Saturday, 10 April 2021 : Saturday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures we are called to be courageous in proclaiming our faith and the truth about the Lord and His Resurrection, His salvation and glory in the midst of our communities, among the communities and the peoples we are living with in this world, to be genuine Christians in all of our words, actions and deeds. We have to be faithful in the mission which God has entrusted to us all, His Church.

In our first reading today we heard the consternation and disbelief among the members of the Sanhedrin during the time when they took in the Apostles St. Peter and St. John for questioning, when they were interrogated for their activities. The Sanhedrin were surprised and amazed that the Lord Jesus and His works continued even after His death, as they likely believed that they had gotten rid of Him once and for all. And the great wisdom and courage showed by the two Apostles greatly unsettled them.

That the Apostles spoke courageously of the salvation of God that had come through Christ, recently crucified and handed over by the Sanhedrin to the Romans, and proclaimed as risen from the dead angered quite a few of the Sanhedrin members who were more hardline in their beliefs and opposition against the Lord, but the more moderate members cautioned violence and hardhanded actions against the followers of the Lord.

As such, the Apostles were released with just a stern warning that they were not to continue preaching in the Name of the Lord or continue their mission. But certainly, as we have seen, the Apostles refused to obey such a human order, and instead, continued to preach the truth of the Lord, proclaim His Resurrection and way to all the people, the Jews and the Gentiles alike without fear. They persevered through the challenges and trials, the persecutions and oppositions they faced, and remained true to the mission entrusted to them by God.

It is that same mission which we have heard in our Gospel passage today that the disciples and followers of the Lord had dedicated themselves to, following God with all of their strength to proclaim His Good News to the nations, as the Lord Himself commanded them all to “Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News to all creation.” Through this commandment, the Lord has sent all of His followers to be missionaries of the faith, and the witnesses to His truth to all the people, calling more and more to Himself.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, it is the same mission that we have been entrusted with, as members of the Church and through our common baptism, by which we have been made sharers in the same mission of the Lord, to reach out and evangelise the many peoples of the world, of all the nations, and to be witnesses of the Lord’s truth and Resurrection. And the works of the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord were far from done, as there are indeed still so many opportunities and avenues through which more and more can be saved.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, are we willing to contribute to this calling and mission we have? Are we willing to spend the time and effort to be true disciples of the Lord, that is not just in name or formality only, but also through real action and works? This is what we have been constantly reminded through this Easter season thus far, to be the living Church, continuing the works of the Apostles in our present day world and communities. As Christians, we have to be active in living our faith and be good role models and examples for our fellow brethren.

Let us all therefore do whatever we can, in whatever little and small things we can do each day, to reach out to our fellow brethren and be ever more committed to serve the Lord through our actions, through our charitable deeds and real, genuine concern for our fellow brothers and sisters. We are all called to be generous in our love and in our outreach, that more and more may come to know of God and His love through us, so that many more souls may come to repentance and reconciliation with Him, and thus be worthy to enter into eternal life and glory.

May God bless all of our efforts and endeavours, and may He, Our Risen Lord and Saviour, help us all to remain firm in faith and to be strong and courageous just as He has strengthened His Apostles and disciples to speak up and stand up for their faith before the Sanhedrin and those who doubted and oppressed them. Be with us, Lord, always, now and forevermore. Amen.

Saturday, 10 April 2021 : Saturday within Easter Octave (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Mark 16 : 9-15

At that time, after Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary of Magdala, from whom He had driven out seven demons. She went and reported the news to His followers, who were now mourning and weeping. But when they heard that He lived, and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.

After this He showed Himself in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. These men also went back and told the others, but they did not believe them. Later Jesus showed Himself to the Eleven while they were at table. He reproached them for their unbelief, and stubbornness, in refusing to believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.

Then He told them, “Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News to all creation.”

Saturday, 10 April 2021 : Saturday within Easter Octave (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 117 : 1 and 14-15, 16ab-18, 19-21

Alleluia! Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His loving kindness endures forever. The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation. Joyful shouts of victory are heard in the tents of the just : The right hand of the Lord strikes mightily.

The right hand of the Lord is lifted high, the right hand of the Lord strikes mightily! I shall not die, but live to proclaim what the Lord has done. The Lord has stricken me severely, but He has saved me from death.

Open to me the gates of the Just, and let me enter to give thanks. “This is the Lord’s gate, through which the upright enter.” I thank You for having answered me, for having rescued me.

Saturday, 10 April 2021 : Saturday within Easter Octave (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 4 : 13-21

The Jewish leaders, elders and teachers of the Law were astonished at the boldness of Peter and John, considering that they were uneducated and untrained men. They recognised also, that they had been with Jesus, but, as the man who had been cured stood beside them, they could make no reply.

So they ordered them to leave the council room while they consulted with one another. They asked, “What shall we do with these men? Everyone who lives in Jerusalem knows that a remarkable sign has been given through them, and we cannot deny it. But to stop this from spreading any further among the people, let us warn them never again to speak to anyone in the Name of Jesus.”

So they called them back and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the Name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s eyes for us to obey you rather than God. We cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

Then the council threatened them once more and let them go. They could find no way of punishing them because of the people who glorified God for what happened.

Friday, 9 April 2021 : Friday within Easter Octave (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, 9 April 2021 : Friday within Easter Octave (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.

Friday, 9 April 2021 : Friday within Easter Octave (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 4 : 1-12

While Peter and John were still speaking to the people, the priests, the captain of the Temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them. They were greatly disturbed because the Apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming that resurrection from the dead had been proved in the case of Jesus.

Since it was already evening, they arrested them and put them in custody until the following day. But despite this, many of those who heard the Message believed and their number increased to about five thousand. The next day, the Jewish leaders, elders and teachers of the Law assembled in Jerusalem. Annas, the High Priest, Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and all who were of the high priestly class were there.

They brought Peter and John before them and began to question them, “How did you do this? Whose Name did you use?” Then Peter filled with the Holy Spirit, spoke up, “Leaders of the people! Elders! It is a fact that we are being examined today for a good deed done to a cripple. How was he healed? You and all the people of Israel must know that this man stands before you cured through the Name of Jesus Christ the Nazarean.”

“You had Him crucified, but God raised Him from the dead. Jesus is the stone rejected by you the builders which has become the cornerstone. There is no salvation in anyone else, for there is no other Name given to humankind all over the world by which we may be saved.”

Thursday, 8 April 2021 : Thursday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we listened to the words of the Scripture telling us about the fulfilment of God’s promises through Christ, His Son, Our Lord and Saviour, through Whom God willed to reconcile us all to Himself, by Christ’s most selfless and loving sacrifice on the Cross, and by His Resurrection. All the prophets and the promises that God had made, pointed at Christ and what He would do for the salvation of all mankind.

In our first reading today, we heard of the continuation of the testimony of faith made by St. Peter and St. John before the people who were assembled seeing the great miracle that happened to a paralytic man healed from his condition after being sick for so many years. And St. Peter spoke of how it was through Christ, the Saviour Who had then just been recently crucified, that the Apostles had healed the paralysed man, and made him whole again.

St. Peter reminded the people that the Lord had promised all that had happened, through His prophets and messengers, from the days of Moses and even earlier, as God promised Abraham, their forefather. All that God had promised would come true in Jesus Christ, Who had brought the truth about the salvation of God to the midst of His people, and Whom, through His crucifixion, His suffering and death on the Cross, and finally the Resurrection, brought all mankind to the promise of eternal life.

We need to understand that it was this same people who had been in Jerusalem and witnessed everything that happened during the Lord’s Passion, His crucifixion and death. And while the Apostles and many of the disciples themselves had seen the Risen Lord, and many others had witnessed the occurrences on the Sunday of the Resurrection, when tombs were opened and many souls of the faithful came forth, risen with the Lord, but many among them did not yet know what had truly happened.

Therefore, St. Peter and the other Apostles, with the early Christian communities proclaimed the truth of what they had witnessed and known before all the people, to reveal to them the truth of God and His salvation. They did not have it easy as they often encountered a lot of opposition and challenges, and yet, they continued to persevere and reached out to others with the same truth because they themselves had seen the Lord as we heard in our Gospel today, of the moment when the Risen Lord Himself appeared in the flesh before them.

Had the Resurrection been false, those Apostles and disciples of the Lord would not have wanted to do so much for a lost cause, and they would have been disbanded and scattered, just as what happened to the other false Messiahs that had come up at that time. Instead, the early Christian Church grew and grew even stronger despite the challenges and persecutions it received. And with the many martyrs, more and more became inspired to follow the Lord rather than to abandon Him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as the Lord Himself said in today’s Gospel passage that the disciples were witnesses to everything that had happened, we too have a share of this truth by what we have received from the Church, the sacred tradition and faith that came to us from the Apostles themselves, preserved unchanged for the past two millennia. The Lord had entrusted to us, His Church to be His witnesses in the world today, to proclaim His truth among the nations, to reach out to those who have not yet known the truth.

Are we willing and able to commit ourselves to this cause, brothers and sisters in Christ? This is our calling, as Christians, to each and every one of us. We are all called to be good witnesses of our Lord’s truth and Resurrection in our respective communities, and as such, we should be good role models and examples for our fellow men and women, and through our actions, words and deeds grounded in our Christian faith, we should be the shining beacons of truth to all others.

Let us all as we journey through this season of Easter be renewed in our commitment to the Lord and be more willing to do our best to serve the Lord for His greater glory. Let us all be true to our calling as Christians and dedicate ourselves ever more to God, from now on. May God bless us all and our every endeavours, now and always. Amen.

Thursday, 8 April 2021 : Thursday within Easter Octave (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 24 : 35-48

Then the two disciples told what had happened on the road to Emmaus, and how Jesus had made Himself known, when He broke bread with them. While they were still talking about this, Jesus Himself stood in their midst. (He said to them, “Peace to you.”)

In their panic and fright they thought they were seeing a ghost, but He said to them, “Why are you upset, and how does such an idea cross your minds? Look at My hands and feet, and see that it is I Myself! Touch Me, and see for yourselves, for a ghost has no flesh and bones as I have!” (As He said this, He showed His hands and feet.)

In their joy they did not dare believe, and were still astonished; so He said to them, “Have you anything to eat?” And they gave Him a piece of broiled fish. He took it, and ate it before them. Then Jesus said to them, “Remember the words I spoke to you when I was still with you : Everything written about Me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.

And He said, “So it was written : the Messiah had to suffer, and on the third day rise from the dead. Then repentance and forgiveness in His Name would be proclaimed to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things.”

Thursday, 8 April 2021 : Thursday within Easter Octave (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 8 : 2a and 5, 6-7, 8-9

O Lord, our Lord, how great is Your Name throughout the earth! What is man that You be mindful of him, the Son of Man, that You should care for Him?

Yet You made Him a little lower than the Angels; You crowned Him with glory and honour and gave Him the works of Your hands; You have put all things under His feet.

Sheep and oxen without number and even the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, the fish of the sea, and all that swim the paths of the ocean.