Sunday, 5 April 2015 : Easter Sunday of the Lord’s Resurrection (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 20 : 1-9

Now, on the first day after the Sabbath, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning while it was still dark, and she saw that the stone blocking the tomb had been moved away. She ran to Peter, and the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and she said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we do not know where they have laid Him.”

Peter then set out with the other disciple to go to the tomb. They ran together, but the other disciple outran Peter, and reached the tomb first. He bent down and saw the linen cloths lying flat, but he did not enter. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and entered the tomb; he, too, saw the linen cloths lying flat. The napkin, which had been around His head, was not lying flat like the other linen cloths, but lay rolled up in its place.

Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in; he saw and believed. Scripture clearly said that He must rise from the dead, but they had not yet understood that.

 

Alternative reading

Matthew 28 : 1-10

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to visit the tomb. Suddenly there was a violent earthquake : an angel of the Lord descending from heaven, came to the stone, rolled it from the entrance of the tomb, and sat on it.

His appearance was like lightning and his garment white as snow. The guards trembled in fear and became like dead men when they saw the angel. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here, for He is risen as He said. Come, see the place where they laid Him; then go at once and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see Him there. This is my message for you.”

They left the tomb at once in fear, yet with great joy, and they ran to tell the news to His disciples. Suddenly, Jesus met them on the way and said, “Rejoice!” The women approached Him, embraced His feet and worshipped Him. But Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid! Go and tell My brothers to set out for Galilee; there they will see Me.”

 

Alternative reading (for Evening Masses)

Luke 24 : 13-35

That same day, two followers of Jesus were going to Emmaus, a village seven miles from Jerusalem, and they talked about what had happened. While they were talking and arguing about what had happened, Jesus came up and walked with them, but their eyes were not able to recognise Him.

He asked, “What is it you are talking about?” The two stood still, looking sad. Then the one named Cleophas answered, “Why, it seems You are the only traveller to Jerusalem who does not know what has happened there these past few days.” And He asked, “What is it?”

They replied, “It is about Jesus of Nazareth. He was a Prophet, You know, mighty in word and deed before God and the people. But the chief priests and our rulers sentenced Him to death. They handed Him over to be crucified. We had hoped that He would redeem Israel.”

“It is now the third day since all this took place. It is also true that some women of our group have disturbed us. When they went to the tomb at dawn, they did not find His Body; and they came and told us that they had had a vision of angels, who said that Jesus was alive. Some of our people went to the tomb and found everything just as the women had said, but they did not find a Body in the tomb.”

He said to them, “How dull you are, how slow of understanding! Is the message of the prophets too difficult for you to understand? Is it not written that the Christ should suffer all this, and then enter His glory?” Then starting with Moses, and going through the prophets, He explained to them everything in the Scriptures concerning Himself.

As they drew near the village they were heading for, Jesus made as if to go farther. But they prevailed upon Him, “Stay with us, for night comes quickly. The day is now almost over.” So He went in to stay with them. When they were at table, He took the bread, said a blessing, broke it, and gave each a piece.

Then their eyes were opened, and they recognised Him; but He vanished out of their sight. And they said to one another, “Were not our hearts filled with ardent yearning when He was talking to us on the road and explaining the Scriptures?” They immediately set out and returned to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and their companions gathered together.

They were greeted by these words : “Yes, it is true, the Lord is risen! He has appeared to Simon!” Then the two told what had happened on the road to Emmaus, and how Jesus had made Himself known, when He broke bread with them.

Friday, 12 September 2014 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Mary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Mary)

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate yet another feast honouring the Mother of our Lord and God Jesus Christ, that is the Blessed Virgin Mary. And today we rejoice together in the honour of her Most Holy Name, at which even Satan and all his allies tremble, just as they tremble and cower in fear when the Name of her Son is mentioned.

We all first should understand why we all have names with us. The reason is so that we can be easily identified by others around us. Some people indeed can remember names better than they can remember the looks and faces. And remember, brethren, that in most cases, especially in the past, after we die and pass away from this world, only our names would be left behind as the memory for others to see and judge.

Yes, we mankind are most prominently and easily known and remembered through our names, be it in our deeds and actions, be these actions good or bad, or if we have done nothing in particular, in which our names will generally be quickly forgotten. But there are those names that upon which, when we utter it, even the demons and Satan would tremble in fear.

If we utter the name of the holy angels and saints, Satan and his allies fear them because these men and women, and the holy angels remained staunch despite the temptations of the world and the temptations of free will and desire, and they remained faithful servants of God, and in the end, they receive heavenly glory and be with the Lord, interceding for us all day and all night long. Satan knows that those holy saints and angels are interceding for us even now, and when we utter their names and ask for their intercession, Satan knows that God is with us, and he can do nought to crush us.

And even more fearsome therefore is the Holy Name of Mary, the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, who by that virtue and by the virtue of her perfect and upright behaviour, as well as total obedience to the will of God, is the greatest of all of God’s creations, the greatest among all the children of God and the foremost of all saints and rule even over the angels of God.

Satan flee in fear whenever he hears the Names of Jesus and Mary, because he knows that he has no power and no authority over them, and his doom is at hand. And if we refer to the Book of Genesis, just after mankind had sinned by eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, God Himself prophesied the coming of salvation for mankind through a woman, who would be the descendant of men, and who would bear a Son, as we heard in the prophecy of Isaiah and the other prophets, and the snake, or Satan the deceiver would be crushed.

It is through Mary that the salvation of this world was made possible by her obedience to take part in God’s plan for salvation, and in her acceptance of the role as the Mother of our Lord and Saviour. This was evident later as Mary had to endure much physical and spiritual sufferings, as she followed on the life and works of her Son, who was met with such opposition and hostility, even unto death on the cross.

Truly, Mary agreed to be part of this very difficult and challenging task, but she did not even complain or resist when the news was brought to her by the Archangel Gabriel. She obeyed completely and fully, surrendering herself to the will of God and to His plans for her. From then on, Mary became the one who made the salvation of mankind possible, because through her, the Word of God was incarnate into flesh and blood, becoming our Lord Jesus, fully man through her mother Mary, and fully God, as He was conceived by the Holy spirit.

Satan, having been dealt a terrible and crushing defeat by Jesus through His triumphant sacrifice on the cross, rightly feared Mary, because she is the Mother of Jesus, who walked with Him and guided Him towards the triumph of the Lord and all that is good against evil and all its forces. In addition, Satan, whose goal is the corruption and destruction of all mankind rightly feared Mary, because in her we have a great and perfect example of a paragon of love and virtue, who obeyed the Lord in all things.

If we follow the example of Mary’s obedience, love and devotion to God, we cannot go wrong. That is why Satan feared Mary, because she is like a beacon of light that shine brightly on our path as we go towards her Son, Jesus Christ our. Lord. Thus we know the phrase, Ad Iesum per Mariam, or ‘To Jesus through Mary’. Following Mary and her examples are the best ways for us to be closer to God and to attain salvation in Jesus.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all whenever we are tempted to sin and to do what is evil in the eyes of the Lord, that we should utter the Most Holy Name of Mary, that Satan who tempts us when he hears that Name would flee in fear, and that our soul will remain pure and clean from his corruptions and evil. Satan knows that he is doomed, and the Name of the mother of the One who had defeated him will certainly remind him that, and make him flee in fear.

Let us not fear Satan and his darkness, for Mary is with us, this blessed one among all women and all creations of God is caring for us as our mother, who prays for us incessantly and constantly before the throne of her Son, our Lord in heaven. Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you amongst women, and blessed is the Fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.