Saturday, 7 May 2022 : 3rd Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are reminded to remain true and faithful to the Lord, no matter what happens. We are reminded to stay committed to His truth even amidst the many challenges and trials that we may have to endure in order to live our lives in the way that the Lord has presented to us. The Lord revealed to us that becoming His disciples would not be an easy matter, and there would be hard truths that we have to accept and not only that, but to proclaim in our own communities.

In our Gospel reading today, taken from the Gospel of St. John, we heard the conclusion of the account of the Bread of Life discourse by the Lord Jesus to the people who were gathered to listen to Him, as He revealed to them the truth about Himself, as the One Who would give Himself for the salvation of the world, the Paschal Lamb, by Whose sacrifice all of mankind would be given the path out of the darkness of the world, and through Him all will once again be reconciled and reunited with God. He would offer Himself as the worthy sacrifice to the Father on our behalf, as the atonement for our sins, with His Body broken for us, and His Blood shed for our salvation.

Much like in the time of the original Passover during the Exodus of the Israelites who were enslaved under the tyranny of the Egyptians, the Passover lamb was slaughtered and its body broken and shared to be eaten by the members of all the people of Israel, while the blood marks the doorposts of the houses of the faithful, by which they were spared from the terrible punishment that God sent upon the land of Egypt, the Angels that brought God’s retribution and judgment upon all the firstborn children of Egypt. The Lord saved His people from destruction, and not only that, but made a Covenant with them, sealing them with the blood of a lamb.

Then, when the Lord Himself came into this world to save His people from the tyranny of sin and evil, He gave Himself as the Paschal Lamb, the Lamb of God, to be sacrificed and crushed for our sake. His own Precious Body and Blood given to us through the Holy Eucharist that He has instituted and given to His Church, to all of us, at the Last Supper and which was perfectly fulfilled through His Passion and death, His crucifixion on which He was laid as the sacrificial victim on the Altar of the Cross. His Blood flowed down from the Cross to the earth, marking each and every one of us who believe in Him, and who share in His Body and Blood, with faith, as His own beloved children and beloved people.

And having received and witnessed this truth, the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord went forth to proclaim the Lord to all the people, calling on them to believe in Him and to put their trust in Him, and no longer doubt in Him anymore but believe. The Lord entrusted to His Church and His disciples the very important mission of the conversion of the whole world, that all the children of man may come to be reconciled with God through Him. By His grace we have been offered this path out of the darkness and despair surrounding us, and He sent His disciples to come to us and to reach out to us, that now each one of us have become those who believe in Christ and share the gift of our baptism.

As we heard in our first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, detailing to us the works of the Apostles who ministered to the faithful and tirelessly travelling all over the region to proclaim the Lord to more people, we heard how St. Peter the Apostle performed a great miracle in raising up Tabitha, a faithful disciple and follower of the Lord who had fallen sick and died. St. Peter prayed over her and by the power of God raised her from the dead, much as how the Lord Jesus had once raised the daughter of the synagogue official, the son of the widow of Nain and also Lazarus, one of His own friends. By this act, we can see how the Lord’s truth was shown to all, that despite His passing from this world, His works remain through His Church and those to whom He has entrusted power and authority.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all hence reflect on the meaning and significance of what we had heard in our Scripture readings today, and see in what way we can answer God’s call better, just as He has called us all to follow Him and to become His faithful disciples. We have to be active members of the Church and be courageous and proactive in living our lives in the most worthy way possible, by obeying God’s Law and commandments, and in leading a way of life that is truly in harmony with God and His truth. We are all the ones who have received the Lord Himself, His own Precious Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist, a people He had set aside to be His own, blessed and called to be holy.

May all of us continue to strive to live in holiness and do our very best so that in our every words, actions and deeds, we may indeed be the source of inspiration and hope for many others, and that we may help more and more people to find their way to God and His salvation. Let us be strengthened by the Holy Eucharist that we have partaken, and remind ourselves to put our complete faith and trust in Him, Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life and Lamb of God, our Lord and Saviour, now and always. Amen.

Saturday, 7 May 2022 : 3rd Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 6 : 60-69

At that time, after the Jews heard Jesus, many of His followers said, “This language is very hard! Who can accept it?”

Jesus was aware that His disciples were murmuring about this, and so He said to them, “Does this offend you? Then how will you react when you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before? It is the Spirit that gives life, not the flesh. The words that I have spoken to you are Spirit and they are life. But among you there are some who do not believe.”

From the beginning, Jesus knew who would betray Him. So He added, “As I have told you, no one can come to Me unless it is granted by the Father.” After this many disciples withdrew and no longer followed Him. Jesus asked the Twelve, “Will you also go away?

Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We now believe and know that You are the Holy One of God.”

Saturday, 7 May 2022 : 3rd Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 115 : 12-13, 14-15, 16-17

How can I repay the Lord for all His goodness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the Name of the Lord.

I will fulfil my vows to the Lord in the presence of all His people. It is painful to the Lord to see the death of His faithful.

O Lord, I am Your servant, truly Your servant, Your handmaid’s son. You have freed me from my bonds. I will offer You a thanksgiving sacrifice; I will call on the Name of the Lord.

Saturday, 7 May 2022 : 3rd Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 9 : 31-42

Meanwhile, the Church had peace. It was building up throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria with eyes turned to the Lord and filled with comfort from the Holy Spirit.

As Peter travelled around, he went to visit the saints who lived in Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas who was paralysed, and had been bedridden for eight years. Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; get up and make your bed!”

And the man got up at once. All the people living in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord. There was a disciple in Joppa named Tabitha, which means Dorcas or Gazelle. She was always doing good works and helping the poor. At that time she fell sick and died. After having washed her body, they laid her in the upstairs room.

As Lydda is near Joppa, the disciples, on hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request, “Please come to us without delay.” So Peter went with them. On his arrival they took him upstairs to the room. All the widows crowded around him in tears, showing him the clothes that Dorcas had made while she was with them.

Peter made them them all leave the room and then he knelt down and prayed. Turning to the dead body he said, “Tabitha, stand up.” She opened her eyes, looked at Peter and sat up. Peter gave her his hand and helped her up. Then he called in the saints and widows and presented her to them alive.

This became known throughout all of Joppa and many people believed in the Lord because of it.

Friday, 6 May 2022 : 3rd Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are all presented today with the story of the conversion of St. Paul the Apostle, on how Saul the fanatical young Pharisee and persecutor of the early Church turned over a new leaf and became one of the most ardent defenders of the Christian faith. Then we also heard the account from the Gospels regarding the Lord speaking about Himself as the Bread of Life, in continuation from the readings of the past few days.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Acts of the Apostles, the account of the conversion of Saul the Pharisee as mentioned earlier. Saul was a young Pharisee who was very headstrong and fanatical in his beliefs, as he embarked on a campaign of extermination against the early Christians, whom he saw as the heretical followers of Jesus, Whom the Pharisees as part of the Sanhedrin had condemned to death and then crucified through the Romans as a false Messiah. Saul was convinced that what he was doing was the will of God.

But Saul was mistaken, and amidst his efforts to eradicate the Christians in Damascus, he encountered the Lord Who called him to repent and turn away from his wrong path. The Lord convinced Saul that in truth he had been pursuing the wrong actions and by his attitude and works, he had in fact persecuted the Lord Himself. Through His signs and works, He would convince Saul of the truth. And as Saul ended up being blinded and then later healed by the grace of God, he experienced a great change in heart and turned towards the Lord henceforth.

He turned towards the Lord, Who in our Gospel today preached to the people about Himself as the Bread of Life and how He would give them all His own Body and Blood to all of His beloved people to partake, to eat and drink of His Precious Body and Blood that in doing so, they may gain the assurance to eternal life and glory. They shall find the salvation that God has promised to them through His Son, the same Jesus Christ. Back then, they could not have understood yet what the Lord meant, and quite a few of His followers and disciples actually even left and abandoned Him after this Bread of Life discourse, as stated by the Gospel itself.

That moment was when the Lord revealed to the people of what He would do for the sake of their salvation. Later on, as shown at the Last Supper, when the Lord offered His Body and Blood to His disciples, in the form of bread and wine that they broke together and shared, those having been transformed by the power of God to the matter and reality of His own Body and Blood, through that act, linked to His Passion, sacrifice and death on the Cross, His act of supreme sacrifice and love just the day after on Good Friday, all of us have seen the Lord in His Body and Blood, in the Holy Eucharist He Himself has instituted and given to us through His Church.

And it was this same truth and revelation which Saul has turned towards, as he received the truth from God and His Holy Spirit, by the grace of baptism. He was awakened to the truth that he did not know earlier on, and hence it was why this most fanatical and fervent persecutor of early Christians turned towards the Lord with his newfound faith, having seen and witnessed the Lord and received His wisdom and truth. From then on, Saul, having changed his name to Paul would become an ever more courageous and fervent defender of the Christian faith and truth, and he would do a lot of works and efforts in ministering to the faithful people of God all throughout the Mediterranean and beyond, through his many Epistles and journeys.

Now, all of us as Christians have also been called by God to be His disciples, witnesses and missionaries, to be like St. Paul and the many other Apostles, disciples and the innumerable saints who had dedicated their lives and lived them worthily for the Lord, being great role models, examples and inspirations to help more and more people to come to the Lord and to know Him more. They proclaimed the Lord not just with mere words alone but also through actions, in their building of a vibrant Christian community founded upon God’s truth and love, and even more importantly, in how they loved each other and cared for the needs of those who are lacking and who are suffering.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we are all therefore also called to do the same in our lives, to be exemplary and in following the laws and commandments of the Lord faithfully. And if God could call a great sinner like St. Paul, then why can’t we do the same like what he had done and answer God’s call with a firm conviction? Let us all do our best to proclaim the Lord and His truth, His love and salvation to all the nations, in every single things we say and do in life. Let us live our lives wholeheartedly and commit ourselves to the Lord, so that we may be ever courageous and true beacons of His light in our darkened world and times. May God bless us and all of our efforts and actions, now and always. Amen.

Friday, 6 May 2022 : 3rd Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 6 : 52-59

At that time, the Jews were arguing among themselves, “How can this Man give us flesh to eat?” So Jesus replied, “Truly, I say to you, if you do not eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood, you have no life in you. The one who eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood lives eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

“My Flesh is really food, and My Blood is truly drink. Those who eat My Flesh and drink My Blood, lives in Me, and I in them. Just as the Father, Who is life, sent Me, and I have life from the Father, so whoever eats Me will have life from Me. This is the Bread which came from heaven; not like that of your ancestors, who ate and later died. Those who eat this Bread will live forever.”

Jesus spoke in this way in Capernaum when He taught them in the synagogue.

Friday, 6 May 2022 : 3rd Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 116 : 1, 2

Alleluia! Praise the Lord, all you nations; all you peoples, praise Him.

How great is His love for us! His faithfulness lasts forever.

Friday, 6 May 2022 : 3rd Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 9 : 1-20

Meanwhile Saul considered nothing but violence and death for the disciples of the Lord. He went to the High Priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues of Damascus that would authorise him to arrest and bring to Jerusalem anyone he might find, man or woman, belonging to the Way.

As he travelled along and was approaching Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul! Why do you persecute me?” And he asked, “Who are You, Lord?” The voice replied, “I am Jesus Whom you persecute. Now get up and go into the city; there you will be told what you are to do.”

The men who were travelling with him stood there speechless : they had heard the sound, but could see no one. Saul got up from the ground and, opening his eyes, he could not see. They took him by the hand and brought him to Damascus. He was blind and he did not eat or drink for three days.

There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias, to whom the Lord called in a vision, “Ananias!” He answered, “Here I am, Lord!” Then the Lord said to him, “Go at once to Straight Street and ask, at the house of Judas, for a man of Tarsus named Saul. You will find him praying, for he has just seen in a vision that a man named Ananias has come in and placed his hands upon him, to restore his sight.”

Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man and all the harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem, and now he is here with authority from the High Priest to arrest all who call upon Your Name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go! This man is My chosen instrument to bring My Name to the pagan nations and their kings, and the people of Israel as well. I Myself will show him how much he will have to suffer for My Name.”

So Ananias left and went to the house. He laid his hands upon Saul and said, “Saul, my brother, the Lord Jesus, Who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me to you so that you may receive your sight and be filled with Holy Spirit.” Immediately something like scales fell from his eyes and he could see; he got up and was baptised. Then he took food and was strengthened.

For several days Saul stayed with the disciples at Damascus, and he soon began to proclaim in the synagogues that Jesus was the Son of God.

Thursday, 5 May 2022 : 3rd Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, what we heard in our Scripture passages today are again reminders for us as Christians to be the active partakers of the mission of the Church in the mission to evangelise and reveal the truth of God to more people of all the nations. We are all members of God’s Church and we are all expected to bear His truth and light to more people throughout the world, following in the examples of the Apostles and the other holy saints, holy men and women of God. We have to proclaim the Lord in all of our words, actions and deeds throughout life.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Acts of the Apostles the moment when St. Philip the Apostle encountered an Ethiopian official who was on his way home from Jerusalem. The official was reading the passage of the Scripture from the prophet Isaiah speaking about the Messiah, when St. Philip accompanied the official and explained the meaning of the Scriptures to him, and revealing that everything that he read in the Scriptures had been fulfilled in Christ, the One Whom God had sent into the world to save all mankind.

The Apostles had witnessed the Lord and His works, His many miracles and wonders, listened to His words and teachings, and they had also witnessed His suffering, death and resurrection from the dead. They had also received the gift of the Holy Spirit which strengthened them and gave them the courage to proclaim their faith in the Lord to all the people that they went to, and in the case of St. Philip, he proclaimed the Lord and all of His truth and works truthfully before the Ethiopian official, who therefore became convinced of everything he had heard, and that led him to desire to be baptised.

That was how the Apostles continued to reach out and touched the lives and hearts of those who came even from the distant, foreign lands, and from there, brought forth the truth of the Lord to more and more people. They revealed the truth about Christ, the Bread of Life, Who has delivered His truth into the world, just as we heard it and are reminded of by our Gospel passage today. Christ is the Bread of Life, the Son of God Who has laid down His life for us, obeying the will of His heavenly Father for our sake, so that by His suffering, death and resurrection, we may have new life and be reconciled with God.

In that Gospel passage, we heard the continuation of the account of the Lord speaking to the disciples and the other people on Him being the Bread of Life. The Lord Jesus referred to Himself as the Bread of Life to the consternation of the people listening to Him, as they must have been astounded hearing that He would give them all His own Body and Blood to eat and drink, and comparing what they would have against the bread of heaven that their ancestors once had, the manna, during the time of their Exodus out of Egypt and journey in the desert towards the Promised Land. He said clearly that those who partake of His Body and Blood will have eternal life.

And that was exactly what He would do later on, although the people who were listening to Him could not have realised or understood what He was going to do. The Lord gave to us all His Precious Body and Blood through the Eucharist, which He gave to us all through His Church and His Apostles. He completed His offering and sacrifice through His Passion, suffering and death on the Cross, and by His wounds and by His Body and Blood shared with us, we have been made partakers of His New and Eternal Covenant, sealed by His own Blood, and which He Himself offered as our Eternal High Priest.

Having seen and witnessed all these themselves, and having been empowered by the Holy Spirit, the Lord’s disciples hence gave their all to proclaim the salvation of God and His truth to more and more people they encountered, much as how St. Philip spoke the truth to the Ethiopian official, gaining yet another person to the Lord’s cause. It is then also our own duty and mission as Christians to be the propagator and missionaries of Christ’s truth and the love of God, all that He had done for our salvation in each and every opportunities that we have been given. Each and every one of us have this important mission to be disciples of Our Lord and His witnesses in our respective communities today.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all follow the examples of the Apostles and the many other disciples of the Lord, the many holy men and women, the various saints and martyrs who had gone before us, and whose lives are truly inspiration for us to follow in how we ought to live our lives with faith and dedication to God. We are all called to serve the Lord and do our best to bring His truth upon this world today. We do not have to do great and amazing things, as even the smallest and simplest things we do will matter a lot in leading more and more souls towards the salvation in God. May God be with us and may He continue to help us living our lives with faith and as Christ-like as possible. Amen.

Thursday, 5 May 2022 : 3rd Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 6 : 44-51

At that time, Jesus said to the Jews, “No one can come to Me unless he is drawn by the Father Who sent Me; and I will raise Him up on the last day. It has been written in the Prophets : They shall all be taught by God. So whoever listens and learns from the Father comes to Me.”

“For no one has seen the Father except the One Who comes from God; He has seen the Father. Truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the Bread of Life. Though your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, they died. But here you have the Bread which comes from heaven, so that you may eat of it, and not die.”

“I am the Living Bread which as come from heaven; whoever eats of this Bread will live forever. The Bread I shall give is My flesh, and I will give it for the life of the world.”