Tuesday, 28 May 2019 : 6th Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the Scriptures speaking to us about the power of God that is always with His faithful ones, how He will not abandon them to the darkness and to all those who seek their destruction. The Lord will provide for them and bless them, as shown in what we heard from our first reading today in the Acts of the Apostles.

In that occasion, the Apostles were arrested by the slave owners of the city of Philippi who likely feared their influence, wisdom and eloquence that they were afraid that their slaves would rise up against them. And when they have been tortured and put into prison, God did not leave them behind, but was with them as He miraculously freed them from prison through an earthquake that broke their chains and the imprisonment of their prison cells.

And not only that, but God even performed an even more wonderful work that night, by breaking yet another bond that has chained another person, not physically but spiritually. The jailer who that night watched the miracle that happened, heard the preaching of the Apostles and witnessed their faith, became a believer himself, and followed by his entire family who gave themselves to be baptised as Christians.

Through that act of faith, the jailer and his family were freed from the bondage and slavery to sin, and God brought them into a new life and existence, no longer following the path of the world but that of the path of Christ and His truth. In today’s Gospel, Christ clearly explained this to His disciples, that He was going away to His Father, so that He can bring about vindication and salvation to all the faithful.

He was in fact referring to the then imminent moment of His own suffering, crucifixion and death on the Cross, by which He would save all those who believe in Him, and free them all from the enslavement to sin and to their darkened past. And He has shown all of them the path of righteousness and truth, as opposed to the path of injustice, of wickedness and of sin, and all those who followed Him will not be disappointed, for they will all be triumphant with Him.

Yet, brothers and sisters in Christ, we must also be aware and be prepared that to be followers of Christ, often we may have to be exposed and be brought to suffering and persecution, just as what the Apostles experienced because of the opposition of the world and all those who refused to believe in the Lord and in the message of truth that He has sent to them via those Apostles and servants He sent into their midst.

In suffering we may often be tempted to give up on our faith, to accept what is convenient for us and to abandon the righteousness of God, and instead seeking what is good for ourselves. This is how sin continues to reign and rule over us for so many years, as the allures of sin and the temptation to remain in the darkness is truly strong, while the commitment and resolve we have in being faithful to God often falters in the face of temptations and the pressures of life.

That is why all of us as Christians must truly live our lives from now on with faith, committing ourselves wholeheartedly to the Lord, resisting the temptations to sin and seek to be righteous and be obedient in all things, following the commandments and laws of God at all times. Let us ask the Lord to give us the strength and the willpower to commit ourselves and to do what He has commanded us to do, each and every days of our lives.

May the example and the courage of the Apostles be our inspiration and source of strength, to be ever more devoted and to be ever more like Christ in our own lives and in our actions. Amen.

Tuesday, 28 May 2019 : 6th Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 16 : 5-11

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “But now I am going to the One Who sent Me, and none of you asks Me where I am going; instead you are overcome with grief, because of what I have said.”

“Believe Me, it is better for you that I go away, because as long as I do not leave, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go away, it is to send Him to you, and when He comes, He will vindicate the truth before a sinful world; and He will vindicate the paths of righteousness and justice.”

“What is the world’s sin, in regard to Me? Disbelief. What is the path of righteousness? It is the path I walk, by which I go to the Father; and you shall see Me no more. What is the path of justice? It is the path on which the prince of this world will always stand condemned.”

Tuesday, 28 May 2019 : 6th Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 137 : 1-2a, 2bc-3, 7c-8

I thank You, o Lord with all my heart, for You have heard the word of my lips. I sing Your praise in the presence of the gods. I bow down towards Your holy Temple and give thanks to Your Name.

For Your love and faithfulness, for Your word which exceeds everything. You answered me when I called; You restored my soul and made me strong.

You save me from the wrath of my foes, with Your right hand You deliver me. How the Lord cares for me! Your kindness, o Lord, endures forever. Forsake not the work of Your hands.

Tuesday, 28 May 2019 : 6th Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 16 : 22-34

So the slave owners of Philippi set the crowd against Paul and Silas and the officials tore the clothes of them and ordered them to be flogged. And after inflicting many blows on them, they threw them into prison, charging the jailer to guard them safely. Upon receiving these instructions, he threw them into the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

About midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly a severe earthquake shook the place, rocking the prison to its foundations. Immediately all the doors flew open and the chains of all the prisoners fell off.

The jailer woke up to see the prison gates wide open. Thinking that the prisoners had escaped, he drew his sword to kill himself, but Paul shouted to him, “Do not harm yourself! We are all still here.” The jailer asked for a light, then rushed in, and fell at the feet of Paul and Silas. After he had secured the other prisoners, he led them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

They answered, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you and your household will be saved.” Then they spoke the word of God to him and to all his household. Even at that hour of the night, the jailer took care of them and washed their wounds; and he and his whole household were baptised at once. He led them to his house, spread a meal before them and joyfully celebrated with his whole household his newfound faith in God.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019 : 5th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Christopher Magallanes, Priest and Companions, Martyrs (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture reminding us of the assurance of God, that despite the challenges and difficulties we may have to face in the midst of following Him and obeying His will, but God will never abandon us. He will bless all those who have given themselves to His cause and will provide for all of those who have been faithful to Him.

He gave us this assurance as He prepared His disciples at that time of the coming persecutions and challenges that they would have to face in the midst of opposition and rejection from those who have closed their hearts and minds off from the Lord’s truth. In the first reading we heard the continuation of the story of St. Paul and St. Barnabas, who were cast out from many of the cities where they ministered and preached the Gospel because of those who incited the crowd against them.

But they remained firm in their resolution and commitment to serve the Lord and went to more places, encouraging the faithful and the disciples of the Lord with the same assurance that God has given them, that suffering and persecution were just among the many things that they had to endure in order to be able to enjoy the fullness of the glory of God’s eternal kingdom.

God is truly leading His disciples down the path that He has showed them, despite it having challenges and difficulties, because that is exactly what He Himself has endured as He was rejected, ridiculed, humiliated, tortured and made to endure the sufferings of many on His shoulders as He lifted up and took up His Cross. If God Himself had suffered for us so grievously and with so much pain and suffering, all the more His followers will also suffer and face similar persecution.

But God assured us all that He will be with us, regardless of what happens to us, and at every moment, be it times of good or times of trouble, He will be by our side, watching over us and protecting us, just as He has been with the Apostles, encouraging them and strengthening then with the power to carry on their duties and responsibilities. And through the Holy Spirit, the Apostles inflamed many others with the same strength and courage, to remain faithful to God.

It was through these examples and inspiring efforts of those who have given themselves to God that many more people became inspired to be courageous in defending their faith and in proclaiming the truth of the Gospel. And this includes St. Christopher Magallanes and his many companions who have suffered martyrdom for their dedication to the Lord and for their courage in standing up for their faith.

St. Christopher Magallanes was one of the many martyrs who have died remaining faithful amidst the intense anti-clerical and anti-Christian persecution conducted by the Mexican government in the early twentieth century, just slightly less than a century ago. St. Christopher Magallanes and his companions had to suffer daily harassment and attacks from all those who sought the destruction of the Church, and who targetted the priests and the leaders of the Church.

But they all remained faithful and committed to God, not allowing fear to overcome them. They continued to do what they could in being faithful to God, and for St. Christopher Magallanes and the many other holy priests and shepherds of the Lord’s suffering people to minister to the people of God. They remained firm in their conviction that God was with them, and indeed, God was by their side as they suffered and endured persecution and martyrdom.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all be inspired by the examples shown by our holy predecessors and commit ourselves wholeheartedly in the same way as they have done. Let us all not be disheartened and be fearful because of the persecution and the challenges we have to face, but remain firm knowing that God is always by our side. Amen.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019 : 5th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Christopher Magallanes, Priest and Companions, Martyrs (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

John 14 : 27-31a

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Peace be with you! I give you My peace; not as the world gives peace do I give it to you. Do not be troubled; do not be afraid. You heard Me say, ‘I am going away, but I am coming to you.’ If you loved Me, you would be glad that I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.”

“I have told you this now before it takes place, so that when it does happen you may believe. It is very little what I may still tell you, for the prince of this world is at hand, although there is nothing in Me that he can claim. But see, the world must know that I love the Father, and that I do what the Father has taught Me to do.”

Tuesday, 21 May 2019 : 5th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Christopher Magallanes, Priest and Companions, Martyrs (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

Psalm 144 : 10-11, 12-13ab, 21

All Your works will give You thanks; all Your saints, o Lord, will praise You. They will tell of the glory of Your kingdom and speak of Your power.

That all may know of Your mighty deeds, Your reign and its glorious splendour. Your reign is from age to age; Your dominion endures from generation to generation.

Let my mouth speak in praise of the Lord, let every creature bless His holy Name, forever and ever.