Thursday, 28 April 2022 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Peter Chanel, Priest and Martyr, and St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures telling us about the importance for us to remain steady in our faith in God, and not to give in to the various temptations, pressures, coercions, or any other attempts to lure us away from the path that God has shown us. As His disciples and followers, as Christians, that is those who have been called and chosen by God, and we who have answered His call, we are all entrusted with the important mission and commandment, to be the bearers of God’s truth and love which He has revealed to us in Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour.

In our first reading today, we heard of the confrontation between the Lord’s Apostles and the High Priest, the members of the Sanhedrin or the Jewish High Council. The Sanhedrin led by the High Priest had arrested and gathered the Apostles, who had earlier on been arrested for preaching about the Lord Jesus among the people of Jerusalem, and when they miraculously escaped the prison and were once again proclaiming God’s truth and resurrection, the Sanhedrin arrested them again and tried to pressure and coerce them not to preach anymore in the Name of the Lord under strong words and threat of persecution. Yet, none of those could persuade the Apostles to do otherwise, as they trusted in the Lord and His providence.

They refused to obey the commands of the High Priest and the Sanhedrin, and also refused to be coerced or pressured by their threats, as they were the servants of God and were tasked by the Lord with the evangelisation of the whole world. They were sent by the Lord and had been strengthened by the Holy Spirit to be His witnesses among the nations, and they would not back down or be silenced by the threats of the authorities or anyone else who were opposed to the Lord and His works among the people of God. They obeyed the Lord instead of the orders of men, and they suffered happily for His sake, for through them many would be saved.

In our Gospel passage today, we listened to the words of the Lord Jesus in His conversation with Nicodemus, one of the member of the Sanhedrin who was sympathetic to Him and His teachings, and who became one of His secret disciples. The Lord revealed to Nicodemus in their night time encounter that God has loved the world so much that He gave them all His most beloved Son, Himself Who was there and then speaking about the new and eternal life that He has brought and promised to all of us, such that everyone who believe in Him will not perish but will exist with true joy with God in an everlasting and true happiness.

The Apostles had received the same assurance, promise and revelation that the Lord had given to Nicodemus, and He had shared with them the mission that He entrusted to them in bringing this truth and the same knowledge, as well as thand also the desire for this truth to be delivered to more and more people, as many people had not yet known about Him, His path and ways, and they were still living in the darkness and in the state of sin, and unless they repent and change their ways, and come to know of the Lord and His salvation, many of them may end up in eternal damnation and hell.

That is why they resist, refusing to give up their ministry and work, their struggles and all the things that they had done to accomplish the Lord’s works among His people. There were many more people who need to know about the Lord and His saving grace, and they were waiting for those who would bear this light of truth and redemption to them, as many among them did not yet have the opportunity to know Christ, and yet there were also many others who had known the Lord but still resisted Him and refused to follow Him. It was by the tireless efforts and works of the Apostles, the saints, the martyrs, and many other holy men and women of God that God’s truth and salvation were revealed to the people.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, each and every one of us as Christians have been entrusted with the same mission, which we have inherited through the Church, to be the ones to bring forth the Good News of God’s salvation, His light, truth and love to all the people, to all mankind, our fellow brothers and sisters throughout the whole world. We are given this task to fulfil the will of God, and to help countless brothers and sisters of ours, all our fellow men who are still wandering off in the darkness of this world. If we do not avail ourselves to reach out and help them, then who will do so? And if they fall into damnation when we could have done more to help them, then the blame and consequence for that will fall squarely on us.

That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, through what we have heard in our Scripture readings today and reflecting on the examples of the Apostles of the Lord, we are all reminded to fulfil our Christian calling, to be faithful missionaries and witnesses of Our Lord’s truth and resurrection. What are we going to do from now on, brothers and sisters? Are we still going to continue to ignore our calling in life, to be true and faithful disciples of our Lord, in doing whatever we can to proclaim the Lord in our communities? Or are we going to embrace that calling wholeheartedly and follow the Lord wherever and whenever He calls us?

Today, we celebrate the feast of both St. Peter Chanel and St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, two great saints whose lives should be inspiration for us in living our lives with faith. St. Peter Chanel was a great missionary who went to proclaim the Lord and His truth to the furthest ends of the world, travelling to the island of Futuna in the southern Pacific far away from his homeland in France as a missionary priest, converting many among the natives and earning both the respect and opposition by the local nobles and powerful men, which eventually led to his martyrdom by the local king who was angered by the conversion of his own son due to the works of St. Peter Chanel.

Meanwhile, St. Louis Marie de Monfort, also known well as the founder of the Montfortians was a renowned missionary priest, who ministered to the people in France, which at that time required a lot of guidance and help amidst the rise of numerous false teachings and heresies that could threaten to mislead many down the path of error and rebellion against God. St. Louis Marie de Montfort was known for his dedication in proclaiming the truth of God to His people, resulting in many people discovering the truth about Him and emerging out of the darkness of their erroneous ways, and be reconciled with God and His Church.

Let us all do our best, in whatever we can do, in even the smallest things we can contribute, following in the examples set by these holy people, as we must not forget than even in the smallest things we do, for the sake of the Lord, and for the last, the lost and the least amongst us, we glorify God by our works, and we shall surely be blessed and filled with His blessings. May God be with us always, and may He strengthen us all that we may always ever live worthily of His Presence, now and forevermore. Amen.

Thursday, 28 April 2022 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Peter Chanel, Priest and Martyr, and St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

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, 28 April 2022 : 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 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, 28 April 2022 : 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 : 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, 28 April 2021 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Peter Chanel, Priest and Martyr and St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scripture we are presented with the story of the works of the Apostles and the followers of the Lord who went about from places to places, speaking about God and His truth, and calling on many to embrace the Christian faith. And the Lord reminded all of us through today’s Gospel passage that He will always be with us, and He will never abandon us, and that we are all proclaiming the same truth which He Himself has brought into this world, into our midst.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Acts of the Apostles on the ministry of the Apostles and the disciples who went to many parts of the regions of the Eastern Mediterranean while preaching the Good News and establishing the foundation of the Church and the Christian communities in those locations. And the Lord told His Apostles and disciples to send St. Paul and St. Barnabas to the Gentiles and minister to them, which marked the beginning of their ministry among the Gentiles and especially for St. Paul, his many decades of work in reaching out to them.

The Apostles prayed over the two and asked the Lord to guide them in their journey and in their efforts, and they were sent with much encouragement, to bring hope and light to those who have not yet known the Lord and are still living in the darkness. The Lord has sent His disciples to reveal more of His truth to all those who still have not heard of Him yet, and through these faithful disciples He is calling on all of them to follow Him.

He calls on everyone to follow Him, and He has done everything that we may find our way to Him. Yet, there were still many who refused to believe in Him and persecuted His disciples and followers. Yet, He still sent more and more people to turn even these stubborn and hard-hearted people, persuading them and asking them to listen to reason and to open their hearts and minds, listening to the truth that He has brought to them. His love for each and every one of us is the reason why He kept on doing that, again and again.

And therefore we are all called today to reflect firstly on ourselves and our own lives. Have we been stubborn in refusing to follow the Lord wholeheartedly, in continuing to act in ways that are contrary to the way of the Lord, in disobeying Him and being stubborn in following our own desires and the path of worldliness and sin? There are many who are just Christians in name only, and in their hearts and minds, God is not truly present, and He is also not the centre and focus.

Today all of us are therefore reminded to be truly faithful to God, and we are all called to give our whole heart and mind to Him, just as the Apostles and the countless disciples and followers of the Lord had done. In all that they had done, they are our wonderful sources of inspiration, in living up to their faith and in following what the Lord had called them to do, dedicating themselves wholeheartedly to the missions entrusted to them. The Lord called them and they heard Him, and they responded to that call with great dedication and faith.

Today, we are called to follow the examples of St. Peter Chanel and St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, whose feast day we are celebrating today. St. Peter Chanel was a renowned French priest and missionary, who always had great zeal for missionary work and outreach, and as he joined the congregation dedicated for missionary work in both local and far flung foreign areas. In this regard, St. Peter Chanel was eventually sent to French Polynesia, where he ministered to the people there and to all the others that he visited on his way to the place of his ministry.

In Futuna, where he ministered to the locals, he was initially welcomed by the local king and tribe, but in time, as more and more of the locals were converted, the king and his nobles began to fear that Christianity and Christian missionaries would become great threat to their own influence and power, especially the king as the high priest and the leader of the pagan faith of the locals. Hence, eventually, when St. Peter Chanel managed to persuade even the king’s son to be baptised, the king arranged for his champion to kill St. Peter Chanel, who died a martyr defending his faith.

Meanwhile, St. Louis Marie de Montfort was a renowned priest who is remembered well for his intense Marian devotion and also great contributions to the field of Mariology. He is remembered for his courageous efforts in evangelisation and preaching in various places where he helped many people to discover the Lord and renew their faith in Him, while encouraging the devotion to His Blessed Mother Mary, and calling on many people to repent and turn away from their sins. Thanks to his dedication, many people, even after his passing, have been inspired by him and chose to follow the Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore commit ourselves to the Lord following the good examples of these two saints, and that of the Apostles, especially St. Paul and St. Barnabas, that each and every one of us, in our own ways, and in each and every of our own capacities and abilities, we may glorify the Lord by our lives, and may show great and wonderful testimony of our faith through our actions, words and deeds in life. May all of us be blessed and strengthened by the Lord in all of our efforts and good works, now and always. Amen.

Wednesday, 28 April 2021 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Peter Chanel, Priest and Martyr and St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

John 12 : 44-50

At that time, yet Jesus had said, and even cried out, “Whoever believes in Me, believes not in Me, but in Him Who sent Me. And whoever sees Me, sees Him Who sent Me. I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in Me may not remain in darkness.”

“If anyone hears My words and does not keep them, I am not the One to condemn him; for I have come, not to condemn the world, but to save the world. The one who rejects Me, and does not receive My word, already has a judge : the very word I have spoken will condemn him on the last day.”

“For I have not spoken on My own authority; the Father, Who sent Me, has instructed Me in what to say and how to speak. I know that His commandment is eternal life, and that is why the message I give, I give as the Father instructed Me.”

Wednesday, 28 April 2021 : 4th 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 66 : 2-3, 5, 6 and 8

May God be gracious and bless us, may He let His face shine upon us, that Your way be known on earth and Your salvation among the nations.

May the countries be glad and sing for joy, for You rule the peoples with justice and guide the nations of the world.

May the people praise You, o God, may all the peoples praise You! May God bless us and be revered, to the very ends of the earth.

Wednesday, 28 April 2021 : 4th 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 12 : 24 – Acts 13 : 5

Meanwhile the word of God was increasing and spreading. Barnabas and Saul carried out their mission and then came back to Jerusalem, taking with them John also called Mark.

There were at Antioch – in the Church which was there – prophets and teachers : Barnabas, Symeon known as Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod, and Saul.

On one occasion while they were celebrating the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said to them, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul to do the work for which I have called them.” So, after fasting and praying, they laid their hands on them and sent them off.

These then, sent by the Holy Spirit, went down the port of Seleucia and from there sailed to Cyprus. Upon their arrival in Salamis they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogue.

Saturday, 28 April 2018 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Peter Chanel, Priest and Martyr and St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the truth as revealed by the Lord, and which we have heard through the Church, having been passed down through the Apostles, and from the Apostles to their successors. And we call ourselves as Christians, because we believe in the message of truth which Christ, Our Lord Jesus Christ, delivered into this world.

Unfortunately, as we can see in both the Acts of the Apostles and in the Gospel today, there were many of those who were skeptical and who refused to believe in the truth that Christ had brought into this world, and this included initially even the Apostles themselves. They failed to believe at first, how He is truly the Son of God and the Saviour of the world.

They failed to see this truth at first, even though the Lord Jesus had stated it plainly from the beginning to them, and even though they have directly experienced and witnessed God’s miraculous works through Jesus, as no one else had ever done before. They saw how He had turned water into wine, healed and opened the eyes of the blind, loosened the tongues of the mute and opening the ears of the deaf, feeding five thousand and four thousand men and more with just a few loaves of bread and fishes.

And then, they saw how He even raised people who have been dead back into life. He raised Lazarus from the dead after four days, and all who saw these miracles were astonished. Yet, equally many of those who had seen these miracles, were also the ones who would later on condemn the Lord Jesus to death, death on the cross when they were instigated by the Pharisees and the elders of the people.

In the Acts of the Apostles, as St. Paul and St. Barnabas went around many cities and towns in the Eastern Mediterranean area, they preached about the Lord, the Saviour of this world. Many of the Gentiles, or the non-Jewish people, mostly Greek and some Romans, believed in their teachings and came to convert to the Christian faith. Some of the Jews also believed in them, and they enthusiastically welcomed them and asked them to preach to them.

However, there were many of those who refused to believe, some among the Gentiles because they saw the efforts of the Apostles as an affront to their traditional pagan gods and way of life. While there were quite a few among the Jews who believed in the lies spread by the elders about the disciples having stolen the body of Jesus and therefore spoke lies about the resurrection of the Lord.

Thus, they persecuted the Apostles and rejected their message, chasing them out of their town. Why is that so, brothers and sisters in Christ? Why with all the challenges and difficulties that the Lord and His disciples had faced throughout their work? These were all caused by our stubbornness, mankind’s pride and hardened hearts. The enemies of the Lord had many reasons to oppose Him.

They wanted to preserve their earthly influence, status and authority, and they saw the Lord as a great threat to all that they have accumulated for their own benefit. Now, these were the same things which faced the followers of the Lord, whose memory we remember today. St. Peter Chanel, missionary to the Oceanian islands of Wallis and Futuna, and St. Louis Marie de Montfort, founder of the Montfortians.

St. Peter Chanel was a missionary who went to the islands to evangelise to the people living there, who have not yet heard of the Lord and His truth, much like St. Paul and St. Barnabas who went to faraway places in the past. Many came to believe in the Lord through St. Peter Chanel’s works, and even the son of the king of the island came to believe, and asked to be baptised as a Christian.

The king was furious and did whatever he could to prevent that from happening. When that failed, he sent his son-in-law to murder St. Peter Chanel, and thus, eventually this courageous servant of God was martyred. Yet, his martyrdom proved to be fruitful in the end, as eventually, most of the people embraced the Christian faith, and even his murderer converted to the faith as well and repented his sin.

Meanwhile, St. Louis Marie de Montfort was renowned for his effort at preaching and evangelisation, as well as commitment to the Catholic education of youths. Yet, he did not have it all easy during his ministry, as he had his share of opponents, who disagreed with him and refused to listen to him. He was assaulted and even poisoned before, all for his hard work in preaching the truth of God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, what each one of us must realise is that God will always His enemies and all those who disagree with Him. And definitely, these will also be against us if we are faithful to the Lord and His ways. But are we going to side with those who oppose the Lord? Or are we going to stand up for our faith as St. Paul had done? The choice is ours to make.

Let us all pray therefore, asking the Lord for faith, that we may truly be able to believe in Him wholeheartedly, and not be swayed by the falsehoods of this world, or by the sweet lies of Satan and his tempters. Let us all pray also for strength and courage, and guidance of the Holy Spirit, that we may follow faithfully in the footsteps of the Holy Apostles, in their courage and outspokenness, in preaching the truth and standing up for their faith.

May the Lord be with us always, and may He continue to guide us in our journey of faith, that we may always draw closer to Him, day after day, and receive from Him the gift of eternal life. May God bless us all. Amen.

Saturday, 28 April 2018 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Peter Chanel, Priest and Martyr and St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

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.”