(Easter Sunday) Sunday, 27 March 2016 : Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, Holy Week, Easter Octave (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 20 : 1-9

Now, on the first day after the Sabbath, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning while it was still dark, and she saw that the stone blocking the tomb had been moved away. She ran to Peter, and the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and she said to them, “They have taken our Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have laid Him.”

Peter then set out with the other disciple to go 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. Scripture clearly said that He must rise from the dead, but they had not yet understood that.

 

Alternative reading

Luke 24 : 1-12

On the Sabbath the women rested according to the commandment, but the first day of the week, at dawn, they went to the tomb with the perfumes and ointments they had prepared. Seeing the stone rolled away from the opening of the tomb, they entered, and were amazed to find that the body of the Lord Jesus was not there.

As they stood there wondering about this, two men in dazzling garments suddenly appeared beside them. In fright the women bowed to the ground. But the men said, “Why look for the living among the dead? You won’t find Him here. He is risen. Remember what He told you in Galilee, that the Son of Man had to be given into the hands of sinners, to be crucified, and to rise on the third day.” And they remembered Jesus’ words.

Returning from the tomb, they told the Eleven and all the others about these things. Among the women, who brought the news, were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James. But however much they insisted, those who heard did not believe the seemingly nonsensical story.

Then Peter got up and ran to the tomb. All he saw, when he bent down and looked into the tomb, were the linen cloths, laid by themselves. He went home wondering.

(Easter Sunday) Sunday, 27 March 2016 : Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, Holy Week, Easter Octave (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Colossians 3 : 1-4

So then, if you are risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things that are above, not on earthly things.

For you have died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, reveals Himself, you also will be revealed with Him in Glory.

 

Alternative reading


1 Corinthians 5 : 6b-8

Do you not know that a little yeast makes the whole mass of dough rise? Throw out, then, the old yeast and be new dough. If Christ became our Passover, you should be unleavened bread.

Let us celebrate, therefore, the Passover, no longer with old yeast, which is sin and perversity; let us have unleavened bread, that is purity and sincerity.

(Easter Sunday) Sunday, 27 March 2016 : Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, Holy Week, Easter Octave (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 117 : 1-2, 16ab-17, 22-23

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

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 stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing and we marvel at it.

(Easter Sunday) Sunday, 27 March 2016 : Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, Holy Week, Easter Octave (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 10 : 34a, 37-43

Peter then spoke to them, “No doubt you have heard of the event that occured throughout the whole country of the Jews, beginning from Galilee, after the baptism John preached. You know how God anointed Jesus the Nazarean with Holy Spirit and power.

He went about doing good and healing all who were under the devil’s power, because God was with Him; we are witnesses of all that He did throughout the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem itself. Yet they put Him to death by hanging Him on a wooden cross.

But God raised Him to life on the third day and let Him manifest Himself, not to all the people, but to the witnesses that were chosen beforehand by God – to us who ate and drank with Him after His resurrection from death. And He commanded us to preach to the people and to bear witness that He is the One appointed by God to judge the living and the dead.

All the prophets say of Him, that everyone who believes in Him has forgiveness of sins through His Name.

(Easter Vigil) Saturday, 26 March 2016 : Easter Vigil of the Resurrection of the Lord, Holy Week (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 24 : 1-12

On the Sabbath the women rested according to the commandment, but the first day of the week, at dawn, they went to the tomb with the perfumes and ointments they had prepared. Seeing the stone rolled away from the opening of the tomb, they entered, and were amazed to find that the body of the Lord Jesus was not there.

As they stood there wondering about this, two men in dazzling garments suddenly appeared beside them. In fright the women bowed to the ground. But the men said, “Why look for the living among the dead? You won’t find Him here. He is risen. Remember what He told you in Galilee, that the Son of Man had to be given into the hands of sinners, to be crucified, and to rise on the third day.” And they remembered Jesus’ words.

Returning from the tomb, they told the Eleven and all the others about these things. Among the women, who brought the news, were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James. But however much they insisted, those who heard did not believe the seemingly nonsensical story.

Then Peter got up and ran to the tomb. All he saw, when he bent down and looked into the tomb, were the linen cloths, laid by themselves. He went home wondering.

Friday, 27 December 2013 : Feast of St. John the Evangelist, Apostle (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.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013 : Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord (Scripture Reflection)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate a great feast in the Church, that is the Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ, when our Lord is transformed into His true divine nature on top of the mountain, and seen by the disciples Peter, James, and John, together with Moses and Elijah, the greatest of the prophets of God.

Yes, Christ our Lord and Saviour is indeed our God and divine in His nature, and He, through His birth by our Blessed Virgin Mary, His mother, is also human in nature, the Word of God made flesh and man by the power of the Holy Spirit that reside within the womb of Mary. He is in His nature, fully and completely divine as well as fully and completely human at the same time, separate yet one, one in the person of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Yes, our Lord is human, and He has human emotions as well, the love and compassion He has for all of us. He was overwhelmed with sorrow when Lazarus, His beloved friend died and when He witnessed the sorrow of his sisters, Martha and Mary. He showed compassion to the people gathered to listen to His sermons and speeches when they were hungry and without food. He showed compassion and love to the widows and people with afflictions and showed to all of them His great love.

Yet He is also fully divine, the Son of God, who revealed the fullness of His glory to the three of His disciples on the mountain, an occasion which we celebrate today as the Transfiguration. He revealed the truth about Himself and the truth about His power and glory to the three disciples, showing that He is not a mere human, neither is He merely another of the prophets, nor is He merely a liar. Yes, He is the divine Son of God, the Word of God made flesh by the power of the Holy Spirit, and through the Blessed Virgin Mary, was made man, fully human, as the Son of Man.

Then, what is the significance of Moses and Elijah appearing to Jesus on the mountain during His Transfiguration and speaking to Him about His death? The significance is that Jesus is the perfect embodiment of what Moses and Elijah each had embodied, as the greatest of the servants the Lord had sent into this world. Moses embodied the Law of God, the commandments and precepts He had given to His people to follow, while Elijah embodied the teaching authority of the prophets granted by the Lord. Jesus, as the Word of God made flesh is the greatest of all the prophets, delivering directly God’s will and message to mankind, and He also perfectly fulfilled all the prophecies the prophets had told about Him, the awaited Messiah, the awaited Saviour of all men.

In Jesus Christ lie our salvation, the perfection of the Law God had granted us, that is the commandments of love, through His explanation and His revelation on the truth about God and His laws, as well as the fulfillment of the prophecies and the teachings of the prophets in all its perfection. All of these, through His birth, His life, His works and ministries, and finally completed with His suffering and death on the cross, that cross on Calvary, and all are completed, just as He said “It is completed.” Yes, the completion of the grand plan on salvation God had prepared for all of us, that we can finally escape the slavery under sin, into freedom of eternal life in God.

However, to reach there, and to complete the plan, Christ had to bear our sins and our faults, as the sacrificial Lamb, the Lamb of God who bared Himself for us, in our place, and suffer instead of us. For we deserve to be punished severely for our sins, and not just any sins, but the persistence and the heaviness of our sins and evils that we have committed since the days of Adam and Eve our ancestors. Our Lord Jesus is without sin and pure, although He is indeed fully human like us, and yet He was made to bear our sins and our punishment in our place, that we will not suffer and experience death allotted to us for our rebelliousness, but instead have a new hope of eternal life and bliss.

He has to suffer, drink the cup of bitterness that God had given Him to drink, and die a prisoner’s death, a criminal’s death on the cross, judged by a Roman governor, condemned by His own people, scourged with lashes and crooks, and pierced by nails and elevated high between the heaven and the earth, all for our sake. Yet, He came down from that mountain where He showed His glory to His disciples, from the place where He manifested Himself as the great and glorious God, into His suffering and Passion, on the way to Jerusalem to die.

The disciples did not understand this, nor why did Christ do so, and what they wanted was that they remain in that wonderful place, in the fullness of the glory of God, that is because they have tasted heaven on earth on that mountain, and certainly they did not want to leave that feeling behind, that happiness and joy being in the glory and perfection of the Lord. That was why Peter suggested to Jesus to build three tents for Himself, for Moses, and for Elijah.

Christ could simply choose to stay there at the place for eternity, because indeed, He is God, and everything is within His power to do. He can remain forever in His great glory, and He did not have to face suffering, rejection, pain, and death. However, Christ knew what must be done, and despite the vast extent of suffering that He must go through in order to save us from our own destruction, His love for us is so great, that He is willing to go through all that, for our sake. He left His comfort zone, that He can exercise what He had come to this world for, that is to be our Saviour.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we celebrate today this great feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ, let us take some time to reflect on ourselves, on our own actions and deeds. Have we overcome our fear of what is outside our comfort zone, and dared to take a step outside that comfort zone, so that we can make use of whatever gifts and talents God had given us, in order to bring love, comfort, and happiness to one another? Or have we chosen to be like the disciples, who prefer to remain in their comfort zone forever?

Brothers and sisters, to follow Christ means to take up our crosses and follow Him, through difficulties and oppositions that will surely face us in this uphill battle we have to reach our salvation in Christ. It does not mean that we should all suffer or die the same way that Christ had suffered or died for our sake, but certainly it means that it will not be easy either. We have to go the extra mile brothers and sisters, in our service and dedication to the people of God, especially those who are poor, in material and in spirit, and those who lack love in them, those who are unloved and forsaken.

Just as Christ chose to go down from the mountain and face His suffering to come proudly and courageously, we too should follow the example Christ had given us, going down that mountain, and gladly make ourselves available to others, sharing our love with them, bearing one another’s crosses on the way to God and His salvation. Let us be courageous to go an extra mile, stepping outside our comfort zone in our service to God and His people.

Do not fear, brothers and sisters in Christ! For the Lord Transfigured on the mountain and glorified in His might will always be with us, and He will bless us tremendously if we follow in His footsteps, carrying our crosses, in our journey, sharing the love and the Spirit He had given to all of us who have faith in Him with one another. May the Lord Jesus Transfigured bless all of us and our endeavours, and remain with us forever. Amen.