Wednesday, 19 April 2017 : Wednesday within Easter Octave, Twelfth Anniversary of the Pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI, Vicar of Christ, Bishop of Rome, Supreme Pontiff and Leader of the Universal Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are reminded again of the frailties of our humanity, how the man who was crippled since his birth begged at the Temple for people to give him some money and allowances to allow him to come by his daily expenses. We heard about how he approached the two Apostles, St. Peter and St. John as they made their way into the Temple, hoping that they would be able to provide him with some money or food.

In the Gospel today, we heard another account, of how Jesus our Lord appeared just right after His resurrection from the dead to two of His disciples who were walking to the village of Emmaus outside of Jerusalem. The two disciples were busy discussing of all the events that had just happened in the previous week, and how Jesus was arrested, condemned to death, and died on the cross, while Jesus Himself walked alongside them, without them realising Who He was.

What we all saw here are two disabilities, one of the body and the other of the spirit and the mind. But each one of them were afflicted in one way or another, and the Lord showed mercy on them, bringing healing upon them. Through His Apostles, He brought healing upon the man who was unable to walk, and make him to overcome his physical limitations.

And to the two disciples who had been unable to recognise Jesus was inflamed in their hearts by the words and the teachings which Jesus placed in their hearts and minds. He awakened hope in their hearts, as they were initially doubtful and lacking faith in the resurrection of the Lord, despite having heard from the Apostles that Jesus had risen from the dead.

This is what the Lord had done for us, that by bringing His light and hope into the world, He had brought about healing and joy to all those who have lived for long in the darkness, to all those who despair and were without hope, to those who were afflicted, be it in their physical body and flesh, or in their minds, hearts and souls. God brought with Him this Easter joy, which all of us ought not only to rejoice together and enjoy, but also to emulate and to apply to our own lives.

What does this mean, brothers and sisters in Christ? It means that all of us ought to be courageous in our faith, and in all that we do, in all of our words and actions. We must follow in the example of the Apostles, who in their deeds proclaimed the glory of Christ and revealed to all His truth. In our actions, we must be gentle and be loving towards our brethren, showing mercy and compassion to our enemies, to all those who are sorrowful and unloved as the Apostles had done on the man paralysed from birth.

And in our words, we must also bring about hope and enlightenment to our brethren, especially to all those who have not known of the love of God. We must be like Jesus our Lord Who placed hope and encouragement in the hearts of the two disciples who were walking to Emmaus. We must therefore not slander against others, tell gossip or lies to one another, and we must not hurt others by our words, as well as our actions.

Otherwise, if we are not doing what the Lord had told us to do, and did what is opposite of what He wants us to do, we scandalise our faith, and in fact not just our faith, but the Lord Himself. And that is indeed a great sin for us to make, before God and before our fellow men. Not only that we have failed to do as expected from us, but we even drive people away from the salvation in God, because our actions deter them from coming closer to God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all reflect on this as we continue to progress through the Easter season. Let us all be inspired by the examples of our predecessors in faith, and devote ourselves anew with zeal and commitment, to love and serve the Lord our God, through our loving commitment and service to our brethren around us, especially all those who are in need of our love and attention. May God bless us all and our endeavours. Amen.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017 : Wednesday within Easter Octave, Twelfth Anniversary of the Pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI, Vicar of Christ, Bishop of Rome, Supreme Pontiff and Leader of the Universal Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Luke 24 : 13-35

At that time, on the same day Jesus rose from the dead, two followers of Jesus were going to Emmaus, a village seven miles from Jerusalem, and they talked about what had happened. While they were talking and arguing about what had happened, Jesus came up and walked with them. But their eyes were not able to recognise Him.

He asked, “What is it you are talking about?” The two stood still, looking sad. Then the one named Cleophas answered, “Why, it seems You are the only traveller to Jerusalem who does not know what haw happened there these past few days.” And He asked, “What is it?”

They replied, “It is about Jesus of Nazareth. He was a Prophet, You know, mighty in word and deed before God and the people. But the chief priests and our rulers sentenced Him to death. They handed Him over to be crucified. We had hoped that He would redeem Israel. It is now the third day since all this took place.”

“It is also true that some women of our group have disturbed us. When they went to the tomb at dawn, they did not find His Body; and they came and told us that they had had a vision of Angels, who said that Jesus was alive. Some of our people went to the tomb and found everything just as the women had said, but they did not find a Body in the tomb.”

He said to them, “How dull you are, how slow of understanding! Is the message of the prophets too difficult for you to understand? Is it not written that the Christ should suffer all this, and then enter His glory?” Then starting with Moses, and going through the prophets, He explained to them everything in the Scriptures concerning Himself.

As they drew near the village they were heading for, Jesus made as if to go farther. But they prevailed upon Him, “Stay with us, for night comes quickly. The day is now almost over.” So He went in to stay with them. When they were at table, He took the bread, said a blessing, broke it, and gave each a piece.

Then their eyes were opened, and they recognised Him; but He vanished out of their sight. And they said to one another, “Were not our hearts filled with ardent yearning when He was talking to us on the road and explaining the Scriptures?” They immediately set out and returned to Jerusalem.

There they found the Eleven and their companions gathered together. They were greeted by these words : “Yes, it is true, the Lord is risen! He has appeared to Simon!” Then the two told what had happened on the road to Emmaus, and how Jesus had made Himself known, when He broke bread with them.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017 : Wednesday within Easter Octave, Twelfth Anniversary of the Pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI, Vicar of Christ, Bishop of Rome, Supreme Pontiff and Leader of the Universal Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White
Psalm 104 : 1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9

Give thanks to the Lord, call on His Name; make known His works among the nations. Sing to Him, sing His praise, proclaim all His wondrous deeds.

Glory in His holy Name; let those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and be strong; seek His face always.

You descendants of His servant Abraham, you sons of Jacob, His chosen ones! He is the Lord our God; His judgments reach the whole world.

He remembers His covenant forever, His promise to a thousand generations, the covenant He made with Abraham, the promise He swore to Isaac.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017 : Wednesday within Easter Octave, Twelfth Anniversary of the Pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI, Vicar of Christ, Bishop of Rome, Supreme Pontiff and Leader of the Universal Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Acts 3 : 1-10

Once when Peter and John were going up to the Temple at three in the afternoon, the hour for prayer, a man crippled from birth was being carried in. Every day they would bring him and put him at the Temple gate called “Beautiful”; there he begged from those who entered the Temple.

When he saw Peter and John on their way into the Temple, he asked for alms. Then Peter with John at his side looked straight at him and said, “Look at us.” So he looked at them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have neither silver nor gold, but what I have I give you : In the Name of Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, walk!”

Then he took the beggar by his right hand and helped him up. At once his feet and ankles became firm, and jumping up he stood on his feet and began to walk. And he went with them into the Temple walking and leaping and praising God. All the people saw him walking and praising God; they recognised him as the one who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple, and they were all astonished and amazed at what had happened to him.

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.’