Thursday, 23 May 2019 : 5th Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture reminding us of the commandments of God that He has presented to us and commanded us to do, that is to be the bearers of love, in all the things we say and do, so that towards our fellow men, our brothers and sisters we will always act with charity, with care and compassion to each other, putting best interests of each other at the forefront of our minds.

In the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we heard the continuation of the passage from yesterday’s set of Scripture passages, in which we heard about the bitter division and conflict between the disciples of the Lord, among those who wanted to impose the whole strict observation of the laws of Moses to the rest of the believers and those who wanted to excuse the non-Jewish believers from the strict and tough observation of those laws.

And the Apostles, led by St. Peter mediated the situation, and made all of the faithful to come to a peaceful and harmonious conclusion, in which everyone agreed to a collaborated decision not to enforce the whole strict observation of the laws of Moses to the whole body of the Christian faithful, as long as everyone observed the central tenets of the Christian faith, essentially centred and focused on the commandments that God had given to His people, the commandments of love.

First of all, the laws of Moses itself were founded upon the same foundation, as God has revealed not a different but in fact the same Law through Moses, although imperfect in nature and revelation. The Ten Commandments that God gave to His people through Moses as the Lord Jesus Himself said, could be summarised into the fully revealed commandments that Christ Himself bestowed upon us, that is the love for God and the same love that we need to show our fellow men.

All the whole laws and rules, regulations and customs, practices and actions required by the laws of Moses ultimately stemmed from this core and essential commandment of love. But over time, the practice and the external appearances of these rules and regulations took more and greater importance than the essence and heart of the Law itself, that is love.

Those people who wanted to impose the harsh fullness of the laws of Moses on all the believers wanted to do so because they put the appearances and external applications of the Law over the true obedience and adherence to the Law of God, the Law of love. They have forgotten than God does not seek or desire all those external appellations and excessive showcasing of one’s faith, if love is not present in each and every actions they did.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, now each and every one of us as Christians are also called to reflect on our own lives. Have we been truly bearers of God’s love in our lives, through our every actions, words and deeds? Have we committed ourselves in everything to follow the will of God and to be filled with love in all things, in all that we do and in our every actions? Have we been living our lives thus far with real and genuine faith or have we instead been living our lives lacking in faith?

If we have thus far only obey the Lord externally and not inwardly, meaning that we have followed the rules and precepts of the Church, in attending the Holy Mass and doing what we have been commanded to do, and yet in our hearts God is not truly present, as shown by the lack of genuine love in our lives, then perhaps it is time for us to reevaluate our lives and actions from now on.

Let us all turn towards God with love, and let us all commit ourselves anew to Him with a new courage and commitment to love Him each and every days of our lives, and show the same love towards our fellow brethren. May God bless us and all of our endeavours. Amen.

Thursday, 23 May 2019 : 5th Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 15 : 9-11

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “As the Father has loved Me, so I have loved you. Remain in My love! You will remain in My love if you keep My commandments, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love.

I have told you all this, that My own joy may be in you, and your joy may be complete.”

Thursday, 23 May 2019 : 5th Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 95 : 1-2a, 2b-3, 10

Sing to the Lord a new song, sing to the Lord, all the earth! Sing to the Lord, bless His Name.

Proclaim His salvation day after day. Recall His glory among the nations, tell all the peoples His wonderful deeds.

Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!” He will judge the peoples with justice.

Thursday, 23 May 2019 : 5th Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 15 : 7-21

As the discussions became heated, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that from the beginning God chose me among you so that non-Jews could hear the Good News from me and believe. God, Who can read hearts, put Himself on their side by giving the Holy Spirit to them just as He did to us. He made no distinction between us and them and cleansed their hearts through faith.”

“So why do you want to put God to the test? Why do you lay on the disciples a burden that neither our ancestors nor we ourselves were able to carry? We believe, indeed, that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they are.”

The whole assembly kept silent as they listened to Paul and Barnabas tell of all the miraculous signs and wonders that God had done through them among the non-Jews. After they had finished, James spoke up, “Listen to me, brothers. Symeon has just explained how God first showed His care by taking a people for Himself from non-Jewish nations.”

“And the words of the prophets agree with this, for Scripture says, ‘After this I will return and rebuild the booth of David which has fallen; I will rebuild its ruins and set it up again. Then the rest of humanity will look for the Lord, and all the nations will be consecrated to My Name. So says the Lord, Who does today what He decided from the beginning.'”

“Because of this, I think that we should not make difficulties for those non-Jews who are turning to God. Let us just tell them not to eat food that is unclean from having been offered to idols; to keep themselves from prohibited marriages; and not to eat the flesh of animals that have been strangled, or any blood. For from the earliest times Moses has been taught in every place, and every Sabbath his laws are recalled.”

Thursday, 16 May 2019 : 4th Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture reminding all of us to be bearers of God’s truth, which He has revealed to all of us through His Church and teachings. All of us are God’s people, to whom He has revealed all these good things for our own benefit. And He has taught us all, so that we ourselves too may become teachers to our fellow brothers and sisters, that everyone may know of God’s ways.

He has revealed to us His truth and the salvation that He has brought into this world, which has been passed on and conveyed to us through the Church, by the continuous labour and plenty of effort from the faithful throughout the ages. From generations to generations the word of God and the truth He brought has been handed on by the courageous and tireless efforts of those who have gone before us.

Had they not laboured hard and persevered, often through moments of great difficulties and persecutions, exile, torture and the constant threat of arrest and even death, we would not have heard and received this truth that we all now have. We have them to thank for their commitment and courage in living their faith so wholeheartedly, in imitating the examples and the dedication of the Apostles.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, it was the same challenge which St. Paul the Apostle encountered in the first reading we heard today from the Acts of the Apostles. The Apostle has to go against the hostility of those who refused in the truth which he has brought upon them. And yet he persevered still and tried his best to reach out to them, even though they were not receptive, as he recounted God’s blessings and guidance for His people throughout history.

That was the power and the courage which the Holy Spirit has given him, as he went about doing his work and ministry. The Holy Spirit gave that courage and fire in St. Paul which allowed him to strive and persevere on despite the challenges he had to face, of being ridiculed and rejected, torture and imprisonment, and even almost stoned to death. Through his effort, although many among the people refused to believe, there were some who were converted because of what they heard.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, each and every one of us are supposed to continue the work of the Apostles, as there are still many more out there who have not yet received the truth of God, and because we ourselves have benefitted from someone else who devoted themselves to deliver the truth of God, and so it is only right that we give back by devoting ourselves to the same calling that our committed and holy predecessors have received.

How do we do that, brothers and sisters in Christ? We do it through committing ourselves to a life filled with faith and devotion to God, that everyone who see us in our actions, in our words and in our deeds will see in us the truth of God being reflected through our lives. If we otherwise live in ways that do not reflect on our faith, then how do we convince others to believe in us?

Let us all be exemplary in our lives and be committed to be good role models and teachers of the faith for one another. May the Lord be with us and may He empower us to live our lives with faith, now and always. Amen.

Thursday, 16 May 2019 : 4th Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 13 : 16-20

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly, I say to you, the servant is not greater than his master, nor is the messenger greater than he who sent him. Understand this, and blessed are you, if you put it into practice.”

“I am not speaking of you all, because I know the ones I have chosen, and the Scripture has to be fulfilled that says : The one who shared My table has risen against Me. I tell you this now before it happens, so that when it does happen, you may know that I am He.”

“Truly, I say to you, whoever welcomes the one I send, welcomes Me; and whoever welcomes Me, welcomes the One Who sent Me.”

Thursday, 16 May 2019 : 4th Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 88 : 2-3, 21-22, 25 and 27

I will sing forever, o Lord, of Your love and proclaim Your faithfulness from age to age. I will declare how steadfast is Your love, how firm Your faithfulness.

I have found David My servant, and with My holy oil I have anointed him. My hand will be ever with him and My arm will sustain.

My faithfulness and love will be with him, and by My help he will be strong. He will call on Me, ‘You are my Father, my God, my Rock, my Saviour.’