Tuesday, 6 April 2021 : Tuesday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, as we continue to progress through this week in the Easter Octave, we continue to hear the works of the Apostles and the events that happened surrounding those earliest moments in the history of the Church as first we heard about St. Peter the Apostle preaching to the people about the Risen Lord and the truth that He had brought into this world. And then, we heard of the encounter between Mary Magdalene and the Risen Lord, as He appeared before her right after His Resurrection.

In that first reading today, we heard how the Holy Spirit inspired testimony of faith by St. Peter stirred and touched so many among the people who listened to him and the other Apostles that at least three thousands among them chose to give themselves to be baptised, the event that marked the birth of the Church, the advent of the new Christian community blessed and guided by the Lord, as more and more people from then on would come to believe in the Lord and turn towards Him.

All these happened despite the challenges and trials that they had to face, the opposition they encountered from the Pharisees, the chief priests and many of the members of the Sanhedrin, who were opposed to the Lord Jesus and His teachings. They remained firm in their dedication and faith in the Lord, with the desire to serve Him faithfully and courageously even when faced with many problems, and as St. Stephen showed us all, even martyrdom and death for standing up for the Lord and His truth.

They proclaimed the same truth that Mary Magdalene had seen in the place where the Lord was buried, as detailed in our Gospel passage today. The Risen Lord made an appearance to Mary Magdalene who was sorrowful that the Body of the Lord could not be found. Initially she could not recognise Him, but then the Lord opened her eyes and she found out the truth of the Lord’s Resurrection.

Imagine Mary’s joy when she saw the Lord again and knew that He is alive. She went to the other disciples and told them about the Resurrection with great joy, which in a short moment was proven as the Lord Himself appeared to the disciples in several occasions. And that these faithful disciples of the Lord had seen Him risen in the flesh, they joyfully proclaimed His resurrection, His truth and teachings, despite the persecution they faced in so many occasions.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us may not have seen the Risen Lord Himself in the flesh, but as what many of those early disciples had done, in suffering and enduring many persecutions for the truth, we know that whatever we have received in faith through the Church is indeed true, and those faithful disciples and martyrs endured so many things because they truly have witnessed the truth and suffered because of the truth, and they were glad to be able to suffer for the Lord.

And now, as we journey together through this season and time of Easter, we really should consider how we should live up to our Christian calling and life, in the footsteps of the disciples and followers of the Lord. As Christians, it is our calling and vocation to reach out to our fellow brothers and sisters, and we are called to be the living testimony of faith and of our Lord’s Resurrection just as St. Peter had done. There are still yet so many people out there who had not yet known the Lord, and it is up to us to bring the light of God’s truth to them.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all spend our time and effort from now on to follow the Lord and to be His faithful witnesses through our every actions, through our dedication to His truth that in our every interactions with each other, we will always glorify His Name, and reveal Him to all those whom we encounter and interact with in life. May the Lord be with us all, and may He, Our Risen Lord be our source of strength and may He give us the courage to remain faithful to Him. Amen.

Tuesday, 6 April 2021 : Tuesday within Easter Octave (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 20 : 11-18

At that time, Mary stood weeping outside the tomb; and as she wept, she bent down to look inside. She saw two Angels in white, sitting where the Body of Jesus had been, one at the head, and the other at the feet. They said, “Woman, why are you weeping?”

She answered, “Because they have taken my Lord and I do not know where they have put Him.” As she said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not recognise Him. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?”

She thought it was the gardener and answered Him, “Lord, if You have taken Him away, tell me where You have put Him, and I will go and remove Him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned, and said to Him, “Rabboni!” – which means Master. Jesus said to her, “Do not touch Me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to My brothers and say to them : I am ascending to My Father, Who is your Father, to My God, Who is your God.”

So Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord, and this is what He said to me.”

Tuesday, 6 April 2021 : Tuesday within Easter Octave (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 32 : 4-5, 18-19, 20 and 22

For upright is the Lord’s word and worthy of trust is His work. The Lord loves justice and righteousness; the earth is full of His kindness.

But the Lord’s eyes are upon those who fear Him, upon those who trust in His loving-kindness to deliver them from death and preserve them from famine.

In hope we wait for the Lord for He is our help and our shield. O Lord, let Your love rest upon us, even as our hope rests in You.

Tuesday, 6 April 2021 : Tuesday within Easter Octave (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 2 : 36-41

Peter said, “Let Israel then know for sure that God has made Lord and Christ this Jesus Whom you crucified.” When they heard this, they were deeply troubled. And they asked Peter and the other Apostles, “What shall we do, brothers?”

Peter answered : “Each of you must repent and be baptised in the Name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins may be forgiven. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise of God was made to you and your children, and to all those from afar whom our God may call.”

With many other words Peter gave the message and appealed to them saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who accepted his word were baptised; some three thousand persons were added to their numbers that day.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018 : Tuesday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we continue to hear the testimony of St. Peter the Apostle, who spoke to the multitudes of people gathered in Jerusalem, about the Lord Jesus Christ, Saviour of all mankind, by Whose death and resurrection He had given all of us a new hope of being saved and being liberated from the tyranny of sin.

Then in the Gospel, we heard about the Lord Who appeared to Mary Magdalene, one of His closest disciples, right after He was risen from the dead. Mary was distraught and sorrowful, thinking that someone had indeed stolen the body of the Lord, but the Lord appeared to her and showed her the truth, how He has conquered death, and by appearing to her in the flesh, He proved that He has indeed truly risen from the dead.

Whatever St. Peter and St. Mary Magdalene has witnessed, of the Lord Who fulfilled all of His words and promises, was based on true witness and true senses, as the disciples saw with their own eyes, heard with their own ears, and touched with their own hands and limbs, the Lord resurrected from the dead, in the Body and in His real presence. He was not a mere Spirit or Ghost, but present again amongst them in Body, until the day when He ascended into heaven.

And that is why the Apostles and the disciples were so courageous and so devoted in spreading the truth and their witness of the Resurrection. Had the resurrection of the Lord been a lie, as propagated by the chief priests and the Pharisees, who tried to prevent the truth from going out to the public, the disciples would not have done what they have done, even risking suffering and martyrdom for the sake of the Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, although we have not seen the Lord risen in person, but we too believe in the Risen Christ. Why is that so? That is because the Apostles who witnessed to the truth, spoke up about the truth, and did not hide anything from those to whom they spoke. In that way, they passed on the faith they had to their successors, the bishops and priests of the Church, and from them, to all of us the faithful throughout the ages.

Now, we are called to the same calling and to the same ministry as the Lord has given to His Apostles and disciples. All of us who have received the sacrament of holy baptism and therefore become a member of the Church are called to be witnesses of the Lord’s life, work, death and resurrection that is to speak the same truth as the Apostles and the disciples of Christ had spoken.

This is what each and every one of us as a baptised Christian have to do. It does not mean that we should go to the streets and preach about the Lord’s Good News, as indeed, we can speak directly of His truth to others just as St. Peter had done, but more importantly, have we embodied our faith in our own respective lives? Have we lived our lives filled with actions that truly mark us all as people worthy of God’s grace and love?

Let us all make this to be our Easter commitment and resolution, to be ever better Christians, devoting our time and effort to be the Lord’s faithful and hardworking servants, that through us and our works, we may bring more and more souls closer to God’s redeeming grace. As such, more and more people will come to receive God’s salvation and more souls will be saved from the threat of eternal damnation in hell.

May the Lord be with us all, that we may be ever more courageous in our faith, so that we will always persevere through the challenges we may face if we continue to be faithful Christians, devoted to the Lord our God. Amen.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018 : Tuesday within Easter Octave (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 20 : 11-18

At that time, Mary stood weeping outside the tomb; and as she wept, she bent down to look inside. She saw two Angels in white, sitting where the Body of Jesus had been, one at the head, and the other at the feet. They said, “Woman, why are you weeping?”

She answered, “Because they have taken my Lord and I do not know where they have put Him.” As she said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not recognise Him. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?”

She thought it was the gardener and answered Him, “Lord, if You have taken Him away, tell me where You have put Him, and I will go and remove Him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned, and said to Him, “Rabboni!” – which means Master. Jesus said to her, “Do not touch Me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to My brothers and say to them : I am ascending to My Father, Who is your Father, to My God, Who is your God.”

So Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord, and this is what He said to me.”

Tuesday, 3 April 2018 : Tuesday within Easter Octave (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 32 : 4-5, 18-19, 20 and 22

For upright is the Lord’s word and worthy of trust is His work. The Lord loves justice and righteousness; the earth is full of His kindness.

But the Lord’s eyes are upon those who fear Him, upon those who trust in His loving-kindness to deliver them from death and preserve them from famine.

In hope we wait for the Lord for He is our help and our shield. O Lord, let Your love rest upon us, even as our hope rests in You.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018 : Tuesday within Easter Octave (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 2 : 36-41

Peter said, “Let Israel then know for sure that God has made Lord and Christ this Jesus Whom you crucified.” When they heard this, they were deeply troubled. And they asked Peter and the other Apostles, “What shall we do, brothers?”

Peter answered : “Each of you must repent and be baptised in the Name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins may be forgiven. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise of God was made to you and your children, and to all those from afar whom our God may call.”

With many other words Peter gave the message and appealed to them saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who accepted his word were baptised; some three thousand persons were added to their numbers that day.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014 : Tuesday within Easter Octave (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we continue to proceed through the celebration of the Easter Octave, let us all continue to remind ourselves that we who have been baptised in the Name of our Lord, have a great duty on our shoulders, as I have mentioned, that is to be the bearer of the Good News and proclaim the news of salvation in our God to all the peoples of all nations.

That Good News is that Jesus, who is Lord, has died for all of us, so that our sins may be cleansed from us and we all be redeemed in holiness, but that is not all, as Mary Magdalene herself witnessed, that the Lord who was dead and buried in a tomb, had risen in glory and majesty, to be the first of all to rise from the dead, and therefore broke the dominion of death over all of us.

Just as the people who believed in Peter’s testimony had allowed themselves to be baptised in the Name of the Lord and hence were welcomed into the family of God, being accepted as children of the same God, we too had done the same and we now share with them the gift of faith and salvation in the Lord through the sacred waters of baptism.

Baptism had given us all a new slate, that is a fresh beginning of a new life. This life is one that is no longer tainted with sin and darkness, and instead what we have is a new opportunity for us to glorify and honour God with our lives and actions. We have been made anew through the death and resurrection of Christ, and we are called to be like Peter and the Apostles, who courageously gave their testimony on the Risen Lord.

Many of us were like Mary Magdalene, who wept in sorrow thinking that the Lord had died and gone forever, and thus shorn of all hope. And even more of us these days act as if we do not even care what the Lord had done for us, being entirely apathetic to His great love. This is because in our hearts we do not have the firmness and courage of faith that we need, if we are to be truly faithful in God.

In today’s world, where everything is presented as facts and hard truths, and in consideration of the knowledge that is freely flowing around from people to people through various means, chiefly through the ubiquitous internet, it is increasingly harder for many and many people to believe in the presence of God, much less His resurrection from the dead. Many nowadays even have the courage to dismiss our faith in God as mere fairy tale and lies.

This, is nothing different from the lies and the scheming of the chief priests and the elders of Israel of Jesus’ time. Despite the truth that was presented to them, with all of the undeniable and concrete evidence, they still rejected the Lord and in their jealousy, they hindered the good works of the Lord for, ironically, their own salvation. They refused to see the truth, and worse, they persecuted those who worked hard to spread the truth of God.

The same thing is occurring today, as those who refused to believe in the Lord and in His marvellous works often ridiculed our faith and even in some instances, persecute those of us who resolved to keep our faith alive, strong and real. That is why, in this world full of confusion and darkness, it is ever more important for us to keep our faith strong in God, that we will be firm in our faith and be shining lights for others to see and follow.

We have been called this Easter, to spread the light of the Risen Christ to all the peoples of all nations. Let us all become modern day apostles and disciples of the Lord, and be faithful messengers of His words and will. Let us not be discouraged by all the oppositions and the ridicule that we will certainly face for standing up for Christ and His truth.

May this Easter be a blessed one for each one of us, as we continue to proclaim His Good News and preach the Risen Lord to all who may hear it and be saved. God be with us all, always, now and forever. Amen.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014 : Tuesday within Easter Octave (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 20 : 11-18

Mary stood weeping outside the tomb; and as she wept, she bent down to look inside. She saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head, and the other at the feet.

They said, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She answered, “Because they have taken my Lord and I do not know where they have put Him.”

As she said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not recognise Him. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?”

She thought it was the gardener and answered Him, “Lord, if You have taken Him away, tell me where You have put Him, and I will go and remove Him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned, and said to Him, “Rabboni!” – which means Master. Jesus said to her, “Do not touch Me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to My brothers and say to them : I am ascending to My Father, who is your Father, to My God, who is your God.”

So Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord, and this is what He said to me.”