Tuesday, 30 March 2021 : Tuesday of Holy Week (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures and as we move even closer to the beginning of the sacred Easter Triduum, we are reminded of the important events that had happened when the Lord went through His Passion, betrayed by one of His own, persecuted and rejected by His own people, and condemned to suffer and die like a terrible criminal, nailed to the Cross, all for our sake and for our salvation.

In our first reading today, we continue to hear the discourse of the Servant of God in which we are brought to focus our attention on the Servant Whom God had sent into this world, to be the One through Whom God would deliver all of His people, all of mankind and reconcile with them, gathering them all back in from being scattered throughout the world. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour, Son of God Most High, therefore God endeavoured to bring His salvation to us, fulfilling all the promises He had made to us through the prophets.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard then of the moments of the Last Supper when the Lord had the Passover meal with His disciples, and a mention was made of the moment earlier on when Judas Iscariot, the disciple who were to betray the Lord, plotted with the chief priests to hand Him over to them, on the price of thirty pieces of silver. This happened before the Last Supper as on the day of the Last Supper itself, the deed had been done, and that very night of the Last Supper, the Lord was arrested at the Gardens of Gethsemane.

In this occasion, as we heard of the account of the Last Supper, where the Lord again revealed how He would very soon suffer and endure bitter persecution and torture at the hands of His enemies, and how His own disciples and followers would abandon Him and all be scattered, we heard the disciples then saying that they all would never abandon Him and some like St. Peter even said to the extent that they would give their lives for Him.

But the reality was that all those same disciples were shaken deeply when the Lord was betrayed by none other than one of their own, all the more because Judas the betrayer was counted among the Lord’s inner circle. They were all overcome with fear and their courage left them, and even St. Peter wavered, denying the Lord publicly not just once, but a total of three times before the dawn broke, and St. Peter was overcome with regret, sorrow and anguish.

The Lord has shown us that when we try to depend on our own human strength, or depend on the many worldly things we possess, from money to material possessions, to our connections and various other resources in life, we will not be able to sustain ourselves, and eventually will break and fall apart, just as what had happened to Judas Iscariot, who allowed himself to be tempted by money and Satan’s false promises and lies.

Or like that of St. Peter, who thought that his strength was enough for him to persevere on his own, just as he militantly tried to show strength by saying that he would even give his life for the Lord, and even later on, cutting the ears of the High Priest’s servant Malchus. But when everything fell apart all around him, and seeing his Lord and Master being arrested, humiliated and condemned, he lost his courage and wavered in faith, leading to his thrice denial of the Lord.

That is why we are all called today to turn our attention towards the Lord, to entrust ourselves to the Lord and to have faith in Him, just as the Lord Jesus Himself prayed to His heavenly Father, while He was in full agony in the Gardens of Gethsemane. He did not give in to despair and temptations to abandon His Passion, and instead, went on full ahead, willingly bearing the Cross for our sake, and even after being scourged, humiliated and fell three times, He kept on going up again and again, all for the love of us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we should look upon the Lord’s own example, and be inspired to hold faith firmly in Him, entrusting ourselves to Him because we all know that while everything else, material and any other worldly things, and even people and relationship, power and worldly glory may fail, but the Lord and His love for us will never fail. This is the love that stood the test of time, and which allowed Him to suffer even unto His death on the Cross.

Let us all therefore strive to be ever more dedicated and faithful in this Holy Week, the time of reconciliation and rediscovery of our faith and love for God. Let us all turn towards God with a new heart, no longer filled by greed and worldly desires, by pride and ego, but by real and genuine desire to love the Lord with all of our strength, and by our desire to be reconciled with Him through repentance from our sinful ways.

May God bless us all, now and always, and may He guide us through life, and help us to grow ever more in faith, and be ever closer to Him, that one day we may be truly worthy to walk with Him together in His heavenly grace. Amen.

Tuesday, 30 March 2021 : Tuesday of Holy Week (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

John 13 : 21-33, 36-38

At that time, after He said a discourse to His disciples after He washed their feet, Jesus was distressed in Spirit, and said plainly, “Truly, one of you will betray Me.” The disciples then looked at one another, wondering whom He meant. One of the disciples, the one Jesus loved, was reclining near Jesus; so Simon Peter signalled him to ask Jesus whom He meant.

And the disciple, who was reclining near Jesus, asked Him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “I shall dip a piece of bread in the dish, and he to whom I give it, is the one.” So Jesus dipped the bread and gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And as Judas took the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus then said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”

None of the others, reclining at the table, understood why Jesus said this to Judas. As Judas had the common purse, they may have thought that Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or “Give something to the poor.” Judas left as soon as he had eaten the bread. It was night.

When Judas had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him. God will glorify Him, and He will glorify Him very soon. My children, I am with you for only a little while; you will look for Me, but as I already told the Jews, so now I tell you : where I am going you cannot come.”

Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, where are You going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but afterwards you will.” Peter said, “Lord, why can I not follow You now? I am ready to give my life for You.”

“To give your life for Me?” Jesus asked Peter, “Truly I tell you, the cock will not crow, before you have denied Me three times.”

Tuesday, 30 March 2021 : Tuesday of Holy Week (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 70 : 1-2, 3-4a, 5-6ab, 15ab and 17

In You, o Lord, I seek refuge; let me not be disgraced. In Your justice help me and deliver me, turn Your ear to me and save me!

Be my Rock of refuge, a Stronghold to give me safety, for You are my Rock and my Fortress. Rescue me, o my God, from the hand of the wicked.

For You, o Lord, have been my Hope, my Trust, o God, from my youth. I have relied on You from birth : from my mother’s womb You brought me forth.

My lips will proclaim Your intervention and tell of Your salvation all day, little though it is what I can understand. You have taught me from my youth and until now I proclaim Your marvels.

Tuesday, 30 March 2021 : Tuesday of Holy Week (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Isaiah 49 : 1-6

Listen to me, o islands, pay attention, peoples from distant lands. YHVH called me from my mother’s womb; He pronounced my name before I was born. He made my mouth like a sharpened sword. He hid me in the shadow of His hand. He made me into a polished arrow set apart in His quiver.

He said to me, “You are Israel, my servant, through you I will be known.” “I have laboured in vain,” I thought, “and spent my strength for nothing.” Yet what is due me was in the hand of YHVH, and my reward was with my God. I am important in the sight of YHVH, and my God is my Strength.

And now YHVH has spoken, He Who formed me in the womb to be His servant, to bring Jacob back to Him, to gather Israel to Him. He said : “It is not enough that you be My servant, to restore the tribes of Jacob, to bring back the remnant of Israel. I will make you the light of the nations, that My salvation will reach to the ends of the earth.”

Tuesday, 7 April 2020 : Tuesday of Holy Week (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we draw closer to the glorious Easter Triduum, we should all be preparing for the celebration of this venerable and great celebration, by spending more time with God, devoting our time to reflect on our lives, doing spiritual exercises and focusing our attention on the Lord and on what He has done in order to bring His salvation to all of us. He has willingly embraced the burden of the Cross and endure all the pain and suffering for our sake, that we may be saved.

In our first reading today taken from the Book of the prophet Isaiah, we heard of the Lord speaking to His people about the coming of His Servant by Whom salvation of the world would come. The light of the nations shall come forth from the Saviour sent by God, and all of these brought hope to the people of God then suffering and oppressed, with the northern kingdom of Israel then having been conquered by the Assyrians and its people brought into exile in far-off lands. The southern kingdom of Judah then were also troubled by the Assyrians who once sent a great army to besiege Jerusalem.

God essentially promised to save His people, and all of these were to be fulfilled through Christ, the Son of God, Whom He sent into this world to be its Saviour. And in our Gospel today, we heard the narrative heading towards its climax, as the Lord and His disciples talked about His impending suffering and death, and the Lord speaking openly before all of them how He would be betrayed by one of His own closest confidants, namely Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And He also foretold of St. Peter’s denial of Himself, which would happen when He was arrested.

All of the readings today help us to focus our attention to the upcoming celebrations of the Easter Triduum when we are going to enter into those most important moments in the history of our salvation. We are called to spend this time to reflect on God’s amazing and ever enduring love for us all that He was willing to go through all the challenges and troubles to save us from our distress and troubles. We are called to look towards our Lord and Saviour especially in these dark and difficult times.

We all know how the current global pandemic has been severely affecting many communities and peoples all around the world. Many people have suffered and are still suffering, hundreds of thousands are being hospitalised, tens of thousands had perished from this disease. Many others had lost their jobs and employments, many of them were struggling to make ends meet as they were breadwinners for their respective families. Many are worried how they are going to live through these difficult moments, with all the restrictions and limitations in place.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is exactly where more importantly for us all that we must direct our attention to the Lord, and commit ourselves with greater zeal and faith in God. This is the time for us to remember that no matter how dark and difficult the times may be, but God’s love and providence are even more powerful and are greater than all the sum of our fears and insecurities. We must have faith in God and trust in Him that He will provide for us and will not abandon us to the darkness.

Sadly this is where we know that the devil is very cunning, in trying to heighten our fears and make us distracted from God, by making us feel scared and lonely in this difficult moment, with all the fake news and fear-mongering being everywhere all around us. Because of this, we see all the selfish attitudes of people who are hoarding goods and essential items, which denied those people who really need them of the things necessary for them to sustain themselves.

And many of these attitudes and selfishness are sadly shown by some of us Christians, who placed our own needs and desires above that of the rest, even causing harm and hurt to others just so that we can safeguard our own interests and indulge in our own desires. And this is where we must be always vigilant, that we do not end up falling into temptation like how Judas Iscariot fell into the temptation of quick money and personal benefit, ending up committing a great sin before God and mankind alike. We must make use of this opportunity instead to allow our Christian faith and virtues to shine brightly in the midst of all the darkness.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore make good use of this Holy Week and make it a meaningful time for each and every one of us. May we bear in our lives the spirit of openness and humility, allowing God to be glorified through our actions and our lives, that we may bring the light of Christ and the hope of Easter to our brothers and sisters, to all those who are now suffering and in despair. Let us all bring forth God’s light and dispel the darkness of fear, uncertainty and evil in our midst. Trust in God and put our complete faith in Him, for in Him alone is our sure assistance. May God bless us all, now and always. Amen.

Tuesday, 7 April 2020 : Tuesday of Holy Week (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

John 13 : 21-33, 36-38

At that time, after He said a discourse to His disciples after He washed their feet, Jesus was distressed in Spirit, and said plainly, “Truly, one of you will betray Me.” The disciples then looked at one another, wondering whom He meant. One of the disciples, the one Jesus loved, was reclining near Jesus; so Simon Peter signalled him to ask Jesus whom He meant.

And the disciple, who was reclining near Jesus, asked Him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “I shall dip a piece of bread in the dish, and he to whom I give it, is the one.” So Jesus dipped the bread and gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And as Judas took the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus then said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”

None of the others, reclining at the table, understood why Jesus said this to Judas. As Judas had the common purse, they may have thought that Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or “Give something to the poor.” Judas left as soon as he had eaten the bread. It was night.

When Judas had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him. God will glorify Him, and He will glorify Him very soon. My children, I am with you for only a little while; you will look for Me, but as I already told the Jews, so now I tell you : where I am going you cannot come.”

Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, where are You going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but afterwards you will.” Peter said, “Lord, why can I not follow You now? I am ready to give my life for You.”

“To give your life for Me?” Jesus asked Peter, “Truly I tell you, the cock will not crow, before you have denied Me three times.”

Tuesday, 7 April 2020 : Tuesday of Holy Week (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 70 : 1-2, 3-4a, 5-6ab, 15 and 17

In You, o Lord, I seek refuge; let me not be disgraced. In Your justice help me and deliver me, turn Your ear to me and save me!

Be my Rock of refuge, a Stronghold to give me safety, for You are my Rock and my Fortress. Rescue me, o my God, from the hand of the wicked.

For You, o Lord, have been my Hope, my Trust, o God, from my youth. I have relied on You from birth : from my mother’s womb You brought me forth.

My lips will proclaim Your intervention and tell of Your salvation all day, little though it is what I can understand. You have taught me from my youth and until now I proclaim Your marvels.

Tuesday, 7 April 2020 : Tuesday of Holy Week (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Isaiah 49 : 1-6

Listen to me, o islands, pay attention, peoples from distant lands. YHVH called me from my mother’s womb; He pronounced my name before I was born. He made my mouth like a sharpened sword. He hid me in the shadow of His hand. He made me into a polished arrow set apart in His quiver.

He said to me, “You are Israel, my servant, through you I will be known.” “I have laboured in vain,” I thought, “and spent my strength for nothing.” Yet what is due me was in the hand of YHVH, and my reward was with my God. I am important in the sight of YHVH, and my God is my Strength.

And now YHVH has spoken, He Who formed me in the womb to be His servant, to bring Jacob back to Him, to gather Israel to Him. He said : “It is not enough that you be My servant, to restore the tribes of Jacob, to bring back the remnant of Israel. I will make you the light of the nations, that My salvation will reach to the ends of the earth.”

Tuesday, 27 March 2018 : Tuesday of Holy Week (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in today’s Scripture readings we are reminded of God’s salvation that He sent to us through His Son Jesus Christ, Our Lord, of Whom the prophet Isaiah wrote in our first reading passage today, of the coming of the liberation and reconciliation of the descendants of Israel to their Lord and God. God sent His Messiah or Saviour into the world, to gather back all the scattered children of God, and to reconcile them to Himself.

But remembering what we have just heard in another passage taken from the book of the prophet Elijah in our Palm Sunday readings, about the suffering Servant of God, the Suffering Messiah, God did all of His works through the suffering and the obedience of Jesus Christ, His beloved Son, that by accepting death, death on the cross, persecuted and rejected, and even betrayed by His own disciple, Judas Iscariot, He became the source of salvation for us all mankind.

That is how God gave us His love, the proof of His dedication and love for each and every one of us, that He was willing to bear and suffer the unimaginably heavy burden of the cross. The cross that the Lord Jesus bore was extremely heavy not only because of the physical mass and dimensions of the wooden cross, but even more so, because as He bore that cross, He bore for us, the multitudes of our countless sins and trespasses.

Every wound He endured and suffered from, every lashes of the whip He received, every ridicule and rejection He received and heard from those same people who have just so recently welcomed Him as King, but then quickly rejected Him and condemned Him to death, all of these, every single one of them, are our sins and wickedness. Yes, our sins and evils are the wounds that we have inflicted upon the Lord’s Body.

But many of us do not realise this, and we are not aware how our sins and faults have been borne by the Lord, Who suffered because of all the things we committed in our respective lives. Instead, we continue to sin more and more, and we continue to do what is wicked and unworthy in the sight of God. As a result, we are dragged deeper and deeper into the state of sin, and we become even more desensitised from sin, that we are no longer ashamed of what we have done.

Our attitude is also often like that of St. Peter, when he said before the Lord Jesus, that he would defend Him, even to the point of giving up his own life for His sake. The same thing was repeated by the other disciples as well. But when the time came, all of them abandoned the Lord and ran away, scared for their own lives, and when confronted about being a disciple of Christ, St. Peter denied knowing Him three times, just as He had foretold.

How many of us have this kind of faith, brothers and sisters in Christ? How many of us are not firm in our faith, that we flee the moment persecution and trouble come to us? Let me ask you now, brethren, when the Lord Jesus was presented with the great suffering and tribulation that He had to endure as part of His work of salvation, having to bear the heavy and painful cross, did He run away or reject the responsibility?

Indeed, His humanity agonised over this, for no human being should ever have to suffer such great misery and trouble. But in the end, He is always obedient to the will of His Father, Who loves each and every one of us, and thus He was obedient unto death, death on the cross for us, because of His great and undying love. If God can love us so much, to the point of enduring everything for our sake, then can we not love Him in the same way?

Today, as we continue to progress towards the Easter Triduum at the end of this Holy Week, are we reflecting upon these realities of our faith? Have we lived our lives with true and genuine faith? Have we loved the Lord just as He has loved us? If He can love us so much so as to accept a most painful death and to endure the most horrible of sufferings and pains, then why can’t we do the same?

Too many of us think that we have no time for God. But if we actually spend some time to think about it, we can actually take some time of our busy schedule if we want to. But do we want to? Do we want to spend time with God? Remember that He spent an entire six hours on the cross, and not counting the many more hours on the way to Golgotha, since the moment when He was arrested, full of ridicule, persecution, suffering, torture and difficulties for our sake.

Shall we all make a new commitment to the Lord during this Holy Week? Shall we devote our time, effort and attention to the Lord with renewed zeal and love for Him? This is what we should do, and which we should prioritise in our own lives. Remember, that if God can do so much for us, then at least we should give our very best to love Him as well.

May the Lord continue to be with us, guiding us on our way and blessing us all the days of our lives. May He empower us to live ever with more commitment and love for God, day after day, living with faith, alive and zealous. May our Holy Week celebrations be fruitful for us, for our salvation in God. Amen.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018 : Tuesday of Holy Week (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

John 13 : 21-33, 36-38

At that time, after He said a discourse to His disciples after He washed their feet, Jesus was distressed in Spirit, and said plainly, “Truly, one of you will betray Me.” The disciples then looked at one another, wondering whom He meant. One of the disciples, the one Jesus loved, was reclining near Jesus; so Simon Peter signalled him to ask Jesus whom He meant.

And the disciple, who was reclining near Jesus, asked Him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “I shall dip a piece of bread in the dish, and he to whom I give it, is the one.” So Jesus dipped the bread and gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And as Judas took the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus then said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”

None of the others, reclining at the table, understood why Jesus said this to Judas. As Judas had the common purse, they may have thought that Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or “Give something to the poor.” Judas left as soon as he had eaten the bread. It was night.

When Judas had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him. God will glorify Him, and He will glorify Him very soon. My children, I am with you for only a little while; you will look for Me, but as I already told the Jews, so now I tell you : where I am going you cannot come.”

Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, where are You going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but afterwards you will.” Peter said, “Lord, why can I not follow You now? I am ready to give my life for You.”

“To give your life for Me?” Jesus asked Peter, “Truly I tell you, the cock will not crow, before you have denied Me three times.”