Friday, 28 April 2017 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Peter Chanel, Priest and Martyr, and St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, Priest (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)
Psalm 26 : 1, 4, 13-14

The Lord is my Light and my Salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the Rampart of my life; I will not be afraid.

One thing I ask of the Lord, one thing I seek – that I may dwell in His house all the days of my life, to gaze at His jewel and to visit His sanctuary.

I hope, I am sure, that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Trust in the Lord, be strong and courageous. Yes, put your hope in the Lord!

Friday, 28 April 2017 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Peter Chanel, Priest and Martyr, and St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)
Acts 5 : 34-42

But one of the members of the Council, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the Law highly respected by the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin. He ordered the men to be taken outside for a few minutes and then he spoke to the assembly.

“Fellow Israelites, consider well what you intend to do to these men. For some time ago Theudas came forward, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men joined him. But he was killed and all his followers were dispersed or disappeared.”

“After him, Judas the Galilean appeared at the time of the census and persuaded many people to follow him. But he too perished and his whole following was scattered. So, in this present case, I advise you to have nothing to do with these men. Leave them alone. If their project or activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself. If, on the other hand, it is from God, you will not be able to destroy it and you may indeed find yourselves fighting against God.”

The Council let themselves be persuaded. They called in the Apostles and had them whipped, and ordered them not to speak again of Jesus Saviour. Then they set them free. The Apostles went out from the Council rejoicing that they were considered worthy to suffer disgrace for the sake of the Name. Day after day, both in the Temple and in people’s homes, they continued to teach and to proclaim that Jesus was the Messiah.

Thursday, 27 April 2017 : 2nd Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us must have heard in the Scriptures, particularly in the Acts of the Apostles, how the Apostle St. Peter and the other disciples of the Lord had been oppressed by the chief priests, the elders and all those who did not wish to see the Christian faith flourishing among the people of God. We saw how the rulers and the powerful were against the works of Christ and His followers.

And we witnessed how St. Peter and the other Apostles courageously defended their faith, even to the point of making a stern rebuke at the chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin ruling Council. They courageously said that they would rather obey the will of God and follow Him rather than obey the orders and the will of man. Essentially they were saying that they would not bend to the will of the Pharisees, the elders and the chief priests who were trying to silence them and stop them from carrying out the good works they have done in the Name of the Lord.

The attitude of the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord shows us that we always have a choice in this world. Yes, a choice to obey either the wishes of the Lord, or to obey the wishes of this world. It is just as the Lord said in another occasion, as written in the Gospels, that one cannot serve two masters, he or she will either love one and despise the other, or vice versa. Man cannot serve both God and money. And similarly, it is often that obeying the Lord means disobeying the norms and ways of this world.

Why is that so, brothers and sisters in Christ? Particularly in today’s world, and which was also true in the past, this world and our society are filled with many corruptions, many temptations, of power and influence, of desires for wealth and worldly possessions, the wickedness of the pleasures of the flesh, and many other things that had caused us mankind to be distracted on our path seeking the Lord, and ended up causing many to fall into sin and towards condemnation.

We are all given a choice, to choose between the way of the Lord and the way of wickedness. We have been given free will by the Lord to choose between righteousness and evil, between selfishness and selflessness, between hatred and love, between the love and desire for money and faith, between the light of the world, that is our Lord Jesus Christ, and the darkness of ignorance of the Lord.

The devil has worked very hard in order to persuade, coax and even force mankind to go to the path towards their downfall, so that they will share in the fate which the devil knew he will have to endure. He sought our downfall and damnation, and hence, he tried his best to make the path of wickedness and evil to be as attractive as possible, to be as easy and lucrative as possible. And thus, many had fallen into the trap he set for us.

But the Lord has not abandoned us to the devil and his devices. He had always loved us and remembered us, especially when we are besieged and are troubled by the forces of our enemies. He does not abandon us, but gives us His assistance and company, and He had sent the Holy Spirit to the Apostles and the disciples, giving them the wisdom, strength and power in order to continue the mission which He had given them, that is the conversion of all mankind to the cause of the Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us are the successors to the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord. We are all the ones to whom God had entrusted the same mission He had given His Apostles and His Church. As Christians, all of us are responsible for the works which the Church of God are doing, spreading the Good News of God and the truth about His salvation.

There will indeed be opposition against us just as the Apostles had encountered opposition. And just as the saints and the holy disciples of the Lord had to even lay down their lives in holy martyrdom, the opposition against us may be difficult for us to overcome or to persevere through. But we must not give up, or else, not only that we fall into the sin which we had wanted to avoid, we will also cause others to fall.

Let us all realise that through our actions, words and deeds, we can help bring many more of our brethren towards God and His salvation. By being faithful in all the things we say and do, even amidst opposition and challenges from the society around us, even from among those whom we know, we can help one another on our way to the eternal life promised to us by the Lord.

May the Lord help us all, and bless all of our endeavours, so that in all the things we say and do, we will always be ever faithful to Him, and we will inspire many others to do the same as well. May God be with us all. Amen.

Thursday, 27 April 2017 : 2nd Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
John 3 : 31-36

At that time, John the Baptist said, “He Who comes from above is above all; he who comes from the earth belongs to the earth, and his words belong to the earth. He Who comes from heaven speaks of the things He has seen and heard; He bears witness to these things, but no one accepts His testimony. Whoever does receive His testimony acknowledges the truthfulness of God.”

“The One sent by God speaks God’s words, and gives the Spirit unstintingly. The Father loves the Son and has entrusted everything into His hands. Whoever believes in the Son lives with eternal life; but he who will not believe in the Son will never know life, and always faces the justice of God.”

Thursday, 27 April 2017 : 2nd Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White
Psalm 33 : 2 and 9, 17-18, 19-20

I will bless the Lord all my days; His praise will be ever on my lips. Oh, see and taste the goodness of the Lord! Blessed is the one who finds shelter in Him!

But His face is set against the wicked to destroy their memory from the earth. The Lord hears the cry of the righteous and rescues them from all their troubles.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves the distraught. Many are the troubles of the just, but the Lord delivers them from all.

Thursday, 27 April 2017 : 2nd Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Acts 5 : 27-33

So the High Priest and his supporters brought the Apostles in and made them stand before the Council and the High Priest questioned them, “We gave you strict orders not to preach such a Saviour; but you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you intend charging us with the killing of this Man.”

To this Peter and the Apostles replied, “Better for us to obey God rather than any human authority! The God of our ancestors raised Jesus Whom you killed by hanging Him on a wooden post. God set Him at His right hand as Leader and Saviour, to grant repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. We are witnesses to all these things, as well as the Holy Spirit Whom God has given to those who obey Him.

When the Council heard this, they became very angry and wanted to kill them.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017 : 2nd Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture, speaking to us about the sending of God’s only begotten Son, His most Beloved One, into the world, for the sake of the salvation of the whole world. This is a very renowned passage of the Scriptures, the sixteenth verse of the third chapter of the Gospel of St. John, which summarised exactly what the Lord had done for the sake of our salvation and His reason for doing so.

God indeed loves each and every one of us so much, that He was willing to do such an extraordinary deed beyond any other good deeds. He did not hesitate even to enter into this world as a humble and lowly Man, to suffer and to die for the sake of us all, by bearing all of the sins we have, and all of the punishments and consequences intended for those sins, upon Himself.

When He came into this world, He found that all have been covered and tainted with the darkness, that came from our sins and disobedience against God. Therefore, He showed all those who lived in darkness the joy of the true Light, as He is the Light of the world. All who saw Him and witnessed all of His actions found the light of God, and many were touched by the light, and came to conversion before the Lord.

But as mentioned in the Gospel today, that many did not like the light and instead chose to be with the darkness. That is because many of the people had committed sinful actions and deeds, and they were afraid to reveal the truth about themselves. Many of them tried their best to hide their shortcomings and weaknesses, all the faults and sins they had done, and they were too embarrassed and proud to acknowledge them.

Thus, we come into the problem with our ego, the pride present in our hearts and minds. Pride is the most dangerous of all sins, and indeed have become the greatest of the obstacles in our path towards the Lord. It was pride and human arrogance that had prevented many from believing in God, including the chief priests, the elders and the Pharisees, because they saw Jesus and His teachings as threats to their own worldly authority and privileges.

They wanted to preserve their own privileges and power, and all the dealings that they had done. All the things which were done in the darkness, no one will want to reveal them, and that was exactly what we heard in the Gospel today. If we place our trust in worldly things, such as power, money, fame and other forms of temptations, then slowly but surely, these will lure us in and corrupt us, our minds, hearts and souls.

That is why we ended up closing our hearts against God, slamming the doors of our hearts shut before the Lord, Who actually wanted to come in and transform our hearts. This is why, there is a need for all of us to realise just how stubborn and unreasonable we had been, as we walked in the same path as the chief priests and the Pharisees who continued to refuse to believe in the Lord Jesus, even after witnessing the truth many times, and even after His resurrection had been accomplished as He said He would.

Let us therefore make use of this opportunity given to us this Easter, as we reflect on the Lord’s glorious resurrection, that we should break free from the chains of our ego, our pride and all the things that thus far had hindered us from finding our way to Him. Let us all open our hearts and minds to the Lord, and allow Him to come into us. Let the light of the world shine in our hearts and enlighten our hearts and the eyes of our bodies and minds which had been darkened for so long by sin and wickedness.

Let us have a change of heart, that our hearts of stubbornness, the heart of stone and arrogance, our ego-filled hearts and minds are turned into hearts of love, of compassion and mercy. Let us all renew our faith in the Lord, and strive to follow Him in all things, and deepen our faith in Him, doing all that we can in order to obey Him. May the Lord help us all, and may He strengthen us in our faith, so that we shall not fall into the temptation of pride, of power and all other obstacles the devil has placed in our path. God bless us all. Amen.