Tuesday, 7 April 2020 : Tuesday of Holy Week (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we draw closer to the glorious Easter Triduum, we should all be preparing for the celebration of this venerable and great celebration, by spending more time with God, devoting our time to reflect on our lives, doing spiritual exercises and focusing our attention on the Lord and on what He has done in order to bring His salvation to all of us. He has willingly embraced the burden of the Cross and endure all the pain and suffering for our sake, that we may be saved.

In our first reading today taken from the Book of the prophet Isaiah, we heard of the Lord speaking to His people about the coming of His Servant by Whom salvation of the world would come. The light of the nations shall come forth from the Saviour sent by God, and all of these brought hope to the people of God then suffering and oppressed, with the northern kingdom of Israel then having been conquered by the Assyrians and its people brought into exile in far-off lands. The southern kingdom of Judah then were also troubled by the Assyrians who once sent a great army to besiege Jerusalem.

God essentially promised to save His people, and all of these were to be fulfilled through Christ, the Son of God, Whom He sent into this world to be its Saviour. And in our Gospel today, we heard the narrative heading towards its climax, as the Lord and His disciples talked about His impending suffering and death, and the Lord speaking openly before all of them how He would be betrayed by one of His own closest confidants, namely Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And He also foretold of St. Peter’s denial of Himself, which would happen when He was arrested.

All of the readings today help us to focus our attention to the upcoming celebrations of the Easter Triduum when we are going to enter into those most important moments in the history of our salvation. We are called to spend this time to reflect on God’s amazing and ever enduring love for us all that He was willing to go through all the challenges and troubles to save us from our distress and troubles. We are called to look towards our Lord and Saviour especially in these dark and difficult times.

We all know how the current global pandemic has been severely affecting many communities and peoples all around the world. Many people have suffered and are still suffering, hundreds of thousands are being hospitalised, tens of thousands had perished from this disease. Many others had lost their jobs and employments, many of them were struggling to make ends meet as they were breadwinners for their respective families. Many are worried how they are going to live through these difficult moments, with all the restrictions and limitations in place.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is exactly where more importantly for us all that we must direct our attention to the Lord, and commit ourselves with greater zeal and faith in God. This is the time for us to remember that no matter how dark and difficult the times may be, but God’s love and providence are even more powerful and are greater than all the sum of our fears and insecurities. We must have faith in God and trust in Him that He will provide for us and will not abandon us to the darkness.

Sadly this is where we know that the devil is very cunning, in trying to heighten our fears and make us distracted from God, by making us feel scared and lonely in this difficult moment, with all the fake news and fear-mongering being everywhere all around us. Because of this, we see all the selfish attitudes of people who are hoarding goods and essential items, which denied those people who really need them of the things necessary for them to sustain themselves.

And many of these attitudes and selfishness are sadly shown by some of us Christians, who placed our own needs and desires above that of the rest, even causing harm and hurt to others just so that we can safeguard our own interests and indulge in our own desires. And this is where we must be always vigilant, that we do not end up falling into temptation like how Judas Iscariot fell into the temptation of quick money and personal benefit, ending up committing a great sin before God and mankind alike. We must make use of this opportunity instead to allow our Christian faith and virtues to shine brightly in the midst of all the darkness.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore make good use of this Holy Week and make it a meaningful time for each and every one of us. May we bear in our lives the spirit of openness and humility, allowing God to be glorified through our actions and our lives, that we may bring the light of Christ and the hope of Easter to our brothers and sisters, to all those who are now suffering and in despair. Let us all bring forth God’s light and dispel the darkness of fear, uncertainty and evil in our midst. Trust in God and put our complete faith in Him, for in Him alone is our sure assistance. May God bless us all, now and always. Amen.

Tuesday, 7 April 2020 : Tuesday of Holy Week (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

John 13 : 21-33, 36-38

At that time, after He said a discourse to His disciples after He washed their feet, Jesus was distressed in Spirit, and said plainly, “Truly, one of you will betray Me.” The disciples then looked at one another, wondering whom He meant. One of the disciples, the one Jesus loved, was reclining near Jesus; so Simon Peter signalled him to ask Jesus whom He meant.

And the disciple, who was reclining near Jesus, asked Him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “I shall dip a piece of bread in the dish, and he to whom I give it, is the one.” So Jesus dipped the bread and gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And as Judas took the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus then said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”

None of the others, reclining at the table, understood why Jesus said this to Judas. As Judas had the common purse, they may have thought that Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or “Give something to the poor.” Judas left as soon as he had eaten the bread. It was night.

When Judas had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him. God will glorify Him, and He will glorify Him very soon. My children, I am with you for only a little while; you will look for Me, but as I already told the Jews, so now I tell you : where I am going you cannot come.”

Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, where are You going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but afterwards you will.” Peter said, “Lord, why can I not follow You now? I am ready to give my life for You.”

“To give your life for Me?” Jesus asked Peter, “Truly I tell you, the cock will not crow, before you have denied Me three times.”

Tuesday, 7 April 2020 : Tuesday of Holy Week (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 70 : 1-2, 3-4a, 5-6ab, 15 and 17

In You, o Lord, I seek refuge; let me not be disgraced. In Your justice help me and deliver me, turn Your ear to me and save me!

Be my Rock of refuge, a Stronghold to give me safety, for You are my Rock and my Fortress. Rescue me, o my God, from the hand of the wicked.

For You, o Lord, have been my Hope, my Trust, o God, from my youth. I have relied on You from birth : from my mother’s womb You brought me forth.

My lips will proclaim Your intervention and tell of Your salvation all day, little though it is what I can understand. You have taught me from my youth and until now I proclaim Your marvels.

Tuesday, 7 April 2020 : Tuesday of Holy Week (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Isaiah 49 : 1-6

Listen to me, o islands, pay attention, peoples from distant lands. YHVH called me from my mother’s womb; He pronounced my name before I was born. He made my mouth like a sharpened sword. He hid me in the shadow of His hand. He made me into a polished arrow set apart in His quiver.

He said to me, “You are Israel, my servant, through you I will be known.” “I have laboured in vain,” I thought, “and spent my strength for nothing.” Yet what is due me was in the hand of YHVH, and my reward was with my God. I am important in the sight of YHVH, and my God is my Strength.

And now YHVH has spoken, He Who formed me in the womb to be His servant, to bring Jacob back to Him, to gather Israel to Him. He said : “It is not enough that you be My servant, to restore the tribes of Jacob, to bring back the remnant of Israel. I will make you the light of the nations, that My salvation will reach to the ends of the earth.”

Tuesday, 3 April 2018 : Tuesday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we continue to hear the testimony of St. Peter the Apostle, who spoke to the multitudes of people gathered in Jerusalem, about the Lord Jesus Christ, Saviour of all mankind, by Whose death and resurrection He had given all of us a new hope of being saved and being liberated from the tyranny of sin.

Then in the Gospel, we heard about the Lord Who appeared to Mary Magdalene, one of His closest disciples, right after He was risen from the dead. Mary was distraught and sorrowful, thinking that someone had indeed stolen the body of the Lord, but the Lord appeared to her and showed her the truth, how He has conquered death, and by appearing to her in the flesh, He proved that He has indeed truly risen from the dead.

Whatever St. Peter and St. Mary Magdalene has witnessed, of the Lord Who fulfilled all of His words and promises, was based on true witness and true senses, as the disciples saw with their own eyes, heard with their own ears, and touched with their own hands and limbs, the Lord resurrected from the dead, in the Body and in His real presence. He was not a mere Spirit or Ghost, but present again amongst them in Body, until the day when He ascended into heaven.

And that is why the Apostles and the disciples were so courageous and so devoted in spreading the truth and their witness of the Resurrection. Had the resurrection of the Lord been a lie, as propagated by the chief priests and the Pharisees, who tried to prevent the truth from going out to the public, the disciples would not have done what they have done, even risking suffering and martyrdom for the sake of the Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, although we have not seen the Lord risen in person, but we too believe in the Risen Christ. Why is that so? That is because the Apostles who witnessed to the truth, spoke up about the truth, and did not hide anything from those to whom they spoke. In that way, they passed on the faith they had to their successors, the bishops and priests of the Church, and from them, to all of us the faithful throughout the ages.

Now, we are called to the same calling and to the same ministry as the Lord has given to His Apostles and disciples. All of us who have received the sacrament of holy baptism and therefore become a member of the Church are called to be witnesses of the Lord’s life, work, death and resurrection that is to speak the same truth as the Apostles and the disciples of Christ had spoken.

This is what each and every one of us as a baptised Christian have to do. It does not mean that we should go to the streets and preach about the Lord’s Good News, as indeed, we can speak directly of His truth to others just as St. Peter had done, but more importantly, have we embodied our faith in our own respective lives? Have we lived our lives filled with actions that truly mark us all as people worthy of God’s grace and love?

Let us all make this to be our Easter commitment and resolution, to be ever better Christians, devoting our time and effort to be the Lord’s faithful and hardworking servants, that through us and our works, we may bring more and more souls closer to God’s redeeming grace. As such, more and more people will come to receive God’s salvation and more souls will be saved from the threat of eternal damnation in hell.

May the Lord be with us all, that we may be ever more courageous in our faith, so that we will always persevere through the challenges we may face if we continue to be faithful Christians, devoted to the Lord our God. Amen.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018 : Tuesday within Easter Octave (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 20 : 11-18

At that time, Mary stood weeping outside the tomb; and as she wept, she bent down to look inside. She saw two Angels in white, sitting where the Body of Jesus had been, one at the head, and the other at the feet. They said, “Woman, why are you weeping?”

She answered, “Because they have taken my Lord and I do not know where they have put Him.” As she said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not recognise Him. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?”

She thought it was the gardener and answered Him, “Lord, if You have taken Him away, tell me where You have put Him, and I will go and remove Him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned, and said to Him, “Rabboni!” – which means Master. Jesus said to her, “Do not touch Me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to My brothers and say to them : I am ascending to My Father, Who is your Father, to My God, Who is your God.”

So Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord, and this is what He said to me.”

Tuesday, 3 April 2018 : Tuesday within Easter Octave (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 32 : 4-5, 18-19, 20 and 22

For upright is the Lord’s word and worthy of trust is His work. The Lord loves justice and righteousness; the earth is full of His kindness.

But the Lord’s eyes are upon those who fear Him, upon those who trust in His loving-kindness to deliver them from death and preserve them from famine.

In hope we wait for the Lord for He is our help and our shield. O Lord, let Your love rest upon us, even as our hope rests in You.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018 : Tuesday within Easter Octave (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 2 : 36-41

Peter said, “Let Israel then know for sure that God has made Lord and Christ this Jesus Whom you crucified.” When they heard this, they were deeply troubled. And they asked Peter and the other Apostles, “What shall we do, brothers?”

Peter answered : “Each of you must repent and be baptised in the Name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins may be forgiven. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise of God was made to you and your children, and to all those from afar whom our God may call.”

With many other words Peter gave the message and appealed to them saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who accepted his word were baptised; some three thousand persons were added to their numbers that day.