Thursday, 22 April 2021 : 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.”

Thursday, 22 April 2021 : 3rd Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 65 : 8-9, 16-17, 20

Praise our God, o nations, let the sound of His praise be heard, for He has preserved us among the living and kept our feet from stumbling.

All you who fear God, come and listen; let me tell you what He has done. I cried aloud to Him, extolling Him with my tongue.

May God be blessed! He has not rejected my prayer; nor withheld His love from me.

Thursday, 22 April 2021 : 3rd Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 8 : 26-40

An Angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south towards the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, the desert road.” So he set out and it happened that an Ethiopian was passing along that way. He was an official in charge of the treasury of the queen of the Ethiopians; he had come on pilgrimage to Jerusalem and was on his way home. He was sitting in his carriage and reading the prophet Isaiah.

The Spirit said to Philip, “Go and catch up with that carriage.” So Philip ran up and heard the man reading the prophet Isaiah; and he asked, “Do you really understand what you are reading?” The Ethiopian replied, “How can I, unless someone explains it to me?” He then invited Philip to get in and sit beside him.

This was the passage of Scripture he was reading : He was led like a sheep to be slaughtered; like a lamb that is dumb before the shearer, He did not open His mouth. He was humbled and deprived of His rights. Who can speak of His descendants? For He was uprooted from the earth.

The official asked Philip, “Tell me, please, does the prophet speak of himself or of Someone else?” Then Philip began to tell him the Good News of Jesus, using this text of Scripture as his starting point. As they travelled down the road they came to a place where there was some water. Then the Ethiopian official said, “Look, here is water; what is to keep me from being baptised?”

And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” Then he ordered the carriage to stop; both Philip and the Ethiopian went down into the water and Philip baptised him. When they came out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord took Philip away. The Ethiopian saw him no more, but he continued on his way full of joy.

Philip found himself at Azotus, and he went about announcing the Good News in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.

Thursday, 15 April 2021 : 2nd 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, once again we are brought to focus on the mission that God has entrusted to us all as Christians, as those whom He has chosen and called to be His own, that each and every one of us be part of the same mission He has entrusted to His Church, that is to all of us who are also members of His Church, the One Body of Christ, the faithful people of God.

We have all been called to follow in the footsteps of the Apostles, the same Apostles whom as described in our first reading today, stood before the whole Sanhedrin or the Jewish High Council facing opposition and bitter resentment from most of its members. The Sanhedrin clearly made known what they wanted, that they all ceased their works and efforts to preach in the Name of the Lord Jesus, recently crucified by the Sanhedrin’s works, and risen from the dead.

St. Peter and the other Apostles firmly rejected and resisted the commands of the Sanhedrin, and stated with great determination and conviction that they would rather obey God and His commandments rather than to obey and follow the commands of fallible men, those who failed to understand the truth of God and those who stubbornly refused to believe in Him because of their pride and arrogance, their desire for fame and power.

Then, in the Gospel today, we heard of the testimony of truth that both the Lord Jesus Himself and St. John the Baptist, His herald had revealed and spoken of, revealing the fullness of the long planned salvation of mankind, that only the One Who had come down from Heaven would have known of. St. John the Baptist proclaimed the coming of the Messiah and called the people to repentance and to abandon their sinful ways that they may come to accept the Lord and His truth when He came.

For all of that, he had to suffer, and the Pharisees and the chief priests doubted him, just as they would later on also refused to believe in the Lord when He came, and he would suffer martyrdom at the hands of king Herod and his unlawful wife, Herodias when he spoke courageously against the immoral behaviour and adultery between the two. And the Lord Himself also suffered as He spoke the truth and was rejected by many among the Sanhedrin, who handed Him over to the Romans to be condemned to death and crucified.

Thus, as we can see here, often, to walk in the path of the Lord is to endure the opposition, challenges and sufferings that are likely to be in that path, and which we have to endure as we walk in His path. The Lord calls us to follow Him nonetheless, and as we embark on this journey of faith, and are we willing to commit ourselves to His cause? Rest assured that the Lord will be with us just as He has been with His Apostles, guiding them and giving them the strength to persevere over their challenges and trials.

Today, in this world there are still many who have not yet known God and who have not witnessed His love and His truth. And we are all as Christians are the ones who have been called to be those who shall bring the Good News of God, His love and presence into the midst of those who have not yet known God and are still in darkness and in ignorance of God’s truth. We are all called to be faithful witnesses of our Christian faith and we should not just be idle or be Christians in name only.

That is why, thus far, as we rejoice during this season of Easter, we are constantly being reminded again and again that the Lord is calling on us to be active and devout Christians, to be genuine in our beliefs and faith, and to be zealous and dedicated in how we live our lives, so that we can become good role models for one another, as we reach out towards our fellow brothers and sisters, and speaking the truth about the Lord, His truth and love, and the salvation He has promised all of us.

Let us all discern carefully therefore what we should be doing, as we move forward in life. Let us make good use of the time and opportunities which we have been given, and be fruitful in all of our good efforts and endeavours, in what we do in each and every moments of our lives to glorify the Lord and to be ray of hope for our fellow brothers and sisters who are suffering especially during this and the past year, that through us, they may also come to know of God and His love. May God bless us all, now and always. Amen.

Thursday, 15 April 2021 : 2nd Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 3 : 31-36

At that time, John the Baptist said, “He Who comes from above is above all; he who comes from the earth belongs to the earth, and his words belong to the earth. He Who comes from heaven speaks of the things He has seen and heard; He bears witness to these things, but no one accepts His testimony. Whoever does receive His testimony acknowledges the truthfulness of God.”

“The One sent by God speaks God’s words, and gives the Spirit unstintingly. The Father loves the Son and has entrusted everything into His hands. Whoever believes in the Son lives with eternal life; but he who will not believe in the Son will never know life, and always faces the justice of God.”

Thursday, 15 April 2021 : 2nd Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 33 : 2 and 9, 17-18, 19-20

I will bless the Lord all my days; His praise will be ever on my lips. Oh, see and taste the goodness of the Lord! Blessed is the one who finds shelter in Him!

But His face is set against the wicked to destroy their memory from the earth. The Lord hears the cry of the righteous and rescues them from all their troubles.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves the distraught. Many are the troubles of the just, but the Lord delivers them from all.

Thursday, 15 April 2021 : 2nd Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 5 : 27-33

So the High Priest and his supporters brought the Apostles in and made them stand before the Council and the High Priest questioned them, “We gave you strict orders not to preach such a Saviour; but you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you intend charging us with the killing of this Man.”

To this Peter and the Apostles replied, “Better for us to obey God rather than any human authority! The God of our ancestors raised Jesus Whom you killed by hanging Him on a wooden post. God set Him at His right hand as Leader and Saviour, to grant repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. We are witnesses to all these things, as well as the Holy Spirit Whom God has given to those who obey Him.

When the Council heard this, they became very angry and wanted to kill them.

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.