Sunday, 22 May 2022 : Sixth Sunday of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday is already the Sixth Sunday of Easter, and this means that we are approaching the end of the joyous season of Easter soon, and it is a good time for us to take stock on what we have gone through so far in the season of Easter. This season of Easter is a time for us to focus our attention on the Risen Lord and the hope that He has brought upon us all Christians, the hope of everlasting life and true happiness with God. It is a time for us to rediscover our faith in Him and for us to return to our roots in the teachings of Christ, Our Lord and Saviour.

In our first reading today, as we listened to the words of the Acts of the Apostles, we are presented with the controversy and divisions that existed within the Church in its early days when there were disagreements between those who sought to impose the very strict and harsh version of the Jewish laws and customs, as proposed by those converts to the Christian faith from among the Pharisees, and those who wanted to make it easier for the Gentiles or the non-Jewish people to follow the Lord, by not requiring any Christian faithful from obeying the full laws and customs of the Jewish people. Both of them represented the different opinions and factions then present within the early Church, showing some of the challenges faced by the Church and its leaders in its earliest days.

It would be difficult for the non-Jewish people like the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Arameans and many others who were touched and called by the truth of God to follow the Lord should they be required to obey the fullness of the Jewish laws and customs. That is because some of the Jewish traditions and requirements such as circumcision and the dietary prohibitions would have caused great difficulties for them to live their lives as Christians as those were seen as strange or even barbaric practices by those Gentiles. It would have made living as Christians doubly difficult for the converts from among the Gentiles.

As such, the Apostles and the whole Church discussed and prayed over the matter, and they considered how they could make it better especially for the Gentiles to follow the Lord. They decided that it was unnecessary for the faithful, be it Jews or Gentiles to follow the fullness of the very restrictive and strict Jewish laws and customs. Those laws had dated from the time of Moses, when the Lord Himself gave those commandments, laws and precepts to His people through Moses. However, many of those were meant to help the people to redirect their attention and way of life to focus on the Lord instead of their many worldly preoccupations and distractions.

Instead, as time went by, there were more and more laws and ordinances, harsher and stricter interpretations due to the desire of the people to purify their way of life after enduring the difficulties and the humiliations caused by the years of the destruction of the old kingdom of Israel, the destruction of their homeland and exile in Babylon, Assyria and elsewhere. Then, later on, much more recent by the time of Jesus, the actions of the Greeks in trying to destroy the Jewish culture and customs, as highlighted in the Book of the Maccabees in the Old Testament, would lead to a bitter war of independence led by the Maccabees which eventually led to the freedom for the Jewish people. This happened just about over a hundred and fifty years before the time of Jesus’ ministry.

However, that noble intention was overshadowed by the overzealous attempts of those who sought to keep the laws pure and sacred, by increasingly emphasising on the intricate details of the rituals and practices of the laws, adding more detailed explanations and parts that ended up overriding the original intention of the Law, and making it difficult and cumbersome for the people to follow it faithfully and wholeheartedly. In fact, many of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law who enforced those laws themselves did not truly and could not fulfil the entire commandments and parts of the Law that they themselves enforced.

Hence, what we have heard in our first reading is a reminder for all of us that, just as the Apostles had done in pointing out to the Church and the faithful that what is important in being Christians is not about the Law itself or how one is to follow the Law in a particular way, for ultimately, the Law is a means through which the faithful could be better able to follow the Lord, and it is meant to bring the people closer to God, to discover His truth and love, and to know how they can live their lives so that they may be better attuned to Him, and eventually be able to find their way to Him through His saving grace.

That was why, the Apostles and the elders of the Church decided that it did not make any sense for the faithful to be subjected to the whole breadth and depth of the Jewish laws and practices as enforced and kept by the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, when the Lord Himself frequently, as highlighted throughout the Gospels, criticised the way that those same Pharisees and the teachers of the Law had carried out and followed the Law. When the Law became the focus of the attention and when everyone ended up becoming self-centred and self-righteous, comparing oneself and thinking of oneself as being better and superior than others just because they obeyed the Law better, that is when the Church as a community of the faithful break down and fail to work.

Instead, the Church of God must remain open and welcoming, filled with the genuine love of God and His truth. The Church of God has to be the beacon of light showing the light of God, His love and truth to all the nations. The message that we heard in our second reading today from the Book of Revelations of St. John showed us the vision of the heavenly Jerusalem, the new Heaven and the new Earth that will come in the end, and into which all the people are called to come, regardless of their race and background, and regardless of their affiliations and status. What matters is their faith and genuine love for God.

The Lord welcomes us all, every single sons and daughters of man to follow Him, to be His disciples and followers. He calls us all to walk in His path, and He has taught us how to do so, through what we have heard in our Gospel passage today. In His own words, He said that we ought to keep His words and teachings, and accept His truth wholeheartedly. That is what He expected us to do with our lives, as Christians, as His disciples and followers, and as His beloved people. All of us have to remain firm in following His path and not be easily distracted by the many temptations and pressures of the world, and keep our focus on Him and not on other things.

As what we have heard and discussed regarding the attitudes of those who followed the strict version of the Jewish customs and laws, and attempted to impose them on the whole Church. The Lord wants us, His faithful ones to live according to the Law and not for the Law. The Law of God is the law of love, what God has revealed to us more completely through His Son and the Holy Spirit, a call for us to love God with all of our hearts and might, and to show that same love to all of our fellow brethren, our fellow mankind. That is what Christian love is and all of us are challenged and called to fulfil that, as the cornerstone of our lives and as our focus and attention.

Each and every one of us have to remind ourselves that we are all called to share the love of God with one another, and to inspire others to love Him more and more. And the best way for us to do that is by showing that love in our own way of life. Instead of loving ourselves and acting with pride and arrogance as what many among the Pharisees had done, who looked down on those whom they condemned as sinners and unworthy, we ought to remind ourselves that we are all sinners in God’s eyes, sinners who are in need of God’s love and mercy. We are all equal before God and we should not think that we are better than others, or wanting to impose our way of thinking on others, as highlighted, when those are not in accordance with God’s truth.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all as we continue with our journey of faith in life, commit ourselves to follow the Lord and to do the best with our lives, with whatever gifts and talents that God has given us. Let us all be exemplary in our lives and actions so that by our lives we may inspire many others to follow our examples, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem to us. Let us not worry about how much we do and whether what we had done is enough. Instead, let us encourage ourselves by realising that whatever we have done, even in the smallest things, can impact others in ways beyond what we ever imagined.

Let us do our best to inspire others to follow the Lord and to believe in Him, instead of pushing them away from Him by our arrogance, pride or self-righteousness. Instead, let us show the path to the Lord by sharing His love and compassion, His mercy and grace by our actions, at all times. May God bless us all and our every actions, for His greater glory, now and always, forevermore. Amen.

Sunday, 15 May 2022 : Fifth Sunday of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday we mark the Fifth Sunday of Easter, which means that we have passed the mid-point of this blessed and joyful season of Easter, and we continue to progress through this time and season of Easter, we are constantly again being reminded of our calling as Christians, as those who have placed our faith and trust in Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, Whom we believe to have risen from the dead and had been triumphant in the struggle and battle against evil, sin and death. All of us as Christians are called to be sharers in the Church’s mission to evangelise and to spread the Good News to more and more people.

In our first reading today, we heard of the ministry and works of St. Paul and St. Barnabas as they were sent to evangelise to the people in many places, travelling throughout the breadth and length of Asia Minor, visiting the population centres and other areas, proclaiming the truth of God and the message of His Good News and salvation to more and more people. They also encouraged the faithful there to keep their faith despite the trials and challenges that they had to endure in being the followers of Christ. The Christian faithful were then persecuted by the Jewish authorities, the Sanhedrin and the chief priests, the Pharisees and Sadducees and their supporters.

Yet, all these did not dampen the spirit of the Apostles and the other missionaries who continued to labour hard for the sake of the Lord and His faithful people, as they continued to speak up for the Lord’s truth amidst all the opposition and challenges that they encountered. They faithfully committed themselves to spread the words of God’s salvation to more people throughout the world, and while they suffered, their faith and love for God in fact inspired many more people to believe in God as well. The faith and the love that each of those Christians showed to one another, and their hope in God encouraged many to remain firmly faithful in God.

In our second reading today, taken from the Book of Revelations, we heard of the words of St. John the Apostle speaking at the end of his account of the revelations he had received from God. St. John received the visions from God of what would happen in the end of time, and he saw in the end, a vision of a new heaven and a new earth, and a new Jerusalem descending from God in Heaven, in which all the faithful people of God will dwell in, free from sorrow and suffering, free from tyranny and oppression. All the faithful will live and reign forever with God, Who will be with them and dwell among them, and everyone will enjoy an everlasting peace and happiness with Him.

It is this firm assurance of the world that is to come, the love of God and all that the faithful ones of God will have in the end, which encouraged the faithful further. St. John wrote of his experiences and his visions as such, to reveal to the people of God, that while indeed there will be sufferings to come, the persecutions and oppressions against the faithful as detailed in that same Book of Revelations, but those who keep their faith in God and do not give up their obedience to Him, will enjoy the fullness of happiness and grace, the ultimate triumph that they will enjoy together as God conquers evil, sin and death for all eternity.

That was the same encouragement that St. Paul, St. Barnabas, the other Apostles and disciples of the Lord had proclaimed to the people, and the assurances that they had given to their fellow brothers and sisters in faith. God will not abandon His beloved people, and while they may have to suffer just as He has suffered, rejected and humiliated just as He has been rejected and humiliated, and even having to die a most painful death just as the Lord Himself had died a terrible death on the Cross, but they will be triumphant with God in the end, and what matters is that, God knows everything that His faithful ones had done for His sake, and they shall be rewarded for that faith.

In our Gospel passage today, the Lord gave His commandment to His disciples at the moment of the Last Supper, after Judas Iscariot the betrayer had left. The Lord told all of the disciples assembled to do as He had told them to do, to love one another just as He had loved them, and to continue doing what He had taught them to do, in obeying God’s will and commandments. And He also said that it is by their obedience and adherence to this way of life that everyone would come to know that they were the followers of God, and therefore, some among them, if not many, may be persuaded and convinced to follow the Lord as well.

It is there that we are once again reminded of our calling as Christians. Each one of us are called to practice our faith actively in our daily lives, to be exemplary in how we live our lives, in carrying out the Lord’s commandment of love faithfully in each and every moments we have. We do this by showing care and concern, love and compassion for one another, caring for our fellow brothers and sisters just as much as we care for ourselves. This is actually easier said than done, because we mankind are selfish by nature, and we tend to think of ourselves first, and the common ways of this world and the actions of many out there showed us how men were often willing even to sacrifice others for their own benefits and satisfaction.

But that is not what our Christian faith and way of life is all about, brothers and sisters in Christ. As Christians, we are called and challenged to live a way of life that is often fundamentally different from what we are often familiar with in our world. Instead of being selfish and self-serving, we are all called to think of others first, and to show love to others, much as how the Lord has shown His care for us, not minding Himself and what He had to endure, so that by loving us, and caring for us, He might open for us all the path to eternal life. That He had done so through His most loving sacrifice on the Cross.

The Apostles were clearly inspired by the Lord, His examples and unconditional love for all of us sinners. They gave themselves to their ministry and calling, enduring bitter rejection and persecution, all because they loved the Lord very much, and they also loved their fellow brothers and sisters, even those who had persecuted them, much as the Lord Himself had done the same thing earlier on. They followed the Lord’s own examples, and from there, they gave us even more concrete examples of true and genuine faith, faith that is not selfish or inward looking, but rather is life-giving and nurturing, as they ventured forth in proclaiming the Word of God to more and more people, for the salvation of all.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we listened to these words from the Scriptures and reflect on their meaning, significance and importance to us once again, we all ought to discern how we can be better and more worthy Christians in our daily living. Are we living our lives as how faithful and selfless Christians should live? And are we doing what the Lord had told us to do, to love our fellow brethren just as much as we have loved ourselves? The Lord had called us to action, and to embrace faithfully and wholeheartedly the mission of evangelisation that He has entrusted to each one of us.

The responsibility and calling to evangelise is not just the responsibility carried by some in the Church. It is not just the clergy, priests and missionaries who need to labour for the sake of the Lord and His Church, and for the people who had not yet known God. On the other hand, it is the responsibility shared by all the faithful, and which is why our roles as various parts and members of the Church are even more important, and each one of us, be it clergy or laity, whether married or single, or in whichever stage of life we are in, all of us have this calling and obligation to glorify God by our lives.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in this Sunday’s readings, and through them, all of us as Christians are reminded as we have been many times throughout this season of Easter, that our rejoicing and celebration cannot just be inward looking and focused. On the contrary, we have to be an evangelising, missionary and active Church, full of vibrancy and faith, with dedication and commitment to live our lives daily with faith, fulfilling what the Lord had commanded us to do, to love one another just as He has loved us, and to love others just as much as we love ourselves.

Are we all willing and able to commit ourselves to this calling, brothers and sisters? The choice is in our hands whether we want to follow Christ our Lord wholeheartedly or not. The temptation indeed will be great for us to succumb to the temptations and allures of worldly pleasures, but we must not let those things distract us from our path towards the Lord. Let us all help one another in our journey of faith and be sources of inspiration for each other in how we live our lives with faith. Let us all commit ourselves anew to the Lord, and devote more of our time, effort and attention to be the faithful disciples and witnesses of Our Lord in our world today, that more and more people may be saved through us. May God bless us and our every endeavours, our every good works. Amen.

Sunday, 8 May 2022 : Fourth Sunday of Easter, Good Shepherd Sunday and Vocation Sunday (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday, the fourth Sunday in the season of Easter marks the occasion of Good Shepherd Sunday, or also known as the Vocation Sunday. This Sunday is called as such because the Gospel reading was taken from the Gospel of St. John, in which the Lord referred to Himself as the Good Shepherd and we, the people of God as His sheep and flock. Through Him, our Good Shepherd, the Lord has called on all of us to follow Him and return to Him, to no longer be lost and separated from Him, but be reunited with Him and becoming once again part of that one flock of God in His Church.

In our first reading today, all of us heard from the Acts of the Apostles the works of two of the Apostles, St. Paul and St. Barnabas who were travelling to Antioch in Pisidia in Asia Minor, where they preached about the Lord and His truth in the synagogue. The two Apostles spoke to a large gathering of both Jewish people and the non-Jewish people, the Gentiles. But their efforts in attracting so many people especially the Gentiles caused some among the Jews to be jealous and hostile to their popularity. It was likely that those Jewish people mentioned had belonged to the Pharisees or at least those who were sympathetic of the position of the Pharisees and their opposition against Jesus.

Hence, as we heard, while the Apostles managed to gain great support and following even from among the Gentiles, who were happy to hear the Good News presented to them, but those people who refused to believe in them were offended and angry at the popularity that St. Paul and St. Barnabas managed to get, and considered them as a threat to the way of life and the beliefs of those who held and clung on to the traditions of the Jewish customs as promoted and preserved by the Pharisees and the elders. As such, they did whatever they could to oppose the two Apostles, persecuting them and evicting them from their region.

Yet, the Apostles, St. Paul, St. Barnabas and the Twelve Apostles led by St. Peter all continued to labour hard for the Lord and His Church, going forth to many places and spreading the Good News passed onto them as the shepherds of the Lord’s flock, the servants of the one and true Good Shepherd of all. They proclaimed the Lord’s truth to all the people, to the Jewish people and the Gentiles alike, and although they encountered many opposition and rejection from those who refused to believe in God and His truth, persecuted and having to endure arrest, prison, torture and even martyrdom, they continued to proclaim the word of God faithfully and many others did flock to follow the Lord through them.

In our second reading today, we heard of the vision of St. John the Apostle from the Book of Revelations that he wrote, detailing what he had seen in the series of visions he received at the island of Patmos during his exile there. St. John saw the vision of innumerable holy men and women from across all time and places, all gathered together to proclaim the Lord and glorify Him, to praise Him on His Throne, as St. John saw Him, the victorious Lamb of God, Who has won the ultimate victory over sin, evil and death, and by His sacrifice on the Cross, He has gathered all of us as our Good Shepherd, leading us all to the path towards eternal life.

What victory is it about, brothers and sisters in Christ? It is the great triumph that God had won for us over the forces of evil and sin. We have been corrupted by sin ever since the beginning of time, when we succumbed to the temptations of the devil and allowed sin to enter into our hearts. Because of that, we have been scattered throughout the world and fell into darkness, becoming lost from the Lord, our Good Shepherd. But what is important is that, God’s love for us far surpasses His disgust and anger for our sins. He loves us all beyond anything else, and He created us in the first place because He loved us all. If He did not love us at all, He would not even have created us or given us a chance at all.

Therefore, in coming upon us Himself, through His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Divine Word Incarnate, the Lord came to us to show just how much He loved us all and how precious we truly are to Him. The Lord has come to gather us all from the far ends of the world, and to lead us all back to Himself just as He has long promised to us. And to this end, He has established His Church, and called us all to be part of that one flock that He has gathered together in His Name, and entrusted all of us to those whom He had called and dedicated to be shepherds modelled after Himself, the Good Shepherd.

St. Paul, St. Barnabas, the other Apostles and many other holy men and women of God, the saints all showed us what they had done in following the examples set by the Good Shepherd in helping many more lost souls, the lost sheep of the Lord to return to Him. Just as the Lord Himself also said in another occasion, that the good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep, hence, He Who laid down His own life for our salvation inspired His own servants, like St. Paul, St. Barnabas and many more to be willing to lay down their lives and to suffer for the sake of the Lord and His people. Through their courage and determination, countless souls had been saved, and many had been brought to reconciliation with God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we commemorate this Good Shepherd Sunday, what we have just discussed earlier highlighted why we also mark the occasion of Vocation Sunday today. That is because while we remember the Lord, our Good Shepherd in all that He had done for us, we must not forget that He has called all of us to follow Him, and for all of us to embrace our respective calling in life and dedicate ourselves, in whichever capacity and ability we are able to commit, to embrace a good Christian vocation in life. And we must not think or misunderstand that vocation means only vocations to priesthood only.

That is because there are many vocations for us as Christians in the Church. Most prominent indeed are those whom God had called to serve Him wholeheartedly and completely as those who embrace the call to the priesthood as well as religious life. They have been called to serve the Lord and His people, following in the footsteps of the Apostles, in continuing their works of evangelisation and in ministering to the people of God. However, this does not mean that all the others who have not followed this same path then do not have any role to play in the works of the evangelisation or as part in the Lord’s mission entrusted to His Church.

On the contrary, as members of God’s Church, each and every one of us have very important roles to play, and the laity have immense role that all of them have to play and take part in faithfully and with commitment in order to make sure that the Church’s efforts and its missions will be successful. The responsibility for evangelisation and spreading the Good News of God is not that of the priests and religious, or missionaries alone. All the faithful people of God share in the same mission, inspired by the Good Shepherd, Our Lord’s own examples, His love and dedication for us, His lost sheep, in gathering all of them to His loving embrace.

That is why, all of us have to live our lives worthily of the Lord and doing whatever we can to contribute to the mission of the Church in reaching out to the lost sheep of the Lord’s flock, all those who have not yet known the Lord and His salvation, and all those who have fallen astray in the path towards God. Each one of us can help one another, and even the priests and missionaries need the constant support from every members of the Church so that they may be able to do their works effectively. It is indeed not easy to be priests, especially in our world today, and we need to support the priests, our shepherds, that they may be inspired to follow the path of their predecessors, the Apostles and their successors, and the Lord Himself, the Good Shepherd.

That is why all of us have to pray for our priests, for more vocations to the priesthood. But at the same time, should any of us are called to the priesthood, then we should not ignore that call either. A most common thing in the Church is that we do not mind if others are called to the priesthood, but when some parents encounter the fact that it is their own children who are called to the priesthood, or religious life, or other vocations that are not according to what they wanted, they became defensive or even putting objections to that vocation or desire of their own children. It is truly hypocritical if we want others to embrace their vocation but not those in our own families. Yet, sadly, this is one of the main reason why it is truly difficult for some to embrace their vocation to priesthood and religious life.

Now, at the same time, we must also not forget to reflect on our vocation as married people, as those who have been called to a life in matrimonial bond and in growing up faithful Christian families. As mentioned, that is also a very important vocation, and one that cannot be ignored. For faithful and committed Christian families are truly the bedrock of the Church, and the first places where our children will learn about the faith. If our Christian families are not founded upon firm faith and the strong desire to serve and follow God, then sooner or later, not only that we may lose a lot of our children to indifference to their faith, to apostasy and more, but the whole entire Church community will also be negatively affected.

There are also of course those among us called to other purposes in life, even those who are called to remain single and devote themselves to the Lord. Many of them are not even members of any religious orders, but they dedicated themselves to a particular purpose or some missions to do things for the good of others, and to advance the cause of the Lord, to proclaim His Good News and more. Those are also wonderful vocations that each one of us, should we be called, have to embrace as well. We are all called to different purposes in life and we really should do our best to follow Him, and commit ourselves to God as best as we can.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Good Shepherd and Vocation Sunday, let us ask the Lord, our Good Shepherd, to guide us all and to give us the strength and courage so that we all can be faithful shepherds, role models and examples for one another in faith. Let our actions, words and deeds be inspiration at all times, and let more and more people come to believe in God through us. May each one of us devote more of our time and effort to follow our vocations in life, and may God, our loving Good Shepherd be with us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

Sunday, 1 May 2022 : Third Sunday of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday, the third in the glorious and joyous season of Easter, all of us are called to remember once again, through the Sacred Scriptures, of the reason why we celebrate this season and why we rejoice so happily, all because of the great victory and triumph that Our Lord and Saviour has won for us, that by His death and resurrection, He has purchased for all of us, the freedom and liberation from the tyranny of sin and death. Through Him, all of us have received the assurance of eternal life and true joy, assured of the final victory that will come with Him, if we remain faithful and steadfast, staying true to Him to the very end.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Acts of the Apostles of the confrontation between the Apostles and disciples of the Lord led by St. Peter, against the Sanhedrin, the powerful High Council of the Jewish people led by the High Priest, who had arrested the Apostles and ordered them to stop preaching in the Name of the Risen Lord. At that time, the Lord had risen and ascended into Heaven, and the Holy Spirit had descended upon the Apostles, whom encouraged and strengthened by the Holy Spirit, went forth to proclaim courageously the truth about God and His salvation, in Jesus Christ, the same One Whom the Sanhedrin had arrested and accused, sent to the Romans to be crucified and killed.

The Apostles, led by St. Peter firmly and courageously refused to remain silent or to obey the order of the High Priest and the Sanhedrin, as they had been tasked and entrusted by God with the very important mission of revealing the truth and the Good News of His salvation, His great and amazing love, all that He had done for the sake of His beloved people through Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Who had cone into this world to gather all the lost sheep of His flock, and lead them to the reconciliation with God and hence, the assurance and certainty of eternal life. And the Apostles had been entrusted with the role as shepherds in the image of the one and true Good Shepherd, Christ Himself, to lead the people of God towards Him.

Despite the threats and warnings that the Sanhedrin gave to them, the Apostles were not afraid at all. They proclaimed courageously their Lord and Saviour, Whom they had witnessed and seen Risen from the dead with their own eyes, witnessed Him performing His miracles even before He had gone through His Passion, suffering, death and resurrection, and as we also heard from our Gospel passage today, they had also seen and witnessed the miracles that God continued to perform after He had risen from the dead. They had been called and sent forth by the Lord, and they would not betray or abandon their Lord and Master.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard from the Gospel of St. John detailing to us what happened that day when the Lord appeared to His disciples in Galilee just not long after He had risen from the dead. He has told the women who witnessed His resurrection that He would go before His disciples to Galilee, and He would see them there later on. Before this, He Himself had also appeared to His disciples in two occasions just as we heard it in our last Sunday’s Gospel, where St. Thomas who earlier on doubted the Lord’s resurrection was dumbstruck in awe and finally believed when the Lord appeared before him and the other disciples in the flesh. He showed them that He had truly risen from the dead.

Then, as we heard today’s Gospel passage, we heard how the disciples had been out fishing in the lake for the entire night without success, before that morning when the Lord appeared to them on the shore, but without them recognising Him at first. The Lord told them to follow His instructions, and they immediately captured a large number of fishes, more than what they could manage. It was there and then that St. Peter recognised the Lord and immediately, he jumped into the water to come to the Lord. It was there and then that the disciples yet again saw the Risen Lord, His love for them and the mission which He had entrusted to them to do.

We also heard of the Lord’s exchanges with St. Peter after their meal, in which the Lord asked St. Peter, ‘Peter, do you love Me?’ To which St. Peter responded with, ‘Yes, Lord, You know that I love You.’ And the Lord then responded with, ‘Feed My lambs’. This was repeated three times in a very symbolic mirror and reversal of St. Peter’s own three times denial of the Lord at the time of His Passion. It shows that the Lord had forgiven St. Peter and not only that, but He was entrusting His Church and all of His flock, the lambs that He had called and gathered from among the nations, to St. Peter, just as He had earlier on established His Church on the firm foundation of this ‘Rock’ that is St. Peter and his faith.

St. Peter might have been illiterate, brash and impulsive at times, doing things like cutting the ears of the High Priest’s servant when the guards were about to arrest the Lord, and he might have also been fearful and shaken in faith, as how he denied knowing the Lord three times, but in the end, the Lord chose him to be the leader of His entire Church and to be the leader of the Apostles, because He knew what his faith and love for Him were like. The Lord saw deep in the people’s hearts and minds, and He saw in St. Peter, a true faith and commitment, and which strengthened and encouraged by all that he himself witnessed, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, hence, he courageously led the Apostles in resisting the efforts of the Sanhedrin to silence them.

In our second reading, we heard of the reading from the Book of Revelations of St. John, in which St. John the Apostle saw the great heavenly vision, of the Lamb of God, Christ Himself, and His Throne in Heaven, and how all the twenty-four elders assembled, the Angels and all the countless millions upon millions of the faithful of all the ages praised and worshipped Him, glorious, triumphant and victorious, seated on His Throne, having conquered evil, sin and death, and in that vision, St. John related to us how the same triumphant Lamb of God will come again in His Second Coming, to claim all of His beloved and faithful ones to Himself. He will gather all of His faithful ones and lead them towards His light.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, all that we have heard from the Scriptures today are what the Apostles had witnessed, experienced and received from the Lord throughout their labours and ministries among the people of God. They had seen the Risen Lord, all of His truth and wonders. The Lord was with all of them and His Church, and He would lead them to the ultimate victory, that despite all the challenges and trials that they would face, but He is with them, and He will never abandon them, and He entrusted to them the great mission to spread His love and truth to all the peoples of all the nations. Just as we heard in our Gospel today, the disciples managed to gather so many fishes upon the Lord’s arrival and them following His instructions.

All of these remind us that each and every one of us as members of the Church of God are part of the same mission which He has entrusted to His Apostles and disciples all those years ago. What is this mission, brothers and sisters in Christ? The Lord called His disciples to be the fishers of men, to gather all the people to Himself, all the lost sheep to be gathered once again. St. Peter was entrusted with the leadership of the Church, in ‘feeding’ the lambs of the Lord, in caring for all of them as the members of the Church, called and chosen from the world. His works and that of the other Apostles had been passed down to their successors, right to this very present day, in the bishops and priests.

But these works and ministries are not their responsibilities alone, brethren. As members of God’s Church, we also share part of the responsibility to be the witnesses and bearers of God’s truth. The Apostles and many others had witnessed this truth, and they suffered great persecutions for their faith, and yet they endured because they trusted in the Lord and they wanted all their fellow brothers and sisters to be saved in Jesus Christ, their Lord and Saviour. They passed this faith and truth to us so that we too may be moved and inspired to follow in their footsteps and do our part as Christians to be the Lord’s faithful disciples in our respective communities today.

This means that we are all sharers in the mission of the Church to reach out to those who have not yet known the Lord or are still living in darkness of sin, in denial of the Lord’s truth and love, and in rebellion against Him. We are all called to be courageous like the Apostles in proclaiming the truth about the Lord, His love and compassion for us, His resurrection and all that He had done for our sake as Our Lord and Saviour. We are all called to be exemplary in our actions and way of life so that by our works and deeds, our contributions and even in the smallest and simplest things we do, we may inspire others to believe in God as well.

We do not have to do great and wonderful things, brothers and sisters. As I said, even in the smallest and simplest things we do in life, we can touch the lives of others, inspire others to come to believe in God as well. It is in the ordinary things we do that God is glorified, and we must not forget that we cannot be idle and ignorant of our calling and obligations in life as part of the same Church of God. Remember brothers and sisters, that Our Lord Himself said that, unless we carry our crosses and follow Him, we cannot be His true disciples and followers. If we want to be truly Christians, then we have to commit ourselves to the Lord wholeheartedly.

Are we then willing and able to commit ourselves to God in the same way the Apostles and disciples of the Lord had done? Are we willing to spend the time and effort to follow the Lord and to do His will, in all the things we say and do? Let us do whatever we can as Christians, as Our Lord’s disciples, to proclaim Him in our communities and in whatever opportunities we have, that we may indeed be good role models and inspirations for others to follow just as we ourselves look up to the Apostles for inspiration. May Our Risen Lord be with us always, bless our works and efforts, and guide us in our journey and faith. May God be with us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

Sunday, 24 April 2022 : Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday, the Second Sunday of Easter marks the Feast of the Divine Mercy, as instituted by Pope St. John Paul II in the Year of Our Lord 2000 based on the visions of the Divine Mercy by St. Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun who received mystical visions and experienced the Lord’s Divine Mercy before her, showing His wounds and hurt, all that He had done in offering Himself, Body, Soul and Divinity for the salvation of the whole entire world. We are reminded today through this important Feast and also through the Sacred Scriptures, of the reason why we celebrate so joyfully this Easter, not just for one day but for one entire season lasting fifty days until Pentecost Sunday.

In our first reading today, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, we heard of the works of the Apostles among the people of God as they had been entrusted with the mission by God to bring forth the salvation and the graces He has willingly bestowed to His beloved people. They performed many miracles and wonders among the people of God, in various places, courageously proclaiming the Risen Lord and Saviour by their words and actions. The people witnessed those miracles and believed in the Lord Jesus, Who has once also performed those same miracles, and healed the hurt of their body and soul. He has touched them, either directly or through His disciples and made them whole again.

The people were all seeking the Lord, all bringing their sick ones to Him, and they also brought the same sick ones to the disciples and the Apostles of the Lord. Through them, God continued the works of His love and mercy in our world, as He showed His generous mercy and compassion, by which He had desired to gather all the people to Himself, and to be reconciled with us. And that was why He sought even the worst of sinners, the tax collectors, prostitutes, criminals and all those who had been ostracised by the society, that He might touch their hearts and change their lives for the better. And it was proven well enough by the response that those people long considered sinners and unworthy had been giving the Lord.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard for ourselves that even among His own closest confidants, there were sinners and people who doubted Him, as I am sure we are all familiar with how St. Thomas the Apostle, one of the Twelve Apostles reacted to the news of the Lord’s resurrection from the dead. Throughout the Gospels, St. Thomas had always been a skeptic of the Lord, and he had a lot of doubts, even to the point of openly doubting the Lord and being sarcastic at Him, for example, when He was going to Judea to face His Passion and death, as St. Thomas sarcastically commented that they, the disciples, should all follow the Lord to their deaths.

We have to remember and take note how the Lord called interesting mix of people to be His followers and disciples. He had among them, a tax collector in Levi, who was later known as St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist, and then four poor and likely illiterate fishermen from the lake of Galilee, the first ones whom He had called, namely St. Peter and his brother, St. Andrew, and then the brothers, St. James and St. John, the sons of Zebedee. Then of course we have St. Thomas himself, who always ever doubted the Lord, and St. Simon, a former zealot who was probably part of the rebellion against the Romans and thus was perhaps a fugitive or criminal in the eyes of the law, and Judas Iscariot, the traitor who betrayed the Lord.

We see that the Lord chose the poor, the marginalised, the ordinary and sinners to be His disciples. There were mix of different characters and personalities among His followers, and this represents exactly what the Lord wanted to do among His people. He came to gather all the lost sheep of the Lord, those who have fallen astray and fell into the wrong paths, scattered and lost from Him, so that through Him, and through the truth, light and hope that He has brought into our midst, He may restore us all to grace, and strengthen us to be once again a people that is holy and worthy of God.

Through His appearance before all the disciples in today’s Gospel, and before St. Thomas, who had defiantly proclaimed before all the others that he would not believe in the Lord’s resurrection unless he could directly prove it by touching His wounds and putting his finger into the wound at the Lord’s side. The Lord appeared before him and all the other disciples, surely as a direct response to what St. Thomas had said earlier on regarding the resurrection. And sure enough, He asked St. Thomas directly to do what he had said that he would do in order to prove the truth about the Lord’s resurrection.

We heard how St. Thomas responded immediately with faith, most likely both awed and ashamed at his own words, actions and doubts earlier on. He said, “My Lord and my God”, the same words that we always say at every moment after the Agnus Dei, or the Lamb of God segment in the Holy Mass. St. Thomas earlier on had been inflicted with doubt, with his own pride and ego became his own undoing. Why did he refuse to believe in God earlier on? That is because he operated on his own standards, and he placed a lot of trust in himself and in his own judgment rather than believing in God and His truth. He was skeptical because in his mind and logic, it was impossible for something like that to happen.

And yet, it did happen. The Lord, Who is God Incarnate, the Son of God, had descended into our midst, to be with us, and to suffer and die for us. And not only that, He rose gloriously from the dead, and all those things are impossible for man, and yet, for God, everything is possible. He came into our midst, and through His love, His patience and mercy, His compassionate care for us, His outreach even to the worst of sinners, and to those who doubt like St. Thomas and many others who still refused to believe in Him, the Lord revealed that He came to save us, to make us all to be reconciled with Him, He, the Divine Mercy, made manifest in the flesh.

In the Holy Mass, whenever the priest or any of the celebrants raised the consecrated bread and wine, the Most Holy Eucharist, which had been transformed by the power of God through His Holy Spirit and by the power and authority entrusted by the Lord through His disciples, and when the words are said, ‘This is the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those who are called to the supper of the Lamb.’, we are presented with this seemingly impossible event, of a mere bread and mere wine, transformed completely into the reality and nature of Our Lord’s own Precious Body and Blood.

And yet, He is there, for us, on the Altar, just as at the Altar of His Cross at Calvary. The Holy Mass, as we all should know, is the same sacrifice and offering that Our Lord Himself had offered on the Cross, two millennia ago, which then, mystically and most wonderfully, is shown to us again and again, at every celebration of the Holy Mass. At the Mass, as the Lamb of God is presented to us, and we respond to the celebrant with the same words that St. Thomas had spoken, we are all reminded that by Our Lord’s most compassionate love and mercy, He, the Divine Mercy, had availed Himself to give unto us the finest path towards reconciliation to Him, through the Eucharist.

He broke His own Body and shed His own Blood at His Passion, suffering and death on the Cross, because He loved us all so dearly and tenderly. Each and every single one of us are so precious to Him, that His love for us transcends and surpasses even our sins and wickedness, which had kept us separated from God and the fullness of His grace and love. That is why this Sunday, on this Feast of the Divine Mercy, celebrated so close to the Easter Sunday, we are reminded of everything that Our Lord had done for us, all that He had done, because of the overflowing love and generous mercy which He had shown us, from the beginning right up to now.

At the same time, we have to realise that while Our Lord’s love and mercy are infinite and boundless, but our sins remain as obstacles in our path towards the full reconciliation with God. Sin is borne out of our disobedience against God and our refusal to listen to Him, and each and every single one of our sins have to be accounted for before we are to be fully reconciled with God, and enjoy the fullness of our joyful and wonderful inheritance. And God had given us plenty of means for us to find this, through His Church, in the Sacraments that He had provided for us, but which we often rejected and ignored.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us ask ourselves these important questions before we move on with our lives. As Christians, have we truly wholeheartedly believed in God, in all of His truth, in His love and His mercy? And in our actions and words, in our attitudes and dealings in life, have we truly reflect what a Christian is expected to be and what a Christian should do? Or have we instead been more like St. Thomas, doubting and refusing to believe in the Lord, full of pride and ego, to admit that we can be wrong and that we are in need of healing and forgiveness for our sins?

As Christians, all of us are called to be faithful and dedicated witnesses of Our Lord’s truth, His love and resurrection, His mercy and compassion. That is why in our daily lives, all of us must do our best to proclaim this truth, not just with mere words, but also through our actions. It is not enough for us to just believe in the Lord, but we must also be filled with the courage to reach out to our fellow brothers and sisters around us, with the love and mercy of God shown through us and our actions. It means that in all of our interactions and dealings, we must indeed be missionaries of mercy, and to remind everyone of the love that God has for each one of us.

Let us all remind one another, that as long as our sins are not forgiven, because we still stubbornly refuse the Lord and reject His generous mercy, then we will be stuck in this state, separated from God, and in real danger of falling into eternal damnation. Let us remind one another that God is ever merciful, and He has always patiently loved us, despite our many transgressions. Let us stop being stubborn, humble ourselves and open our hearts and minds to allow God and His love to enter into us and transform us from beings tainted by sin and darkness, to be true children of the Light, and to be witnesses of Our Lord’s truth and resurrection.

May the Lord, the Divine Mercy, continue to shine His loving face and show His most merciful and compassionate love towards us. And may all of us draw ever closer to His love and mercy, and do our best in each and every moments of our lives to be ever more exemplary sons and daughters of God, and as genuine and faithful Christians, beloved ones of the Lord, at all times. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world! Amen.

Saturday, 23 April 2022 : Saturday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are reminded again of our obligation as Christians, as those who believe in the Lord’s resurrection and triumphant victory over sin and death, to be His witnesses and missionaries in our world today, in proclaiming His truth and love among all the people, continuing the many good works that His Apostles and disciples had begun, in all that we have heard in the past one week of this holy Easter Octave, the works of the Apostles in the Acts of the Apostles.

In our first reading today, at the conclusion of the narrative of the events that happened due to the miraculous healing of a crippled beggar at the gate of the Temple of Jerusalem by St. Peter and St. John, in the past few readings we heard how the Apostles had courageously spoken up and preached about the Risen Lord to all the people who witnessed the miracle and then later on to all the members of the Sanhedrin who opposed the Lord and His Apostles. We heard today in our first reading of the reaction of the Sanhedrin upon listening to the words that St. Peter had spoken courageously before them, revealing the folly and error of their actions in having persecuted the Lord and His disciples.

In their discussion and debate with each other, the members of the Sanhedrin could not agree on how to deal with the Apostles and their actions in preaching about the Resurrected Christ and the miracles that they had performed in His Name. They wanted to stop them and to order them not to do it again, but at the same time, they knew that what the Apostles had performed, all the miraculous occasions and healings performed had been witnessed by so many people that it would have been impossible for the Sanhedrin to refute and deny that the miracles had occurred.

We see here the bitter stubbornness of many of the members of the Sanhedrin who were still adamant in their refusal to listen to the Lord and believe in His truth. Many of them, members of the Pharisees and the Sadducees, the teachers of the Law and elders had witnessed the miracles of the Lord themselves, heard Him and His wisdom, and yet, they still refused to believe in Him. All these despite them being supposedly the most educated and best people among the community of the people of God, many of whom were knowledgeable of the Scriptures and the teachings of the prophets.

They should have been the first ones to believe in the Lord and to welcome Him and His disciples. Yet, most of them except some like Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea chose to ignore the truth, hardened their hearts and minds, preferring to continue in their prejudices and in their judgmental attitudes towards the Lord. They saw the Lord as a great rival and threat to their power, influence and privileges in the community, and hence, they tried their best to curb the spread of the news and the truth behind the Resurrection, but they could not stop the Apostles and the other disciples from speaking up despite the threats and other efforts they made. And that was because the Lord was with His servants, and His Spirit strengthened them, giving them the courage to go up against even the opposition from the powerful Sanhedrin and others.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard the Lord appearing to His disciples after He had risen to the dead, revealing that He had indeed risen and triumphed over sin and death just as He had predicted to His disciples and followers. The Lord had appeared in the flesh and communicated with His disciples, which became truly tangible evidence of His truth, and those same disciples had seen themselves the undeniable truth of the Lord’s risen glory. And they therefore proclaimed courageously this same truth, and would not be silenced by those who opposed the truth of God. Many of them were willing to endure sufferings and persecution in the midst of their works of evangelisation.

Brothers and sisters, now that we have heard these readings from the Scriptures, and if we have been following the readings in the past few days during the Easter Octave, we are all reminded that we have also been part of this same Church, the Church that the Lord had established and built on the foundation of His Apostles, especially that of St. Peter. All the saints, the holy men and women of God, the many people who had dedicated themselves, their time and efforts and even their lives, for the sake of the Lord, His glory and for the salvation of His people, all of them had shown us what it means for us to be true Christians, in proclaiming the Risen Lord, Our Lord and Saviour.

There are still plenty of areas and opportunities for us to carry on the great works and deeds that the Apostles had begun, in reaching out to those who have not yet known the Lord or have not yet discovered the truth. And if we are not sure of what we can do or should do in this matter, we often do not have to worry about it. And we have to realise that God does not call the extraordinary and the powerful to do His will. In fact, it was all those qualified ones who had ironically rejected the Lord and decided to oppress His truth and persecute His faithful ones. Instead, the Lord called the ordinary ones and made them to be extraordinary in His presence.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, what matters is our faith and also the grace of humility in our lives. Let us all allow the Lord to work through us and with us, and let us walk faithfully in His path, doing our very best to be good role models for our fellow brothers and sisters, for all those who have not yet seen the Lord’s truth or known about His salvation and grace. May all of us be the beacons of the Light of our Risen Lord and Saviour, and may He strengthen us all to walk ever more dedicatedly in His presence, now and always. Amen.

Friday, 22 April 2022 : Friday 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 all reminded of the trials and challenges that we will often have to face as Christians, as those who believe in the Lord and His Resurrection. We believe in the Risen Lord and like the Apostles, we may have to endure opposition and trials for our faith in His truth. Yet, we must never waver from our faith and from the commitment that we have to show in our daily lives, as those who have been entrusted with the same mission as that of the Apostles and disciples of the Lord, in proclaiming His Good News and salvation to all the peoples.

In our first reading today, we heard of the account from the Acts of the Apostles telling us of the opposition that St. Peter and St. John, two of the Lord’s Twelve Apostles had to face due to their proclamation of the Lord Jesus and His salvation before the assembled people. At that time, based on our earlier readings from the Acts of the Apostles, the two Apostles had just miraculously healed a beggar who had been paralysed since birth, and whom everyone knew and recognised as being crippled. That this miracle had happened right by the gate of the Temple where the beggar usually lingered at, showed us how the chief priests and the members of the Sanhedrin could quickly find out about what had happened.

The Sanhedrin, or the Jewish High Council, composed of the most influential members of the Jewish community at that time, had been firm in their opposition against the Lord, as most of its members had refused to listen to the Lord and His teachings, with some of them even branding the Lord as a blasphemous and heretical Man, Who was swaying the people to His side with His teachings and popularity. And that was why they judged and condemned the Lord in the first place, arresting Him and handing Him over to the Romans, that He might be condemned to death and crucified.

That was why they were still adamant in their opposition against the Lord even when they heard that the Lord had risen from the dead just as He Himself had predicted and revealed. They spread false news that the disciples had stolen His Body and preached falsehoods in His Name, and expressly ordered that anyone who spoke in the Name of the Lord Jesus or supported His teachings would be arrested and persecuted. That was the obstacle facing the Apostles, who had to endure the opposition from the powerful members of the community, those who refused to believe in the Lord and His truth. But that did not stop the Apostles and the many other disciples from doing their best to proclaim the Good News whenever they could.

St. Peter courageously spoke before the whole assembly of the Sanhedrin just as he had done so earlier before the people in Jerusalem. He spoke fearlessly regarding the Saviour, Jesus Christ, the Son of God Who had been rejected by those to whom St. Peter was speaking to, right there and then, the same Sanhedrin and its members also condemned Christ to death and giving Him up to the Romans to be crucified. It was to these people that St. Peter testified again about the Lord, His truth and His resurrection. He proclaimed the truth courageously as he himself had seen and witnessed the Risen Lord as we heard in our Gospel passage today.

St. Peter had witnessed the Lord’s Passion, suffering and death, and how He revealed Himself after His resurrection on several occasions. As highlighted in our Gospel passage today, the Lord revealed Himself to His disciples in Galilee just as the disciples went there and were in the midst of catching fish in the lake. They had not been successful in gaining any fish when the Lord told them to do as He said, and immediately a huge number of fishes ended up in their catch, and they almost could not handle the entire catch of fishes. And St. Peter himself was the first one to recognise that it was the Lord Who was there with them.

Having witnessed the Risen Lord, the disciples, and having also been strengthened by the Holy Spirit, as shown by the examples of St. Peter, they stood up for their faith, and while many among them suffered, as the Apostles themselves had endured for a long time, and how many of their successors had also suffered, but these did not stop them from continuing to speak up and to proclaim the Good News of the Lord’s salvation. The Lord has called them all to His service and they had answered His call with great faith. They rejoice greatly in His Resurrection, and they had passed down this great joy and truth to all of us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all realise that each and every one of us are the inheritors of the Lord’s mission which He has entrusted to us, to be the ones to bear the Good News of His salvation to the whole world. There are still many people out there who have not believed in God and who have been lukewarm in their faith. We are called here to be the ones to bring forth the light of our faith and the wonders of the Lord’s saving grace to them. Like the Apostles, St. Peter and many other holy men and women of God, all of us have been entrusted with the same truth and message that the Lord wants us to proclaim in our world today much as how St. Peter had proclaimed it that day before the people and before the whole Sanhedrin.

Are we willing and able to follow in the footsteps of St. Peter and the many other holy men and women of God, many of whom had suffered trials and persecutions, opposition and oppressions for the sake of their faith in God? Are we willing to contribute our time and effort to glorify the Lord by our lives and by our actions? Each and every one of us should listen to the Lord calling on us to action, and to follow Him wholeheartedly from now on. Let us seek the Lord with a new spirit and commitment from now on. May God be with us all and may He bless us in our every actions and good works, all for the greater glory of His Name. Amen.

Thursday, 21 April 2022 : Thursday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this day as we listened to the Scriptures we have been told to remember the salvation that has come down to us through Christ, Our Lord and Saviour. The Scriptures passage today have spoken to us regarding the things that God had done for our sake, in Him sending to us His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, the Son of Man and the Son of God, to be the source of our Hope and salvation. By His Passion, His suffering, death and resurrection, He has liberated us from the bondage to sin and death, and through Him, a new hope and light had been revealed to us.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Acts of the Apostles of the courageous and fiery speech from St. Peter the Apostle, who together with St. John had healed a paralysed beggar waiting by the Beautiful Gate of the Temple of Jerusalem. The people who witnessed the miraculous healing of the paralysed beggar were all astonished, surprised and filled with joy upon seeing the healed man. They could not believe what they had seen, and yet, were filled with joy because of what they had witnessed, seeing a hopeless man filled once again with strength and hope from God.

St. Peter reminded the assembled people of everything that had just recently happened, how the Lord Jesus had come into their midst and revealed the extent of God’s most generous love for them, caring for them and providing for their needs, reaching out to those who were in need of healing and help. He empowered the people and gave them hope once again, bringing the light of God and true Hope amongst them, strengthening their resolve, healing those who were sick and were troubled, casting out demons and restoring those who were diseased back to good health once again.

Yet, despite everything that He had done for their sake, many among the people still stubbornly refused to believe in God and still rejected Him, doubting Him and His works. That was also why the people chose to condemn the Lord to death, a most humiliating and painful death on the Cross, which the Apostles then were proclaiming, as St. Peter did. St. Peter told the people how even though they had condemned the Lord to death, but it was part of God’s overarching plan to save all of mankind. Through His suffering and death, God had purchased for all of us the gift of eternal life and salvation, and by His resurrection, He has united all of us in a new life with Him.

In our Gospel passage today, the Lord Jesus appeared to His disciples right after the resurrection for the first time. The disciples then were still shaken and unsure of what had happened on the day of the Resurrection. They had heard words from the holy women in Jesus’ company and from the two disciples who had returned from Emmaus, that they had seen the Risen Lord. Yet, they still had that fear and doubt in them, and they refused to accept the full truth that the Lord had indeed risen as He had revealed and promised earlier on. It took therefore the Risen Lord Himself appearing before them, to open their eyes and to stir them into the faith.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all heed the words of these Scripture passages today, the reminder from God of all that He had done for the sake of our salvation, our liberation from the darkness and despair of evil. All of us are called to put our trust and faith in the Risen Lord, the Light and Hope of all creation. Each and every one of us as Christians have put our faith and trust in the Lord, and believed that He is indeed the One from Whom our salvation has come. Yet, do we truly believe it with all of our hearts? Or are our hearts and minds still clouded with doubt as what had happened with the Lord’s own disciples?

Each one of us are entrusted with the same mission that the Lord had entrusted to His disciples. We are entrusted with the mission to evangelise, to speak the words of the Lord, His truth and the wonders of His love among all those whom we encounter in this world. The works of the Apostles, the saints and all the efforts of the Church had not yet been completed, brothers and sisters in Christ. There remains plenty of areas and many opportunities where there are still many who are ignorant of God’s truth and love, and many others who are still rejecting God and refusing to believe in Him. And it is up to us to be the bearer of God’s light and truth to them.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all renew our faith in God and let us commit ourselves wholeheartedly to the Lord with new zeal and dedication. May the Lord continue to guide us and help to strengthen us in this journey of faith. May He empower us and strengthen us in our struggles and journey in this world, and give us the courage and power to walk ever more faithfully in God’s path, and to proclaim His truth and glory by our very own lives and actions. May God bless us in each and every one of our good deeds and works, now and always. Amen.

Wednesday, 20 April 2022 : Wednesday 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 Scripture, we are all reminded of the grace that God has given us through the suffering, death and resurrection of His only Son, Jesus Christ, Whom He had sent into this world to be our Lord and Saviour. Through Christ, all of us have received a new hope and seen the Light of God’s salvation, revealing fully the great and enduring love which God has for each and every one of us, each one without exception. We are all reminded that through His suffering, death and resurrection, Christ has gathered and called us all, the lost sheep of His flock, to find our way towards Him and the eternal life that He has promised and purchased by His death, for all the faithful ones.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Acts of the Apostles the account of the healing of the beggar who sat by the Beautiful Gate of the Temple of Jerusalem, by St. Peter and St. John who happened to be passing by. The beggar was healed by the Apostles who healed him in the Name of the Lord, and the crippled beggar was made whole again. That miraculous healing made not only the beggar to rejoice, leaping with joy, but also everyone else who have witnessed the miraculous healing, as everyone knew how long that man had been sitting and was crippled since birth, and God had made him whole and fine again.

Then in our Gospel passage today, we heard of the two disciples of the Lord who were on their way to the village of Emmaus from Jerusalem. This happened just right after the Lord had died on the Cross and risen from the dead. This likely happened on the later time of the Sunday of the Resurrection, in the late afternoon and early evening. They had been debating and discussing among themselves about what they had heard and experienced, most perplexing of which was the words spreading amongst the disciples that the Lord Jesus had risen from the dead and had appeared to some among them.

Those disciples apparently did not yet believe in this truth, and they were still doubtful and shaken in their faith, as they thought that the Lord would have led them all in a great revolution against the Romans and the other oppressors of the people and reestablished the kingdom of Israel. But the Lord instead died and went through the worst of humiliations in His sufferings and then crucifixion and death. They could not reconcile their expectations of what their Messiah or Saviour would do with the reality of what the Lord Jesus had done, in suffering the worst of humiliation and dying for the sake of all the people of God. And that was why, they could not recognise God at first, and failed to realise that He had been with them all along, journeying with them to Emmaus.

The Lord journeyed with the two disciples, speaking to them and encouraging them, explaining the words of the Scriptures to them, revealing why the Messiah had to suffer to fulfil what had been prophesied and spoken about Him. The Lord encouraged and strengthened them, giving them the power and the courage once again, and then, He revealed Himself before them, as He broke the bread with them. Those same two disciples had been journeying quite a distance from Jerusalem by the time that happened, but that did not stop them from rushing back to Jerusalem that very instant to proclaim the Risen Lord to the other disciples. Such was indeed the power of God’s strength and courage.

Those two disciples had been healed from their spiritual hurt and lack of faith, just as how the crippled beggar had been healed from his disability by the Apostles. Through what we had heard in those two examples, we can clearly see how God restored us all into a graceful condition, lifting us up from the depth of our misery, despair and the darkness surrounding us. He would not allow us to perish in the darkness by ourselves, and called us, rescuing us back into the light of His truth and love. Through Him, God has touched each and every one of us, releasing us from our attachments to sin, the disease that corrupts every single one of us, crippling us and making us to fall into this terrible state of existence, from which God alone can rescue us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we recall the love that God has shown us, in His great love, mercy and compassion, we are all reminded of the wonderful grace we have received through His Son, Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, from Whom we have received the assurance for eternal life, the light of His truth and love, the healing for all of our mistakes, faults, shortcomings and all of our imperfections that had kept us in the darkness all these while. Through Christ, we have been made whole once again, and rightfully therefore, we ought to follow Him and commit ourselves anew to the path that He has shown us. We have to be His dedicated and faithful, courageous witnesses in our respective communities and among all those whom we have encountered in life.


Let us all therefore renew our commitment to the Lord, brothers and sisters in Christ, renewing the commitment to love Him and to serve Him wholeheartedly much as how the Apostles and the innumerable saints and martyrs had done in the past. As we are the modern day successors of these wonderful holy men and women, and we have been entrusted with the great works of the Lord in His Church, we cannot stand idle anymore or ignore our obligations as Christians in proclaiming the Good News, the truth and the salvation of God. We have to make good use of the opportunities provided to us and dedicate ourselves in each and every moments of our lives, to glorify the Lord by our lives and to be great inspiration to one another in faith.

May the Lord be with us all, and may our Risen Lord continue to strengthen us and give us the courage and the power to be great missionaries of His love and truth in our present day world. May we help one another to be closer to God, and bring many others to the healing and happiness that can be found in God alone, our Hope and our Light, our Saviour and our God. Amen.

Tuesday, 19 April 2022 : Tuesday 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 all called to reflect again on this Easter Octave, the true meaning of what it means to be Christians. As Christians, each and every one of us are called to serve the Lord with faith and commitment. All of us are called to be missionaries of our Christian faith in our world today, to proclaim the Risen Lord in our respective communities and among all those whom we encounter each day and at each moments of our lives.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Acts of the Apostles of the testimony of faith which was delivered by St. Peter the Apostle to the people assembled in Jerusalem for the festival of the Pentecost. St. Peter told the people to be faithful in the Lord and to believe in Him, for everything that He had done for the sake of His beloved people. God has given us such a great and unsurpassed gift in His Son, Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour, that He has done everything, even to the point of enduring the worst of sufferings, punishments, humiliation and pain for our sake. He did not hold Himself back from doing all these because He truly loved us.

And through His death and resurrection, Christ has broken the doors of death, and the chains of sin that had long kept the people of God enslaved and suffering under their dominion and power. St. Peter called all those people to turn towards the Lord and to discover the love by which God has rescued them from the darkness of sin and evil in this world. He courageously proclaimed the truth despite having no proper education, and despite having hidden himself with the other disciples earlier on due to the opposition and oppression by the Jewish authorities.

That is because as the power of the Holy Spirit was working through him, St. Peter allowed himself to be the witness of the Lord’s Resurrection, and to be filled with the courage and strength from the Spirit of God, in bringing the Good News and the truth to the people despite the risks that he had to face in doing so. He spoke with the wisdom and the eloquence that God granted him through the Holy Spirit. And in doing so, he turned the hearts of many towards God, and revealed the great love that God had for all of them, such as shown by Christ’s death on the Cross.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard again the account of the Lord’s resurrection and His appearance to Mary Magdalene. Mary Magdalene witnessed the Lord’s suffering and death on the cross, and she was distraught when she found out that the Lord’s Body had disappeared from His tomb due to His Resurrection. That was when the Lord showed Himself to her in all of His risen glory, although she did not initially recognise Him likely because she was still distraught, until the Lord called her and revealed Himself to her.

Mary believed in the Lord and she proclaimed the news of the Lord’s resurrection to the other disciples, the Apostles. In this way is why she is also known as the Apostle to the Apostles. She told them all of what she had seen and experienced, revealing the Risen Lord to the disciples, with great joy and courage. Mary Magdalene did exactly the same as what Peter had done, in proclaiming the truth of the Lord and turning people on the their ways towards the Lord and His salvation. This is exactly what each one of us are called to do as well.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us have been called to follow the Lord faithfully and to embrace His path with sincerity and love, genuine love for Him as well as for His people, our fellow brothers and sisters. Are we willing and able to follow the Lord in this manner, brethren? In the way that St. Peter and St. Mary Magdalene had done, and in the way that many other saints and martyrs had done in the past, in proclaiming the Risen Lord courageously and truthfully among the many people and in the various communities that they encountered and lived in? We too should do the same in our own communities and be the living witnesses of the Lord in every moments we have.

May God, our Risen Lord and Saviour, bless us all and be with us always, and may He strengthen each and every one of us that we may always be strong and be able to persevere despite the trials, challenges and difficulties that we may encounter in our path towards Him. May God bless all of our actions and works, that in all things we will always glorify Him and bring His truth to ever more and more people, throughout the world, and bring the salvation He has promised us to those who have not yet known Him. Amen.