Saturday, 22 April 2017 : Saturday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are all reminded again by the Scripture passage on the mission which the Lord our God had entrusted to us at the time when He had risen from the dead. All of us are in fact called to proclaim the Good News of the Lord to all, and not to remain in unbelief and fear that we would be persecuted or rejected if we are to do such good works for the sake of the Lord.

At the time of the Apostles, as we all heard in the Acts of the Apostles, the chief priests and the elders of the people were all trying very hard to stop the works of the Apostles by various means, including arresting them, coercing them and forcing them to stop teaching in the Name of the Lord. They used various means in order to prevent the teachings of the Lord from spreading any further, but without avail. For the Lord was with His servants and His people, and the truth of Christ continued to spread unabated.

The disciples of the Lord were mostly uneducated people, and yet we heard how they spoke with conviction, wisdom and strength, filled with courage and genuine intellect, surprising all those who have heard them, all who attempted to silence them and prevent the spreading of the Lord’s Good News. That was because the Lord was with them, and the Holy Spirit gave them the courage, strength and wisdom to do so.

The chief priests and elders stubbornly opposed the Lord’s good works because they were hindered by their own human intellect, their wisdom and their ways, which to them were their treasures in life. They allowed their pride to come in the way between them and their acceptance of God’s truth. As a result, even though they had seen so many miraculous deeds which Jesus had performed during His ministry, throughout all those times when they harassed Him and made His works difficult, they refused to believe, because they had hardened their hearts.

They opposed the Apostles and the other disciples of the Lord, harassing them and attacking them in the same manner just as they had harassed the Lord. They wanted to silence them and stop them from declaring God’s truth, but they would not have it that way. They placed their trust in the Holy Spirit which had been granted to them. They resisted the demands of the chief priests and elders, and spoke out about Christ regardless, even in the face of punishment and persecution.

This is the spirit and commitment which all of us Christians also ought to have in our respective lives. We must not be lukewarm in our faith, and we cannot be ignorant and lacking in action in living through our faith. Our faith must be one that is genuine and true, so that everyone who sees us and hears us may truly recognise the presence and the work of God inside each and every one of us.

This is the true spirit and joy of Easter that each and every one of us should have. We should be glad that the Lord had done such great things for us, giving us hope beyond all other hope, when we were in despair and engulfed with darkness. He has brought us all out of that darkness, and show us the path to His salvation. It is only right that we should share that light which we have received, with one another, with all those who are still living in darkness and in the state of sin.

Let us all show by our conviction and commitment to live out this life we have filled with zeal and devotion to God, through prayer, through faith, through charity and love, especially for the sick and the dying, to those who have no one to comfort them, to even our enemies and all those who have persecuted us. Remember, brothers and sisters in Christ, that even Jesus our Lord forgave His enemies and condemners from the cross.

Let us bring the light of Christ to one another, by our upright and just actions, and by our showing of care and concern to each other, so that many more people will come to believe in us, just as many believed in the words and actions of the Apostles and the saints, who have reflected the glory of the Risen Lord in their lives. Let us all become the beautiful windows through which the truth and glory of our Lord Jesus may be seen by all of mankind, that all will come to God through us and our works. God bless us all. Amen.

Saturday, 22 April 2017 : 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, 22 April 2017 : 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, 22 April 2017 : 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.

(Holy Week) Saturday, 15 April 2017 : Easter Sunday of the Lord’s Resurrection, Easter Vigil Mass (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Matthew 28 : 1-10

At that time, after the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to visit the tomb. Suddenly there was a violent earthquake : an Angel of the Lord descending from heaven, came to the stone, rolled it from the entrance of the tomb, and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning and his garment white as snow. The guards trembled in fear and became like dead man when they saw the Angel.

The Angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, Who was crucified. He is not here, for He is risen as He said. Come, see the place where they laid Him; then go at once and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see Him there. This is my message for you.

They left the tomb at once in fear, yet with great joy, and they ran to tell the news to His disciples. Suddenly, Jesus met them on the way and said, “Rejoice!” The woman approached Him, embraced His feet and worshipped Him. But Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid! Go and tell My brothers to set out for Galilee; there they will see Me.”

(Holy Week) Saturday, 15 April 2017 : Easter Sunday of the Lord’s Resurrection, Easter Vigil Mass (Psalm after Epistle)

Liturgical Colour : White
Psalm 117 : 1-2, 16-17, 22-23

Alleluia! Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His loving kindness endures forever. Let Israel say, “His loving kindness endures forever.”

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 stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing and we marvel at it.

(Holy Week) Saturday, 15 April 2017 : Easter Sunday of the Lord’s Resurrection, Easter Vigil Mass (Epistle)

Liturgical Colour : White
Romans 6 : 3-11

Do you not know that in baptism which unites us to Christ we are all baptised and plunged into His death? By this baptism in His death, we were buried with Christ and, as Christ was raised from among the dead by the Glory of the Father, so we begin walking in a new life. If we have been joined to Him by dying a death like His so we shall be by a resurrection like His.

We know that our old self was crucified with Christ, so as to destroy what of us was sin, so that we may no longer serve sin – if we are dead, we are no longer in debt to sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe we will also live with Him. We know that Christ, once risen from the dead, will not die again and death has no more dominion over Him. For by dying, He is dead to sin once and for all, and now the life that He lives is life with God.

So you, too, must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.