Saturday, 15 May 2021 : 6th Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scripture we are all told that the Lord has revealed His truth to us through Christ, His Son, Our Lord and Saviour. Through Him, the Lord has revealed what His desire is for all of us, the promise of eternal life and happiness with Him, through which He has called on all of us to be turned into a people of the Light, to be saved and freed from the chains of sin and evil that had bound us all these while.

The Lord said to His disciples in our Gospel passage today that He shall reveal everything to them, and in due time the truth would all be revealed, and all would know everything that He has brought into our midst, the whole truth of God’s love and wonderful grace. He also said how He would go to the Father and ascending to Him, referring to His Ascension after He has risen from the dead. Thus, all these then has been fulfilled when He ascended into Heaven at the fortieth day after His glorious Resurrection.

And while He has ascended into Heaven, He did not leave all of His faithful ones behind without any guidance or help. On the contrary, through the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Lord has not just revealed the fullness of His truth, but also gave great wisdom and guidance to all of His disciples and followers, encouraging and strengthening them all at the time of a great trial and a most challenging and crucial moment, as the faithful were facing great opposition from the Sanhedrin, the Jewish High Council and its members of authority.

Through the Holy Spirit, the Apostles and the many other disciples began to establish a firm foundation of the Church as they went from many places to places, spreading the words of truth and the Good News of God to more and more people, to the Jews and the Gentiles, or the non-Jewish people alike. More and more became convinced to follow the Lord and to entrust themselves to Him, and as we heard in our first reading today, the Church expanded greatly due to the efforts of St. Paul and others like the charismatic Jewish preacher named Apollos.

Apollos was likely one of the followers or even a disciple of St. John the Baptist, as it was mentioned that he was only familiar with the teachings and the baptism of St. John. He was eloquent and very charismatic, and made a large following among the Jewish diaspora throughout many parts of the Mediterranean. As mentioned in today’s first reading, some of the women among the believers, Priscilla and Aquila, both of whom were Roman names and were therefore Romans, noticed that Apollos did not have the fullness of truth that they themselves had received from the Apostles.

As a result then, we heard the very curious and interesting encounter, how two Gentile women, Priscilla and Aquila, revealed the fullness of truth to Apollos, a Jew, which was quite unusual in those early days of the Church, as the Apostles and most of the earliest disciples of the Lord were Jewish, and initially there were only few disciples from among the Gentiles. However, thanks to the efforts of St. Paul and other disciples who went on missionary journeys with him, as well as the efforts from others, many Gentiles came to accept the faith and the Holy Spirit descended on all of them as well.

We see here the great beauty of the Church, how its members help one another to seek the truth of God, sharing in the gifts of the Holy Spirit to those who have not yet known the Lord and His truth, just as Priscilla and Aquila revealed the truth to Apollos, whom having received the truth and enlightenment, then went on to proclaim the truth as most courageous missionary of the Christian faith to more and more people, bringing even more souls back to the Lord and His salvation.

Through all these we have heard today from the Scriptures, we are therefore reminded as those who have received the truth of the Lord, His love and salvation through the Church, that each and every one of us have also been called to be evangelising and missionary disciples of the Lord, that is to proclaim His truth and Good News at every possible opportunity. It does not mean that we need to go to foreign and faraway places as the Apostles had done all those years ago, or that we have to do amazing and wonderful actions.

Instead, it is at our every little and small actions that we glorify the Lord, through our sincere and most genuine efforts, in showing our faith by our actions, committed to the Lord, in walking down through His path and obeying His commandments, in showing love for Him above all other things, and in showing the same love to our fellow brothers and sisters, especially to those who are in need for love and compassion, mercy and help. We are all called to do our best at even the smallest opportunity, working together so that through all of our actions, we may come to glorify the Lord all the more.

May the Lord be with us always, and may He strengthen each and every one of us with the courage and the guidance, the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, which we have received, and share as the members of the same one Church of God. Let us all devote ourselves, our efforts and attention, to serve the Lord at all times, to be good Christians not just in name only but also in our words, actions and deeds, at all times. May God bless us all, now and always. Amen.

Saturday, 15 May 2021 : 6th Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 16 : 23b-28

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My Name, He will give you. So far you have not asked in My Name; ask, and receive, that your joy may be full.”

“I taught you all this in veiled language, but the time is coming when I shall no longer speak in veiled language, but will tell you plainly of the Father. When that day comes, you will ask in My Name; and it will not be for Me to ask the Father for you, for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and you believe that I came from the Father.”

“As I came from the Father, and have come into the world, so I am leaving the world, and going to the Father.”

Saturday, 15 May 2021 : 6th Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 46 : 2-3, 8-9, 10

Clap your hands, all you peoples; acclaim God with shouts of joy. For the Lord, the Most High, is to be feared; He is a great King all over the earth.

God is King of all the earth; sing to Him a hymn of praise. For God now rules over the nations, God reigns from His holy throne.

The leaders of the nations rally together with the people of the God of Abraham. For in His hands are the great of the earth, God reigns far above.

Saturday, 15 May 2021 : 6th Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 18 : 23-28

After spending some time at Antioch, Paul left and travelled from place to place through Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening the disciples. A certain Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, arrived at Ephesus. He was an eloquent speaker and an authority on the Scriptures, and he had some knowledge of the way of the Lord.

With great enthusiasm he preached and taught correctly about Jesus, although he knew only of John’s baptism. As he began to speak boldly in the synagogue, Priscilla and Aquila heard him; so they took him home with them and explained to him the way more accurately.

As Apollos wished to go to Achaia, the believers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. When he arrived, he greatly strengthened those who, by God’s grace, had become believers, for he vigorously refuted the Jews, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Messiah.

Saturday, 8 May 2021 : 5th Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us are reminded that while the Church and all of us the faithful people of God will continue to encounter trials and challenges, but we must never lose faith in God and we have to keep on trusting in His providence as He will always be by our side and be our Guide, at all times, all because of the great love that He has always had for each and every one of us. Nothing can change the love that He has for us, and He will always be with us through His Presence in our midst and by the Holy Spirit He has given us to lead us to the right path and to strengthen us.

In our first reading today we heard from the Acts of the Apostles the account of the travels of St. Paul as he continued his missionary journey after having settled the dispute regarding the imposition of Jewish customs and traditions on the converts among the Gentiles or the non-Jewish people. The Apostles sent St. Paul out to continue his mission in evangelising to the many peoples he visited during his missionary works, especially the Gentiles, many of whom became believers of Christ after they had heard St. Paul and witnessed his work and efforts.

St. Paul went from place to place, from town to town, speaking up about the truth of God which he proclaimed to all those whom he visited, in their synagogues, in their public places and places of assembly, in their houses and other locations. Some were willing to listen to him and open their hearts and minds to God’s truth and love, and that was how the seeds of faith were sown among so many people, many of whom eventually accepted Christ as their Lord and Saviour, and sought to be baptised as members of the Church, as God’s own beloved children.

Yet, there were also so many others who rejected St. Paul and also the other Apostles, and more often than not, they had to suffer trials and persecutions, ridicule and attacks even on their own persons for their courageous efforts in speaking the truth and in defending their Christian faith. Many of them had to endure prison and even torture, with quite a few dying as martyrs in the defence of their faith. All of the Apostles themselves save for St. John the Evangelist suffered and died as martyrs at the various stages in the early decades of the Church.

Nonetheless, all of them exhibited great courage and commitment to the mission that has been entrusted to them, to be the faithful witnesses of Christ, His truth and Resurrection among the many people of the world that they had been sent to, and they remained faithful and firmly set on the path that the Lord has set before them. They went forth, fearlessly, with God by their side, speaking the truth and not allowing themselves to be silenced by the opposition they encountered throughout their journey. Instead, they inspired one another and helped the Church to grow as it was, and many people were saved thanks to the courage of these faithful servants of God, our holy predecessors.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, St. Paul and all these inspiring examples of our faith should become our own inspiration in how we live our own faith, as we dedicate ourselves in our own way to serve the Lord in our present world today. We are all called to be His faithful disciples and to be His beloved people, exemplary in our faith and actions, that everyone who sees us, hears us, witnesses our actions and interacts with us will know that we are indeed His people, and that through us, God’s Name will always ever be glorified, and all will come to know Him through us.

Are we all willing to commit ourselves, brothers and sisters in Christ? Are we willing to seek Him with all of our hearts and minds, with all of our strength, and with all of our desires? Are we all ready to follow in the footsteps of the Apostles and all those who have gone before us, to be His witnesses and to be His spokespersons before all, not just by our words, but also through our lives and actions, and in everything we say and do, we have to be good role models through which all can see the truth and love of God in all things. And we need to have that courage in us to live faithfully each and every moments of our lives.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us always remember that God is always with us, by our side, and He will always be there for us, guiding us, just as He has always been with His servants throughout all the time. And even when we have to suffer and endure bitterness and humiliation, remember that the Lord Himself has suffered the very same suffering, bitterness and pain, He has endured the Cross for us, and it is with Him that we suffer now, and in fact, we should rejoice as the Apostles and the martyrs had done, in sharing in the suffering and death of the Lord through their own faithful witness and actions.

Let us all be evangelising and missionary disciples, in our own communities and in whatever the Lord has called us to do. Let us all reach out to our fellow brethren, and bring the light of God’s truth and His ever most wonderful and tender love and compassion to all those whom we encounter daily in life. May God be with us always, and may He remain with us, and bless us in everything we say and do, at all times. Amen.

Saturday, 8 May 2021 : 5th Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 15 : 18-21

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “If the world hates you, remember that the world hated Me before you. This would not be so if you belonged to the world, because the world loves its own. But you are not of the world, since I have chosen you from the world; because of this the world hates you.”

“Remember what I told you : the servant is not greater than his master; if they persecuted Me, they will persecute you, too. If they kept My word, they will keep yours as well. All this they will do to you for the sake of My Name, because they do not know the One Who sent Me.”

Saturday, 8 May 2021 : 5th Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 99 : 2, 3, 5

Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs.

Know that the Lord is God; He created us and we are His people, the sheep of His fold.

For the Lord is good; His love lasts forever and His faithfulness through all generations.

Saturday, 8 May 2021 : 5th Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 16 : 1-10

Paul travelled on to Derbe and then to Lystra. A disciple named Timothy lived there, whose mother was a believer of Jewish origin but whose father was a Greek. As the believers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him, Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him. So he took him and, because of the Jews of that place who all knew that his father was a Greek, he circumcised him.

As they travelled from town to town, they delivered the decisions of the Apostles and elders in Jerusalem, for the people to obey. Meanwhile, the churches grew stronger in faith and increased in number every day.

They travelled through Phrygia and Galatia, because they had been prevented by the Holy Spirit from preaching the message in the province of Asia. When they came to Mysia, they tried to go to Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to do this. So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas.

There one night Paul had a vision. A Macedonian stood before him and begged him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” When he awoke, he told us of this vision and we understood that the Lord was calling us to give the Good News to the Macedonian people.

Saturday, 1 May 2021 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we mark the occasion of the celebration of the feast of St. Joseph the Worker which falls on the first day of May every year. On this day, which is also celebrated as May Day or Labour Day by secular organisations and governments all around the world, we remember the nature of Christian work and charity as highlighted in the role model of all Christian workers, that is St. Joseph, the foster-father of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who was a carpenter in the small town of Nazareth.

St. Joseph was the model of virtue for all Christians, of obedience and righteous living and as a simple, humble carpenter, he led a mostly unassuming life in a small, unassuming town of Nazareth, in Galilee at the peripheries of the Jewish world and community at that time. As a carpenter, he was often overlooked and ignored, needed by the community but often unappreciated and disregarded by them in general, as carpenter was considered as the job of the illiterate and the uneducated, skilled but without much power and influence, or fame and glory.

That is why when the Lord came to Nazareth, His own hometown to reveal to the people there, His own townspeople regarding the truth that He has brought into this world, He was ridiculed and rejected, as the people there pointed out how He was just the Son of the village carpenter, a lowly person without much pedigree and status, and therefore, they ridiculed and rejected Him as such, even though He truly had spoken in such great wisdom and authority and done many wonderful deeds before them and across all of Galilee.

That brings us therefore to the reality of our world today, brothers and sisters in Christ, a world where workers all over the world are often under-appreciated and under-provided, treated badly and subjected to horrible working conditions and being treated unfairly, while those who manipulated and exploited them had free reign in doing whatever they wanted in order to maximise profits for themselves and to enjoy the fruits of those who have laboured under them without fair compensation and treatment.

That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us are called in our own respective lives to reflect on the realities of our world’s working community and the well-being of workers in general. We are called as employers and those who are in the position of influence and power to be fair in how we treat our fellow men, and not to treat those whom God had entrusted to be under our authority and guidance without justice. And as those who are working, and are labouring, we are also called to be just and virtuous ourselves, that we treat one another with respect, and also obey the good rules and laws of our employment.

Today, as Christians, all of us as part of the same Christian community, assembly of all the faithful, are called to be more like St. Joseph in how we live our lives, as humble and God-centred people, as those who place God as the focus of our respective lives and obey His will and His laws as we carry on living our lives and doing whatever we can throughout life in order to fulfil our obligations as Christians, to be good role models for one another and to be faithful witnesses and disciples of Our Lord through our lives.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us also take some time to reflect on how we are going forward in our lives and balancing our work obligations, our commitments in life, and most importantly our faith life and relationship with God. It is too often that many people have been so absorbed into their work and career that they ended up forgetting that their work and career is only a means to an end. Instead, they allow those things to control them and enslave them to their own desires and ambitions.

Let us all not lose sight of our true focus on life, brothers and sisters, that is the Lord, our God. He is the true centre of our lives, the reason of our very existence, and why we labour daily in order to glorify His Name by our works, and proclaim His truth through our exemplary faith and dedication. Let us all be the pillars of virtue and justice as St. Joseph, the righteous and virtuous Worker had shown us, as a most devoted servant of God and as the Protector of the Church.

Let us ask St. Joseph for his constant intercession, for all of us working out there, and especially for those who are on the forefront of the struggle against the pandemic, all of our frontline healthcare workers, who toiled daily, day and night to care for the need of those who are sick and suffering. Let us ask him to pray for the sake of all those who have also been exploited and manipulated for their work without fair treatment and justice, that God may recourse them and protect them in their hour of need.

May the Lord be with us all, and may He strengthen each and every one of us, to be His most faithful disciples, doing our respective work and duties in life, first and foremost as Christians, and living our lives genuinely with faith, in our working places and within each and every one of our communities. May God bless us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

Saturday, 1 May 2021 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 14 : 7-14

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “If you know Me, you will know the Father also; indeed you know Him, and you have seen Him.”

Philip asked Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and that is enough.” Jesus said to him, “What! I have been with you so long and you still do not know Me, Philip? Whoever sees Me sees the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me?”

“All that I say to you, I do not say of Myself. The Father Who dwells in Me is doing His own work. Believe Me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; at least believe it on the evidence of these works that I do. Truly, I say to you, the one who believes in Me will do the same works that I do; and he will even do greater than these, for I am going to the Father.”

“Everything you ask in My Name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. Indeed, anything you ask, calling upon My Name, I will do it.”

Alternative reading (Mass of St. Joseph)

Matthew 13 : 54-58

At that time, Jesus went to His hometown and taught the people in their synagogue. They were amazed and said, “Where did He get this wisdom and these special powers? Is He not the carpenter’s Son? Is Mary not His mother and are James, Joseph, Simon and Judas not His brothers? Are not all His sisters living here? How did He get all this?” And so they took offence at Him.

Jesus said to them, “The only place where prophets are not welcome is their hometown and in their own family.” And He did not perform many miracles there because of their lack of faith.