Monday, 30 April 2018 : 5th Week of Easter, Memorial of Pope St. Pius V, Pope (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we continue to hear the discourse of the works of the Apostles from our first reading, which for the duration of Easter is taken from the Book of the Acts of the Apostles. In that, we heard how St. Paul and St. Barnabas went to the mostly Greek population of the Eastern Mediterranean cities, preaching about the Lord and His salvation.

But the people misunderstood their teachings and the miracles they performed before the people of the city. Many of them thought that the Greek gods such as Zeus and Hercules themselves have descended down to earth and graced them with their presence. This was how the gods in the Greek mythology often behaved, and the people thought that St. Paul and St. Barnabas were indeed, gods.

That was why they brought sacrifices and offerings before them, as if they were gods, and worshipped them. The two Apostles were enraged at what they had seen, and they indignantly stood up for their faith before those who misunderstood their intentions. They rebuked the people by saying that they were man and mortals just as they were, and not gods as they thought those two were.

Nonetheless, the people still misunderstood the intentions of the Apostles, and later on, upon the instigation of some of the enemies of the Lord, the people would rise up against them and struck at the two Apostles, leaving them almost dead. But God was with His faithful servants, and they continued on their mission work, travelling from place to place to preach about the one and true God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, if we look more closely upon what the two Apostles had done, they truly remained faithful to their Lord and Master, despite what must have been a great temptation to be adored and praised, more so as a living god who came amongst the people. Who would not be tempted by such a situation? Surely everyone would be tempted. However, the two faithful servants resisted the temptations.

Many of the people refused to believe in the teachings of the Apostles because they were stubborn, thinking that their way of life and their intellect are superior to whatever the Lord has brought them through His Apostles and disciples. That was why many of the pagans stubbornly refused to listen to St. Paul and St. Barnabas, because they refused to let them to show them the way to the truth, and they preferred to remain as they were, living in ignorance and sin.

That was why many of the Jewish people and their leaders were also stubborn in their opposition against the Lord and His disciples. That was because of their pride and stubborn minds and hearts, which refused to let the Lord’s truth to enter and make its works among them. They shut the doors of their hearts and minds tight against the teachings of the Lord and against the words of the disciples, persecuting the Church in the process.

Yet, the Lord never ceases His efforts to reconcile these people, by sending them one after another, messengers and disciples to call them to repentance, from the time of the Apostles to our present day. Such was His great love for us sinners, that He wants each one of us to be reconciled to Him. One of such great servants was Pope St. Pius V, one of the great and holy successors of St. Peter, who presided over a period of great reform in the Church, completing the Council of Trent, which removed sinful practices and excesses from the Church.

Pope St. Pius V reigned as the Supreme Pontiff and the Vicar of Christ for the entire Church at a particularly difficult time when the Church was assaulted from both the inside and from outside. From inside, corruptions and wickedness have pervaded among the clergy for many years and decades prior to the reform, and these were stamped out by the reforms of the Council of Trent, which Pope St. Pius V courageously enforced strongly.

From the outside, the Church was assaulted by the forces of the protestant heresy, which threatened the souls of many of the faithful, as well as by the forces of the pagan Turks, attacking the Church and Christendom from the east. But Pope St. Pius V worked hard to coordinate an effort to counter all these threats, sending out many missionaries especially the Jesuits to counter the heresy of the so-called ‘reformation’, and assembling a great alliance to fight the forces of the Turks, that eventually triumphed.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the examples of the saints and the Apostles, and also the courage and faith of Pope St. Pius V should have also inspired each and every one of us as Christians to be fully devoted to God. Let us all do whatever we can in our actions, and do our best to preach the Good News and the truth of God to our fellow brothers and sisters. Indeed, there will be challenges as we have seen what happened to the Apostles, but remember, if we do nothing, then they will fall into damnation.

May the Lord be with us all, that we may be more courageous and faithful as true and living Christians, filled with the Holy Spirit in all of our actions and deeds. May the Lord bless us all, and all of our endeavours, now and always. Amen.

Monday, 30 April 2018 : 5th Week of Easter, Memorial of Pope St. Pius V, Pope (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 14 : 21-26

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Whoever keeps My commandments is the one who loves Me. If he loves Me, he will also be loved by My Father; I too shall love him and show Myself clearly to him.”

Judas – not Judas Iscariot – asked Jesus, “Lord, how can it be that You will show Yourself clearly to us and not to the world!” Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word and My Father will love him; and We will come to him and make a room in his home.”

“But if anyone does not love Me, he will not keep My words; and these words that you hear are not Mine, but the Father’s Who sent Me. I told you all this while I was still with you. From now on the Helper, the Holy Spirit Whom the Father will send in My Name, will teach you all things, and remind you of all that I have told you.”

Monday, 30 April 2018 : 5th Week of Easter, Memorial of Pope St. Pius V, Pope (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 113B : 1-2, 3-4, 15-16

Not to us, o Lord, not to us, but to Your Name be the glory, for the sake of Your love and faithfulness. Why should the pagans say, “Where is their God?”

There in heaven is our God; whatever He wishes, He does. Not so the hand-made idols, crafted in silver and gold.

May you be blessed by the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth. Heaven belongs to the Lord, but the earth He has given to humans.

Monday, 30 April 2018 : 5th Week of Easter, Memorial of Pope St. Pius V, Pope (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 14 : 5-18

A move was made by pagans and Jews, together with their leaders, to harm the Apostles and to stone them. But Paul and Barnabas learnt of this and fled to Lycaonian towns of Lystra and Derbe and to the surrounding countryside, where they continued preaching the Good News.

Paul and Barnabas spent a fairly long time at Lystra. There was a crippled man in Lystra who had never been able to stand or walk. One day, as he was listening to the preaching, Paul looked intently at him and saw that he had the faith to be saved. So he spoke to him in a loud voice, “In the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I command you to stand up on your feet!” And the man stood up and began to walk around.

When the people saw what Paul had done, they cried out in the language of Lycaonia, “The gods have come to us in human likeness!” They named Barnabas Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes, since he was the chief speaker. Even the priest of the Temple of Zeus, which stood outside the town, brought oxen and garlands to the gate; together with the people, he wanted to offer sacrifice to them.

When Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their garment to show their indignation and rushed into the crowd, shouting, “Friends, why are you doing this? We are human beings with the same weakness you have and we are now telling you to turn away from these useless things to the living God Who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and all that is in them.”

“In past generations He allowed each nation to go its own way, though He never stopped making Himself known; for He is continually doing good, giving you rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, providing you with food and filling your hearts with gladness.”

Even these words could hardly keep the crowd from offering sacrifice to them.

Thursday, 30 April 2015 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of Pope St. Pius V, Pope (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we hear a brief summary of the history of salvation and of the people of God, Israel, in the first reading, from the Acts of the Apostles, where St. Paul preached and testified for the faith in front of his fellow Jews in a synagogue. He told them about how God led His people out of Egypt, and gave them leaders to guide them, from the Judges to the kings, and on David, the faithful servant and king which God had chosen to rule over His people.

And it was told of the fulfillment of God’s promise of salvation of His people, through the promise which God had made to David, that His descendant would rule forever on his throne. And indeed, everything was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, including God’s promise to mankind, that salvation would come to them. Jesus broke free mankind from the chains of their slavery to sin and liberated them, just as the people of Israel once had been freed from their slavery to the Pharaoh and the Egyptians.

This freedom however, is not easy to maintain, as history had once proven. The people of Israel during their sojourn in the desert, were sorely tempted and many of them repeatedly gave in to their desires. As a result, they complained against God, rebelled against Him by saying how good their lives were back in Egypt as compared to what they had then in the desert, even though God fed them with manna and birds, and made them drink sweet and clear water in the middle of the desert.

Is this not the same with our own experience? We also have often done the same in our own respective lives. If we reflect on it, we should realise that there are some or many moments in our lives where we also disobeyed the Lord to pursue our own desires. We have this tendency to be tempted by the many things that Satan and the world offers us, and if we accept them as such, then we are no different than the people of Israel of old.

In the Gospel today, Jesus spoke about how a servant is not greater than his or her master, and therefore, as this is the case, all of us as the servants of God should not presume things and do things that betray our Lord and show that disobedience to the Lord, for if we truly belong to the Lord, then we ought to do things as the Master had taught us. If we do not, then we are liars and hypocrites, and we do not belong to Him, and thus we have no part in His inheritance.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we have for an example, a saint, whose holy life had been an inspiration for many throughout the ages. This holy man, who happened to be the successor of St. Peter the Apostle as the Pope and Bishop of Rome, and therefore as the Vicar of Christ and leader of the entire Universal Church of God had a very important role to play in the development of the faith of many whom he had touched and inspired.

Pope St. Pius V lived at a time of great uncertainty, of many dangers and threats to the people of God and to the Church. He led the Church through a very turbulent time of dangers both outside and inside the Church. At that time, the threat of the mighty Ottoman Empire was at its zenith, and many feared the eventual conquest of Christendom by the forces of the heathens. In addition, the effects of the Protestant ‘reformation’ still caused great divisions in the body of the faithful, wars and conflicts.

Pope St. Pius V played a pivotal role in all of this, by truly committing himself to the role which he had devoted himself to, as the Leader of all God’s faithful, by assembling the combined forces of Christendom and the forces of the faithful that eventually led to a major and crushing victory against the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Lepanto. As such, the external threat against the faithful and the Church gradually diminished afterwards.

And with regards to combatting dissent and opposition in the Church and beyond, Pope St. Pius V successfully completed the long delayed Council of Trent, which resolved many of the outstanding issues in the Church and emphasized on the maintenance of the true faith and all of its teachings, as preserved by the Church since the time of the Apostles, to counter all the harmful effects of the so-called ‘reformation’.

Pope St. Pius V therefore led the Church in the vigorous effort of Counter-‘reformation’ to combat the rampant heresies among the people, and as a result, countless thousands and millions of souls returned to the true faith. Such was indeed the example of how all Christians should live their lives, that is to be truly devoted and faithful to all the ways of the Lord.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, are we all able to be true disciples of the Lord, and devote ourselves completely to Him? Are we able to commit ourselves to the way of truth and be true disciples of our Lord? It is the opportunity which we have today that we should not waste. May Almighty God therefore guide us on our path and help us so that in all of our actions, we may always be faithful to the Lord, and as a result, be found worthy to receive the inheritance which He had promised to all of us. God bless us all. Amen.

Thursday, 30 April 2015 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of Pope St. Pius V, Pope (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 13 : 16-20

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly, I say to you, the servant is not greater than his master, nor is the messenger greater than he who sent him. Understand this, and blessed are you, if you put it into practice.”

“I am not speaking of you all, because I know the ones I have chosen, and the Scripture has to be fulfilled that says : ‘The one who shared My table has risen against Me.’ I tell you this now before it happens, so that when it does happen, you may know that I am He.”

“Truly, I say to you, whoever welcomes the one I send, welcomes Me; and whoever welcomes Me, welcomes the One who sent Me.”

Thursday, 30 April 2015 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of Pope St. Pius V, Pope (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 88 : 2-3, 21-22, 25 and 27

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.

I have found David My servant, and with My holy oil I have anointed him. My hand will be ever with him and My arm will sustain him.

My faithfulness and love will be with him, and by My help he will be strong. He will call on Me, ‘You are my Father, my God, my Rock, my Saviour.’