the boat. The fishes represent the people of God, those to whom the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord had been sent to.

In the beginning, when the Lord called them, the disciples followed the Lord, Who asked them to put the net out into the deep waters, and as a result netted plenty of fishes, which was actually a symbolism of what they would be doing as God’s disciples and messengers of His will. God sent His Apostles and disciples to places they would not normally go, to the distant and foreign lands, so that they might be able to preach the Good News and the words of God in those places.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, had the Apostles not done what they had done in preaching the Good News amidst the difficulties and challenges that they faced, and despite all the opposition and lack of faith they encountered, even from the powerful such as the Sadducees and the Pharisees, then many people would not have come to believe in the Lord and His salvation.

There would have been many people who lingered on in the darkness, lacking hope for salvation, because no one had come to them bearing the truth which the Lord had brought with Him into this world. That is why, it is important for us to be courageous in living our faith, so that we may follow in the footsteps of the holy Apostles and martyrs, all those who have listened to the truth of God, and then passed them on to all those who have yet to hear of God’s Good News.

Let us all be inspired by the examples of St. Anselm, the holy bishop and renowned saint, a Doctor of the Church, who lived in the Medieval era Britain, known also as St. Anselm of Canterbury. He was a devout and holy servant of God, who dedicated much of his life in service to God. He strengthened the faith in many of the people entrusted to him as his flock. He stood up for the rights of the Church when it was under threat by the secular government trying to impinge upon the works of salvation and mercy that the Church took up.

St. Anselm was a holy and devout, and yet humble and dedicated man, who committed his life to bring the people of God closer to Him, by helping them to overcome the temptation and falsehoods of the devil as they lived their lives. He was not afraid even to oppose the kings and their followers, especially when they went wayward and abandoned the righteousness that they ought to have done.

He opposed the attempts by the kings and their noble supporters in trying to impose control over the Church and the spiritual matters of the faithful. He courageously stood up for his faith, even to the point of having endured exile and persecution, and yet he never gave up. This is the same kind of commitment and faith which all of us will need to have in our lives, the same devotion and passion to live out our faith as the saints and martyrs of the Lord had once done.

Let us all renew our commitment, and spend our time to help bring the truth of God, not just by words, but also through our actions and deeds. How do we do so? It is by embodying our faith through all and everything that we do, that we can convince others that the Lord’s truth is the one for them. How can we convince others if we ourselves do not practice what we believe in?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all commit ourselves to a life of honesty, of justice, of righteousness, and of goodness, so that we will truly become a people worthy of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us all be joyful this Easter season, by being filled with Easter joy and spirit, that we may always be willing and desiring to help our brethren, all those who are still living in ignorance of the Lord and in the darkness, so that everyone may be saved. Let us all follow in the footsteps of the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord, bringing God’s salvation to all as fishers of men. May God bless us all. Amen.

Friday, 21 April 2017 : Friday within Easter Octave, Memorial of St. Anselm, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
John 21 : 1-14

At that time, after Jesus appeared to Thomas and His disciples, He revealed Himself to them by the lake of Tiberias. He appeared to them in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas who was called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee and two other disciples were together; and Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They replied, “We will come with you.” And they went out and got into the boat, but they caught nothing that night.

When day had already broken, Jesus was standing on the shore, but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus called them, “Friends, have you anything to eat?” They answered, “Nothing.” Then He said to them, “Throw the net on the right side of the boat and you will find something.” When they had lowered the net, they were not able to pull it in because of the great number of fish.”

Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” At these words, “It is the Lord!” Simon Peter put on his clothes, for he was stripped for work, and jumped into the water. The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish; they were not far from land, about a hundred metres.

When they landed, they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it, and some bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” So Simon Peter climbed into the boat and pulled the net to shore. It was full of big fish – one hundred and fifty-three – but, in spite of this, the net was not torn.

Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” And not one of the disciples dared to ask Him, “Who are You?” for they knew it was the Lord. Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and He did the same with the fish. This was the third time that Jesus revealed Himself to His disciples after rising from the dead.

Friday, 21 April 2017 : Friday within Easter Octave, Memorial of St. Anselm, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White
Psalm 117 : 1-2 and 4, 22-24, 25-27a

Alleluia! Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His loving kindness endures forever. Let Israel say, “His loving kindness endures forever.” Let those who fear the Lord say, “His loving kindness endures forever.”

The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing and we marvel at it. This is the day the Lord has made; so let us rejoice and be glad.

Save us, o Lord, deliver us, o Lord! Blessed is He Who comes in the Lord’s Name! We bless you from the house of the Lord. The Lord is God; may His light shine upon us.