Saturday, 10 April 2021 : Saturday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures we are called to be courageous in proclaiming our faith and the truth about the Lord and His Resurrection, His salvation and glory in the midst of our communities, among the communities and the peoples we are living with in this world, to be genuine Christians in all of our words, actions and deeds. We have to be faithful in the mission which God has entrusted to us all, His Church.

In our first reading today we heard the consternation and disbelief among the members of the Sanhedrin during the time when they took in the Apostles St. Peter and St. John for questioning, when they were interrogated for their activities. The Sanhedrin were surprised and amazed that the Lord Jesus and His works continued even after His death, as they likely believed that they had gotten rid of Him once and for all. And the great wisdom and courage showed by the two Apostles greatly unsettled them.

That the Apostles spoke courageously of the salvation of God that had come through Christ, recently crucified and handed over by the Sanhedrin to the Romans, and proclaimed as risen from the dead angered quite a few of the Sanhedrin members who were more hardline in their beliefs and opposition against the Lord, but the more moderate members cautioned violence and hardhanded actions against the followers of the Lord.

As such, the Apostles were released with just a stern warning that they were not to continue preaching in the Name of the Lord or continue their mission. But certainly, as we have seen, the Apostles refused to obey such a human order, and instead, continued to preach the truth of the Lord, proclaim His Resurrection and way to all the people, the Jews and the Gentiles alike without fear. They persevered through the challenges and trials, the persecutions and oppositions they faced, and remained true to the mission entrusted to them by God.

It is that same mission which we have heard in our Gospel passage today that the disciples and followers of the Lord had dedicated themselves to, following God with all of their strength to proclaim His Good News to the nations, as the Lord Himself commanded them all to “Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News to all creation.” Through this commandment, the Lord has sent all of His followers to be missionaries of the faith, and the witnesses to His truth to all the people, calling more and more to Himself.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, it is the same mission that we have been entrusted with, as members of the Church and through our common baptism, by which we have been made sharers in the same mission of the Lord, to reach out and evangelise the many peoples of the world, of all the nations, and to be witnesses of the Lord’s truth and Resurrection. And the works of the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord were far from done, as there are indeed still so many opportunities and avenues through which more and more can be saved.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, are we willing to contribute to this calling and mission we have? Are we willing to spend the time and effort to be true disciples of the Lord, that is not just in name or formality only, but also through real action and works? This is what we have been constantly reminded through this Easter season thus far, to be the living Church, continuing the works of the Apostles in our present day world and communities. As Christians, we have to be active in living our faith and be good role models and examples for our fellow brethren.

Let us all therefore do whatever we can, in whatever little and small things we can do each day, to reach out to our fellow brethren and be ever more committed to serve the Lord through our actions, through our charitable deeds and real, genuine concern for our fellow brothers and sisters. We are all called to be generous in our love and in our outreach, that more and more may come to know of God and His love through us, so that many more souls may come to repentance and reconciliation with Him, and thus be worthy to enter into eternal life and glory.

May God bless all of our efforts and endeavours, and may He, Our Risen Lord and Saviour, help us all to remain firm in faith and to be strong and courageous just as He has strengthened His Apostles and disciples to speak up and stand up for their faith before the Sanhedrin and those who doubted and oppressed them. Be with us, Lord, always, now and forevermore. Amen.

Saturday, 10 April 2021 : Saturday within Easter Octave (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Mark 16 : 9-15

At that time, after Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary of Magdala, from whom He had driven out seven demons. She went and reported the news to His followers, who were now mourning and weeping. But when they heard that He lived, and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.

After this He showed Himself in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. These men also went back and told the others, but they did not believe them. Later Jesus showed Himself to the Eleven while they were at table. He reproached them for their unbelief, and stubbornness, in refusing to believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.

Then He told them, “Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News to all creation.”

Saturday, 10 April 2021 : Saturday within Easter Octave (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 117 : 1 and 14-15, 16ab-18, 19-21

Alleluia! Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His loving kindness endures forever. The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation. Joyful shouts of victory are heard in the tents of the just : The right hand of the Lord strikes mightily.

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 Lord has stricken me severely, but He has saved me from death.

Open to me the gates of the Just, and let me enter to give thanks. “This is the Lord’s gate, through which the upright enter.” I thank You for having answered me, for having rescued me.

Saturday, 10 April 2021 : Saturday within Easter Octave (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 4 : 13-21

The Jewish leaders, elders and teachers of the Law were astonished at the boldness of Peter and John, considering that they were uneducated and untrained men. They recognised also, that they had been with Jesus, but, as the man who had been cured stood beside them, they could make no reply.

So they ordered them to leave the council room while they consulted with one another. They asked, “What shall we do with these men? Everyone who lives in Jerusalem knows that a remarkable sign has been given through them, and we cannot deny it. But to stop this from spreading any further among the people, let us warn them never again to speak to anyone in the Name of Jesus.”

So they called them back and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the Name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s eyes for us to obey you rather than God. We cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

Then the council threatened them once more and let them go. They could find no way of punishing them because of the people who glorified God for what happened.

Saturday, 26 April 2014 : Saturday within Easter Octave (Scriptures Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Today’s readings show us that we no longer have to fear or doubt in the truth of God. For if we stand by God and keep strong our faith, devotion and love for God, we will have everything and God will stand by us and provide us with all that we need. When we doubt, that is the moment of weakness which Satan can use to undermine our faith and our devotion to God, to the point that we may succumb to despair and commit things undesirable and wicked before Him.

This Easter, we celebrate the triumph of God over those who had arrayed themselves against Him, the celebration of the triumph of the good over evil, and the celebration of hope of new life over the old life, one that is decadent and filled with wickedness and sin. This Easter is a celebration of liberation and freedom, of mankind freed from the bonds of sin for eternity by the sacrifice of Jesus our Lord, and through whose resurrection we are made whole once again.

It is very difficult for mankind to let go of the temptations and impediments that were in place on our way towards God. It is very difficult for men to let go these goodness and pleasures that the world in particular are offering us daily. It is very difficult for many of us to let go of our desires, of our prejudices, of our judgments, and of our wants, for we are naturally, a creature tainted by the desires of this world and the desires of our flesh.

It is difficult for us to keep our faith in God, precisely because we are always tempted by sin, and at all times, doubt and fear are always in our minds. We cannot be truly close and intimate with God all because of our lack of total commitment and devotion towards the Lord, because we are unable to commit a hundred percent our attention and lives to God. Instead, we like to dwell in the world and be corrupted by the concerns and things of this world that inevitably lead us to sin.

That is why the elders of Israel, the chief priests, and those in the Sanhedrin of the people of God, supposedly the most learnt and the most educated of the people, opposed vehemently and firmly the presence and the works of God through Jesus, even though they naturally should have been the ones who would first welcome the Lord when He came. Instead, they became His enemies, and became those who attempted to derail the good works of the Lord by opposing in every situation and opportunities, the works of Jesus.

They failed to see reason and the truth of God in Jesus because their hearts had been hardened by sin, by the concerns of this world. Being people of influence and in the positions of power and privilege, they had forgotten their place and role in leading the people of God towards the Lord. Instead, they honoured power and glory, and craved for the people’s respect and praise towards them and did not tolerate any rival to their power and influence, leading to a vicious jealousy and hatred that grew so much, to the point that they even failed to see the truth in the Lord Jesus Christ, and ended up opposing and murdering the very One who would have rescued them from death.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this Easter, we are invited to throw far, far away all these impurities and unworthy behaviours as those that had been exhibited by those who opposed the works of Christ, in the Pharisees and the elders of Israel. We have this perfect opportunity to deny first ourselves, and then the desires of our flesh to seek the pleasures of this world over the approval of God. Let us not waste this golden opportunity to make ourselves anew and dedicate ourselves to a change for the better.

This Easter, let us remember, that the Lord had given His all for us, His love and dedication to the point of death. The cross! Remember always the cross, and how the cross is the ultimate manifestation of God’s love for all of us! And also the empty tomb! Remember that empty tomb, which signifies the victory that God had won for us, to liberate us from the certain defeat of death, and He who had won for us this new life, where we have no more need to fear from sin or death, but forever be filled with the hope of eternal joy in He who loves us.

May the Lord therefore guide us in this Easter season, as we grow stronger and stronger in our faith, and deeper in our devotion and love for God, that we will first always be faithful to Him, and then also be loving and good children and members of God’s family, always showing the Lord to be at the centre of our lives and actions. Let us follow the footsteps of the Risen Lord and His Apostles, and let us all bring the light of Christ to all the peoples, beginning from ourselves, and to those around us, and to the whole world! Let us share the joy of Easter! God bless us all. Amen.

Saturday, 26 April 2014 : Saturday within Easter Octave (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Mark 16 : 9-15

After Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary of Magdala, from whom He had driven out seven demons. She went and reported the news to His followers, who were now mourning and weeping. But when they heard that He lived, and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.

After this He showed Himself in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. These men also went back and told the others, but they did not believe them.

Later Jesus showed Himself to the Eleven while they were at table. He reproached them for their unbelief, and stubbornness, in refusing to believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.

Then He told them, “Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News to all creation.”

Saturday, 26 April 2014 : Saturday within Easter Octave (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 117 : 1 and 14-15, 16ab-18, 19-21

Alleluia! Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His loving kindness endures forever. The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation. Joyful shouts of victory are heard in the tents of the just : “The right hand of the Lord strikes mightily.”

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 Lord has stricken me severely, but He has saved me from death.

Open to me the gates of the Just, and let me enter to give thanks. “This is the Lord’s gate, through which the upright enter.” I thank You for having answered me, for having rescued Me.

Saturday, 26 April 2014 : Saturday within Easter Octave (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 4 : 13-21

The chief priests and the elders were astonished at the boldness of Peter and John, considering that they were uneducated and untrained men. They recognised also, that they had been with Jesus, but, as the man who had been cured stood beside them, they could make no reply.

So they ordered them to leave the council room while they consulted with one another. They asked, “What shall we do with these men? Everyone who lives in Jerusalem knows that a remarkable sign has been given through them, and we cannot deny it. But to stop this from spreading any further among the people, let us warn them never again to speak to anyone in the Name of Jesus.”

So they called them back and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the Name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s eyes for us to obey you rather than God. We cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

Then the council threatened them once more and let them go. They could find no way of punishing them because of the people who glorified God for what had happened.