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

Liturgical Colour : White

Ezekiel 36 : 16-17a, 18-28

The word of YHVH came to me in these terms, “Son of man, when Israel occupied her own land and defiled it by her way of life and her actions. I poured out My fury on them because of the blood they shed in the land and because they defiled it with their filthy idols.”

“Then I scattered them among the nations  and dispersed them in other lands. I judged them according to their conduct and their actions. But when they were brought to other nations, My Holy Name was profane because others said of them : ‘The people of YHVH had to be exiled from His land!'”

“Then I was concerned for My Holy Name, profaned by Israel among the nations where she had been dispersed. Now you shall say to the people of Israel : ‘It is not for your sake that I am about to act, but because of My Holy Name that you have profaned in the places where you have gone.'”

“‘I will make known the holiness of My great Name, profaned among the nations because of you, and they will know that I am YHVH when I show them My holiness among you. For I will gather you from all the nations and bring you back to your own land.'”

“‘Then I shall pour pure water over you and you shall be made clean – cleansed from the defilement of all your idols. I shall give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you. I shall remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.'”

“‘I shall put  My spirit within you and move you to follow My decrees and keep My laws. You will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you shall be My people and I will be Your God.'”

Sunday, 4 May 2014 : 3rd Sunday of Easter (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate and continue to glorify God who is risen in glory, and we know this God, who has been revealed to us, as the Saviour Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary as a Man, but unlike that of other man, He is without sin and perfect, as He is both God and man at the same time. And this truth is kept on being repeated in this holy season of Easter, so that we may know and understand this and be faithful.

Brethren, Christ had been revealed to us through His Apostles, and He had revealed Himself to those who believed in Him, that they all may believe and be affirmed in their faith. He had taught His precepts to the people, and showed them His truth and His nature as both the Son of God and the Son of Man. He came in love for them and for us, for a singular reason, that is to save all of us from certain death for our rebelliousness and sins.

The Messiah had been promised by the Lord since the beginning of creation and time, when God first told of the promised rescue and salvation of mankind through Adam and Eve, the first of mankind. But this Messiah is not one who comes in glory and power, or rule the people by the force of power or strength. Instead, as written in the Book of the prophet Isaiah, this Messiah would be a healer and brought healing to the souls of the sick and the wicked.

And also that this Messiah would be a suffering Messiah, who suffered for the sins and the rebellions of God’s beloved people. This blameless and innocent servant of God would suffer that we may not suffer the consequences of our sins, that is death, separation that is eternal from God, and hence, hell. He descended into hell so that we would not fall into hell ourselves, and be risen with Him in glory, as He rose on Easter day.

Those who did not believe in Christ failed to see how impossible it is for them to comprehend that the Messiah should suffer for their sake. The Jews in particular refused to believe in Him because of the lies of the elders and chief priests desperate to retain their teaching authority amongst the people, even though that amounted to lying and having blatant disregard for the truth. They blinded the people against the truth itself, and even agitated them to resist and reject the truth.

Thus were the people led to sin, and to reject the salvation of God. But the Lord did not give up on them, and instead He sent them His servants, that were the Apostles, by sending them the Helper, the Advocate He promised them, the Holy Spirit of God. Thus then in the first reading today, St. Peter preached with great courage about the truth of Christ, and in the process gained many for the cause of the Lord.

The same happened to the disciples who walked on the way towards the village of Emmaus from Jerusalem, they were in doubt and their hearts were in tatters, but the Lord Himself who was risen, appeared to them and guided them along the way, that from doubt, they turned into faith, and their tattered hearts He made anew with the words of courage and love. The Lord appeared to them and strengthened their minds, hearts and souls.

Then these two disciples when they recognised Jesus at the breaking of the bread became courageous and vigorous proclamators of the Lord and His resurrection. They courage that God had placed in their hearts turned into the courage to spread the Good News of salvation, which they joyfully spread to the Apostles who were themselves in fear, that they too may believe. They courageously ran the entirety of the distance back to Jerusalem, with joy and adulation, where previously they had walked with doubt and fear in their hearts.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we progress through Easter, today we are all challenged, to be true disciples and faithful people of God, with the necessary change in attitudes and hearts as experienced by the servants of God mentioned, that we undergo a profound and complete transformation from our old lives that we lived in sin, into a new life that is anchored firmly on the faith and love of God.

We have to be courageous, like that of Peter, the Apostles and the other disciples of Christ, and also that of the holy martyrs who defended the faith even unto suffering and death, and yet rejoice because they managed to gain for the Lord the salvation of many souls and their liberation from the darkness of sin. We have to be strong and motivated in our lives to always preach the Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ, through none other than our own actions, words and deeds, that in all the things that we do, we will always proclaim and reflect the truth of the Lord in us.

May God be with us all, guide us as we go through this life, that not only our lives may be holy, but we may have the energy and strength to carry out what He has laid down for us, that is to bring the Good News of His glorious resurrection and the hope He brought, to all the peoples of all nations. God bless us all. Amen.

(Easter Vigil) Saturday, 30 March 2013 : Easter Vigil of the Resurrection of the Lord, Holy Week (Seventh Reading)

Ezekiel 36 : 16-17a, 18-28

The word of YHVH came to me in these terms, “Son of man, when Israel occupied her own land and defiled it by her way of life and her actions. I poured out My fury on them because of the blood they shed in the land and because they defiled it with their filthy idols.”

“Then I scattered them among the nations  and dispersed them in other lands. I judged them according to their conduct and their actions. But when they were brought to other nations, My Holy Name was profane because others said of them : ‘The people of YHVH had to be exiled from His land!'”

“Then I was concerned for My Holy Name, profaned by Israel among the nations where she had been dispersed. Now you shall say to the people of Israel : ‘It is not for your sake that I am about to act, but because of My Holy Name that you have profaned in the places where you have gone.'”

“‘I will make known the holiness of My great Name, profaned among the nations because of you, and they will know that I am YHVH when I show them My holiness among you. For I will gather you from all the nations and bring you back to your own land.'”

“‘Then I shall pour pure water over you and you shall be made clean – cleansed from the defilement of all your idols. I shall give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you. I shall remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.'”

“‘I shall put  My spirit within you and move you to follow My decrees and keep My laws. You will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you shall be My people and I will be Your God.'”