Monday, 25 April 2022 : Feast of St. Mark, Evangelist (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the great Feast of one of the Four Evangelists, namely that of St. Mark the Evangelist, who was one of the earliest disciples of the Lord. According to Church traditions, St. Mark was one of the companions of the Apostles, and he interacted closely with the Apostles, continuing the works that the Lord had entrusted to His disciples and followers. In some other traditions, St. Mark was identified with one of the seventy disciples that the Lord Jesus had sent to be His missionaries among the people of God. As such, St. Mark was likely one of the witnesses of the many events surrounding the life and ministry of the Lord.

St. Mark did not only write one of the four canonical Gospels, the Gospel of St. Mark, but he was also instrumental in the establishment of the Church and its hierarchy in several places, most notably in Egypt, where he himself became the first Bishop of Alexandria. Back then, the Hellenistic city of Alexandria was the capital of Roman Egypt and was the second greatest city in the whole Roman Empire. St. Mark helped to build up the strong foundation of the Church in Egypt, which would henceforth become one of the most important centres of Early Christianity, and a focus of many Christians and early Church fathers.

St. Mark took part in many of the important events in the early Church, and was a great shepherd who dedicated himself to his flock, helping the foundation of a strong and living Christian community in Egypt, Africa and beyond. He would later on be martyred for his faith according to the Apostolic tradition, and he died a martyr, after having lived a most exemplary and faithful Christian life. St. Mark had shown all of us what being a Christian is all about, revealing to us what Christian discipleship is, and how we should be living our lives in each and every moments of our lives as true sons and daughters of God.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Epistle of St. Peter, the exhortation from the Prince of the Apostles of the calling that God had made upon each one of us, His beloved people. We are all called to be the ones to proclaim the truth of God to each and every one we encountered in our lives. All of us are entrusted with this same mission that the Lord had given to His Church, and as members of that same Church, we are all part of this great effort in proclaiming the salvation and the love of God in our world today. As Christians, we must have that understanding and realisation that we are called to walk in the same path that St. Mark had once walked before.

This is what the Lord Himself had told us in our Gospel passage today, as He told all of the disciples after His Resurrection, that He would send His disciples to proclaim His Good News to all the corners of the world. They will all go forth and spread the words of truth to everyone they encounter, and they will perform miracles and wonders in His Name. They will have to endure sufferings, trials and challenges for His sake, and they will be persecuted, but only to be triumphant with God at the very end. God will remember them and will save them all.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we heard these readings from the Scriptures, we are all yet again reminded that as those who believe in God, as Christians, we are all called to commit ourselves to proclaim the Risen Lord in our every actions, words and dealings throughout life. We are all presented with the truth and the teachings of the Lord which had been preserved and handed down to us from the Apostles and the many other disciples like St. Mark, who had faithfully kept the Christian faith alive and burning well even throughout the most difficult and challenging moments in the history of the Church.

And what are we going to do about it, brothers and sisters in Christ? Are we not going to follow in the footsteps of St. Mark and the other Apostles, disciples, saints and martyrs of God, all of those who had dedicated their lives and efforts to glorify God by their lives and actions? There are many opportunities that had been given to us, and we have to appreciate just how blessed we are to have been favoured by God as such. We must not take it for granted that we have this faith with us, but we have to continue to nurture it and allow it to grow, that we may be great inspirations for many others.

Let us all therefore strive to do our best to proclaim the Risen Lord, Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, following the examples of St. Mark and the other Apostles and disciples of the Lord. May all of us do our best to proclaim Him and His truth, His love and mercy to the whole world through our own words, actions and deeds. May the Lord be with us all and may He bless our actions and strengthen each and every one of us so that we may always ever be courageous to do His will, and be His witnesses wherever we are, and in whatever opportunities we receive. St. Mark the Evangelist, holy servant of God, pray for us! Amen.

Monday, 25 April 2022 : Feast of St. Mark, Evangelist (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Mark 16 : 15-20

At that time, Jesus told His disciples, “Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News to all creation. The one who believes and is baptised will be saved; the one who refuses to believe will be condemned.”

“Signs like these will accompany those who have believed : in My Name they will cast out demons and speak new languages; they will pick up snakes, and if they drink anything poisonous, they will be unharmed; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.”

So then, after speaking to them, the Lord Jesus was taken up into heaven and took His place at the right hand of God. The Eleven went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it.

Monday, 25 April 2022 : Feast of St. Mark, Evangelist (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 88 : 2-3, 6-7, 16-17

I will sing forever, o Lord, of Your love and proclaim Your faithfulness from age to age. I will declare how steadfast is Your love, how firm Your faithfulness.

The heavens proclaim Your wonders, o Lord; the assembly of the holy ones recalls Your faithfulness. Who in the skies can compare with the Lord; who of the heaven-born is like Him?

Blessed is the people who know Your praise. They walk in the light of Your face. They celebrate all day Your Name and Your protection lifts them up.

Monday, 25 April 2022 : Feast of St. Mark, Evangelist (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

1 Peter 5 : 5b-14

All of you must clothe yourself with humility in your dealings with one another, because God opposes the proud but gives His grace to the humble. Bow down, then, before the power of God so that He will raise you up at the appointed time. Place all your worries on Him since He takes care of you.

Be sober and alert because your enemy the devil prowls about like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. Stand your ground, firm in your faith, knowing that our brothers and sisters, scattered throughout the world, are confronting similar sufferings. God, the Giver of all grace, has called you to share in Christ’s eternal Glory and after you have suffered a little He will bring you to perfection : He will confirm, strengthen and establish You forever. Glory be to Him forever and ever. Amen.

I have had these few lines of encouragement written to you by Silvanus, our brother, whom I know to be trustworthy. For I wanted to remind you of the kindness of God really present in all this. Hold on to it. Greetings from the community in Babylon, gathered by God, and from my son, Mark. Greet one another with a friendly embrace. Peace to you all who are in Christ.

Monday, 27 December 2021 : Feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us celebrate the great feast of one of the Lord’s Twelve Apostles, who happens to be one of the Four great Evangelists as well. St. John the Apostle and Evangelist was one of the two sons of Zebedee together with St. James the Apostle, his elder brother. With St. Peter and St. Andrew, all of them were fishermen in the lake of Galilee. They were all called by the Lord to follow Him, and they left their old profession and their families, committing themselves to the Lord and served Him from then on.

St. John became one of the Lord’s closest disciples, as one of the Twelve Apostles, and also together with St. Peter and St. James, his brother, he was often brought to the most important events in the Lord’s ministry, such as the resurrection of the synagogue official’s dead daughter, the Transfiguration of the Lord at Mount Tabor, and also the moments of Our Lord’s Agony at the Gardens of Gethsemane just before the time of His Passion. He therefore witnessed many of the important events surrounding the Lord’s ministry and works, and was a witness of His miracles and His truth.

St. John the Apostle was one of those who remained by the Lord’s side and kept following Him even up to the moments of His Passion, suffering and death on the Cross. He accompanied Mary, the Lord’s own mother as she came to the foot of the Cross, seeing her own Son being crucified and died before her. It was to St. John that the Lord entrusted His mother, and similarly, He entrusted St. John to Mary as well. St. John therefore was really important in his role in the early Church, as one of the Apostles and close collaborators of the Lord.

And not only that, he also spent many decades in spreading the truth of God all over the known world, travelling from places to places with the other Apostles and disciples, assisting in the foundation of the Church in various places. St. John also wrote several Epistles and letters in addition to his well-known work on one of the four canonical or officially endorsed Gospels. He was also the one who received the vision of the end of times in the Island of Patmos where he was exiled to by the persecution of Christians throughout the Roman Empire. He recorded all that he had seen in what we now know as the Book of Revelations.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we reflect on the life and the ministry of St. John, Holy Apostle and Evangelist, let us all first reflect on what he wrote in his own Epistle, which is in our first reading today. St. John wrote of the Word of Life that has come into this world, and how he and the many other Apostles and disciples had shared and given whatever they had experienced and received from the Lord. He showed us that this same Jesus Christ that we are celebrating this Christmas is the One Who is the Saviour of the world, and the One Who has brought Life upon us.

St. John gave his whole life and did everything he could to glorify the Lord by his life and actions. He encouraged many of the faithful back then who were going through many persecutions, and through his accounts in the Book of Revelations, he encouraged the faithful not to give up on their faith in God as no matter what, in the end, God will come and claim His faithful ones, and those who remain faithful to Him will indeed receive the promise of eternal life, true happiness and everlasting joy with Him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today let us all realise that just as St. John had been called to follow the Lord and be His disciple, all of us have also received the same calling as Christians to follow the Lord and to devote ourselves to Him. This is what we have to remind ourselves well as we continue to celebrate the joy and hope of Christmas in this ongoing Christmas season. We have to remember that we are the witnesses of His truth and love, of the Love of God incarnate in the flesh, in Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour.

Are we able and willing to follow in the footsteps and examples set by St. John the Apostle and Evangelist, brothers and sisters? Are we willing to live our lives wholeheartedly in accordance to our Christian faith, and especially now in our Christmas celebrations by putting Christ at the centre and heart of all of our rejoicing? It is through our genuine faith and sincere commitment to the path that God has shown us that we can inspire so many others to come to believe in the Lord as well.

May the Lord, born in Bethlehem and celebrated by us in this Christmas season, continue to help and guide us in our journey of faith. May St. John, His Holy Apostle and one of the Four great Evangelists continue to inspire us by his examples and intercede for all of us, that God may strengthen our faith and that we will grow ever closer to Him, now and always, forevermore. Amen.

Monday, 27 December 2021 : Feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 20 : 2-8

At that time, Mary of Magdala ran to Peter, and the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and she said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we do not know where they have laid Him.”

Peter then set out with the other disciple to go out to the tomb. They ran together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down and saw the linen cloths lying flat, but he did not enter. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and entered the tomb; he, too, saw the linen cloths lying flat.

The napkin, which had been around His head, was not lying flat like the other linen cloths, but lay rolled up in its place. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in; he saw and believed.

Monday, 27 December 2021 : Feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 96 : 1-2, 5-6, 11-12

The Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice; let the distant islands be glad. Clouds and darkness surround Him; justice and right are His throne.

The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, the Lord of all the earth. The heavens proclaim His justice, all peoples see His glory.

He sheds light upon the upright, and gladness upon the just. Rejoice in the Lord, you who are blameless, and give praise to His holy Name.

Monday, 27 December 2021 : Feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 John 1 : 1-4

This is what has been from the beginning, and what we have heard and have seen with our own eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, I mean the Word Who is Life…

The Life made Itself known, we have seen Eternal Life and we bear witness, and we are telling you of it. It was with the Father and made Himself known to us. So we tell you what we have seen and heard, that you may be in fellowship with us, and us, with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.

And we write this that our joy may be complete.

Monday, 18 October 2021 : Feast of St. Luke, Evangelist (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the Feast of St. Luke the Evangelist, one of the four great Evangelists who wrote the Holy Gospels together with St. Matthew, St. Mark and St. John. According to Apostolic tradition, St. Luke was a physician and a follower and disciple of St. Paul the Apostle, who accompanied him for quite a few of his missionary journeys, and who wrote the accounts of those travels and also other actions of the Apostles in the Acts of the Apostles that he also authored. It was even told in some traditions that he was also the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews.

St. Luke according to different traditions was either a Hellenised Jew or a Greek who embraced the Christian faith as one of the earliest converts and as among the earliest of Christ’s disciples and missionaries. He was a physician and therefore likely highly educated and intelligent, which was also probably why God gave him the gift of wisdom and talent for writing, through which St. Luke recorded the very important events that he heard about the Lord’s life and ministry, and also as inspired by the Holy Spirit, to evangelise to those who have not yet known Him.

St. Luke through his efforts converted many to the Christian faith, turning many people towards the Lord and called them to embrace His truth and love. In his travels with St. Paul, he had assisted the great Apostle in preaching the truth of God, and through his Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, he had reached out even far beyond mere words and interactions, as by his courageous efforts in writing the words of God, he has, just like St. Paul and his many Epistles, kept the faith alive and the truth to remain firmly found in the Sacred Scriptures.

St. Luke continued his ministry among the people of God, ministering to the many people whom he encountered throughout his life and work, and he spread the word of God faithfully according to the tradition of the Church, until he died at an old age in the region of Boeotia in Roman Greece, after a very long life of service to God, and after having bestowed on us the wonders of his work in the Scriptures, which enriched our knowledge of God and His truth. Through his works, all of us ought to have known more about God and His works.

Today, as we celebrate this great feast in honour of St. Luke the Evangelist, all of us are called to be inspired by the faith and the commitment which he has shown in his life and work, and in all that he has done for the greater glory of God. We are called to follow in his examples and to do whatever we can in order to emulate his examples in our own daily lives. We may think that it is impossible for us to be like St. Luke or like any other great saints, but this is not true.

God has called His Apostles and many other disciples from various backgrounds and origins, some rich, some poor, some educated, some illiterate, some privileged and powerful, while others were weak and not noteworthy, and there had been countless of these whom God had called, all sinners, who came to the Lord’s side and listened to His call. They answered Him and His call, and He led them down the path of mission and commitment, as St. Luke and so many other innumerable saints had shown us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us are called to heed the Lord’s call, to be His faithful and committed disciples, in doing His will and in walking down His glorious path. We do not have to do great and wonderful things. Rather, in our own daily living and in every single thing we do, even in the smallest, we should strive to do our best, to show our faith in God and to be inspiration to one another. We are all called to walk down this path of discipleship, with our respective gifts and talents, with all that God has given to us.

Let us all discern carefully our path in life, and let us consider what each and every one of us can do to contribute to the works of the Lord, to the mission which He has entrusted to His Church and to all of us as Christians. We can no longer be idle in our lives as Christians and we should dedicate ourselves from now on to be ever truly faithful to God. Let us be inspired and walk in the path which St. Luke has shown us, that we too may bear rich fruits in faith from now on.

May God bless us all and may He strengthen each and every one of us to live our Christian lives genuinely and be the beacons of God’s light and truth to all who have seen us, witnessed our actions and interacted with us. May our lives bring hope and light of God’s truth, now and always, forevermore. Amen.

Monday, 18 October 2021 : Feast of St. Luke, Evangelist (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Luke 10 : 1-9

At that time, the Lord appointed seventy-two other disciples, and sent them, two by two, ahead of Him, to every town and place, where He Himself was to go. And He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. So you must ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers to His harvest. Courage! I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Set off without purse or bag or sandals; and do not stop at the homes of those you know.”

“Whatever house you enter, first bless them, saying, ‘Peace to this house!’ If a friend of peace lives there, the peace shall rest upon that person. But if not, the blessing will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking at their table, for the worker deserves to be paid. Do not move from house to house.”

“When they welcome you to any town, eat what they offer you. Heal the sick who are there, and say to them : ‘The kingdom of God has drawn near to you.'”