Thursday, 8 April 2021 : Thursday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we listened to the words of the Scripture telling us about the fulfilment of God’s promises through Christ, His Son, Our Lord and Saviour, through Whom God willed to reconcile us all to Himself, by Christ’s most selfless and loving sacrifice on the Cross, and by His Resurrection. All the prophets and the promises that God had made, pointed at Christ and what He would do for the salvation of all mankind.

In our first reading today, we heard of the continuation of the testimony of faith made by St. Peter and St. John before the people who were assembled seeing the great miracle that happened to a paralytic man healed from his condition after being sick for so many years. And St. Peter spoke of how it was through Christ, the Saviour Who had then just been recently crucified, that the Apostles had healed the paralysed man, and made him whole again.

St. Peter reminded the people that the Lord had promised all that had happened, through His prophets and messengers, from the days of Moses and even earlier, as God promised Abraham, their forefather. All that God had promised would come true in Jesus Christ, Who had brought the truth about the salvation of God to the midst of His people, and Whom, through His crucifixion, His suffering and death on the Cross, and finally the Resurrection, brought all mankind to the promise of eternal life.

We need to understand that it was this same people who had been in Jerusalem and witnessed everything that happened during the Lord’s Passion, His crucifixion and death. And while the Apostles and many of the disciples themselves had seen the Risen Lord, and many others had witnessed the occurrences on the Sunday of the Resurrection, when tombs were opened and many souls of the faithful came forth, risen with the Lord, but many among them did not yet know what had truly happened.

Therefore, St. Peter and the other Apostles, with the early Christian communities proclaimed the truth of what they had witnessed and known before all the people, to reveal to them the truth of God and His salvation. They did not have it easy as they often encountered a lot of opposition and challenges, and yet, they continued to persevere and reached out to others with the same truth because they themselves had seen the Lord as we heard in our Gospel today, of the moment when the Risen Lord Himself appeared in the flesh before them.

Had the Resurrection been false, those Apostles and disciples of the Lord would not have wanted to do so much for a lost cause, and they would have been disbanded and scattered, just as what happened to the other false Messiahs that had come up at that time. Instead, the early Christian Church grew and grew even stronger despite the challenges and persecutions it received. And with the many martyrs, more and more became inspired to follow the Lord rather than to abandon Him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as the Lord Himself said in today’s Gospel passage that the disciples were witnesses to everything that had happened, we too have a share of this truth by what we have received from the Church, the sacred tradition and faith that came to us from the Apostles themselves, preserved unchanged for the past two millennia. The Lord had entrusted to us, His Church to be His witnesses in the world today, to proclaim His truth among the nations, to reach out to those who have not yet known the truth.

Are we willing and able to commit ourselves to this cause, brothers and sisters in Christ? This is our calling, as Christians, to each and every one of us. We are all called to be good witnesses of our Lord’s truth and Resurrection in our respective communities, and as such, we should be good role models and examples for our fellow men and women, and through our actions, words and deeds grounded in our Christian faith, we should be the shining beacons of truth to all others.

Let us all as we journey through this season of Easter be renewed in our commitment to the Lord and be more willing to do our best to serve the Lord for His greater glory. Let us all be true to our calling as Christians and dedicate ourselves ever more to God, from now on. May God bless us all and our every endeavours, now and always. Amen.

Thursday, 8 April 2021 : Thursday within Easter Octave (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 24 : 35-48

Then the two disciples told what had happened on the road to Emmaus, and how Jesus had made Himself known, when He broke bread with them. While they were still talking about this, Jesus Himself stood in their midst. (He said to them, “Peace to you.”)

In their panic and fright they thought they were seeing a ghost, but He said to them, “Why are you upset, and how does such an idea cross your minds? Look at My hands and feet, and see that it is I Myself! Touch Me, and see for yourselves, for a ghost has no flesh and bones as I have!” (As He said this, He showed His hands and feet.)

In their joy they did not dare believe, and were still astonished; so He said to them, “Have you anything to eat?” And they gave Him a piece of broiled fish. He took it, and ate it before them. Then Jesus said to them, “Remember the words I spoke to you when I was still with you : Everything written about Me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.

And He said, “So it was written : the Messiah had to suffer, and on the third day rise from the dead. Then repentance and forgiveness in His Name would be proclaimed to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things.”

Thursday, 8 April 2021 : Thursday within Easter Octave (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 8 : 2a and 5, 6-7, 8-9

O Lord, our Lord, how great is Your Name throughout the earth! What is man that You be mindful of him, the Son of Man, that You should care for Him?

Yet You made Him a little lower than the Angels; You crowned Him with glory and honour and gave Him the works of Your hands; You have put all things under His feet.

Sheep and oxen without number and even the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, the fish of the sea, and all that swim the paths of the ocean.

Thursday, 8 April 2021 : Thursday within Easter Octave (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 3 : 11-26

While the once crippled man clung to Peter and John, all the people, struck with astonishment, came running to them in Solomon’s Porch, as it was called. When Peter saw the people, he said to them, “Fellow Israelites, why are you amazed at this? Why do you stare at us as if it was by some power or holiness of our own that we made this man walk?”

“The God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob, the God of our ancestors has glorified His servant Jesus Whom you handed over to death and denied before Pilate, when even Pilate had decided to release Him. You rejected the Holy and Just One, and you insisted that a murderer be released to you. You killed the Master of life, but God raised Him from the dead and we are witnesses to this.”

“It is His Name and faith in His Name, that has healed this man whom you see and recognise. The faith that comes through Jesus has given him wholeness in the presence of all of you. Yet I know that you acted out of ignorance, as did your leaders. God has fulfilled in this way what He had foretold through all the prophets, that His Messiah would suffer.”

“Repent, then, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out and the time of refreshment may come by the mercy of God, when He sends the Messiah appointed for you, Jesus. For He must remain in heaven until the time of the universal restoration which God spoke of long ago through His holy prophets.”

“Moses foretold this when he said : The Lord God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among your own people; you shall listen to Him in all that He says to you. Whoever does not listen to that Prophet is to be cut off from among his people.”

“In fact, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel onward, have announced the events of these days. You are the children of the prophets and heirs of the covenant that God gave to your ancestors when He said to Abraham : All the families of the earth will be blessed through your descendant. It is to you first that God sends His Servant; He raised Him to life to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.”

Thursday, 24 April 2014 : Thursday within Easter Octave (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the resurrection of Jesus is a fact of our faith, and it is true, despite the attempt by many people trying to disprove or ridicule the concept of the resurrection, or even that Christ is the Son of God, or even more so, the existence of the Almighty God Himself.

Mankind doubted God and His love, and they often rejected His undying love for mankind themselves, and as Peter rightly pointed out in the first reading today, that mankind likely did so because of their ignorance, or meaning the veil of darkness that covers their eyes, which prevented them from seeing the truth of God, and therefore resulting in the ignorance that mankind has pertaining God and His actions.

Yet for all of us who believe in God, we know that the Lord had indeed died for us on the cross, and He indeed rose from the dead and showed Himself to His disciples, which many had testified to its truth. We know this because we have that crucial faith in us, as well as the ability to love, that is to appreciate and comprehend the love of God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we have to treasure this faith we have in God, as it is due to this faith that we are all able to understand God’s love and therefore understand His mission and dealings in this world. After all, who could comprehend God’s actions in coming down into this decadent and wicked world if He is perfect and all-powerful just to die for us sinners and unworthy rebels against His will? How can we understand His actions therefore, without first understanding His eternal love for all of us?

This Easter we again commemorate the resurrection of Christ, but indeed, not just His resurrection, but indeed the entire life and happenings in Jesus’ earthly sojourn, to His death and resurrection, and what He proclaimed after He was risen. This Easter is a celebration of life, that all who were once condemned to death was saved and brought to a new hope, where a new dawn has risen with Christ, to be our beacon towards eternal redemption and joy.

Indeed, the truth is sadly that we have often neglected this spirit of Easter, and we have grown decadent and lax in our lives, that we end up forgetting our true aim in life, that is to bring glory to God and follow the Lord and His ways in our lives. We have grown to worry and care only about ourselves. And we grow to be selfish and self-serving in our actions and deeds.

We often care only about the desires that we have, the wants and the concerns of the world that frequently occupy our minds. This Easter we are called to rediscover ourselves and seek the Lord once again. This is the perfect opportunity for us to make a genuine change in our lives. Let us not waste this opportunity, and as we celebrate the joy of Easter, let us also make the concrete and concerted effort to seek the Lord once again in our lives, that we no longer have any doubt about the love of God, but just complete faith in God.

May Almighty God bless us with a fruitful Easter season, strengthen our faith and guide us to be ever more faithful and loving servants of His, that our actions may ever always reflect the nature of God, and our nature as God’s children. Keep the spirit of Easter alive! Amen.

Thursday, 24 April 2014 : Thursday within Easter Octave (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 24 : 35-48

Then the two disciples told what had happened on the road to Emmaus, and how Jesus had made Himself known, when He broke bread with them.

While they were still talking about this, Jesus Himself stood in their midst. He said to them, “Peace to you.” In their panic and fright they thought they were seeing a ghost, but He said to them, “Why are you upset, and how does such an idea cross your minds?”

“Look at My hands and feet, and see that it is I Myself! Touch Me, and see for yourselves, for a ghost has no flesh and bones as I have!” As He said this, He showed His hands and feet.

In their joy they did not dare believe, and were still astonished; so He said to them, “Have you anything to eat?” And they gave Him a piece of broiled fish. He took it, and ate it before them. Then Jesus said to them, “Remember the words I spoke to you when I was still with you : ‘Everything written about Me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.'” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.

And He said, “So it was written : the Messiah had to suffer, and on the third day rise from the dead. Then repentance and forgiveness in His Name would be proclaimed to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things.”

Thursday, 24 April 2014 : Thursday within Easter Octave (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 8 : 2a and 5, 6-7, 8-9

O Lord, our Lord, how great is Your Name throughout the earth! What is a man that You be mindful of him, the Son of Man, that You should care for Him?

Yet You made Him a little lower than the angels; You crowned Him with glory and honour and gave Him the works of Your hands; You have put all things under His feet.

Sheep and oxen without number and even the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, the fish of the sea, and all that swim the path of the ocean.

Thursday, 24 April 2014 : Thursday within Easter Octave (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 3 : 11-26

While the healed paralytic man clung to Peter and John, all the people, struck with astonishment, came running to them to Solomon’s Porch, as it was called.

When Peter saw the people, he said to them, “Fellow Israelites, why are you amazed at this? Why do you stare at us as if it was by some power or holiness of our own that we made this man walk? The God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob, the God of our ancestors has glorified His servant Jesus whom you handed over to death and denied before Pilate, when even Pilate had decided to release Him.”

“You rejected the Holy and Just One, and you insisted that a murderer be released to you. You killed the Master of life, but God raised Him from the dead and we are witnesses to this. It is His Name, and faith in His Name, that has healed this man whom you see and recognise. The faith that comes through Jesus has given him wholeness in the presence of all of you.”

“Yet I know that you acted out of ignorance, as did your leaders. God has fulfilled in this way what He had foretold through all the prophets, that His Messiah would suffer. Repent, then, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out and the time of refreshment may come by the mercy of God, when He sends the Messiah appointed for you, Jesus.”

“For He must remain in heaven until the time of the universal restoration which God spoke of long ago through His holy prophets. Moses foretold this when he said : ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among your own people; you shall listen to Him in all that He says to you. Whoever does not listen to that prophet is to be cut off from among his people.'”

“In fact, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel onward, have announced the events of these days. You are the children of the prophets and heirs of the covenant that God gave to your ancestors when He said to Abraham : ‘All the families of the earth will be blessed through your descendant.’ It is to you first that God sends His Servant; He raised Him to life to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.”