Wednesday, 8 April 2015 : Wednesday within Easter Octave (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

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.

Monday, 21 July 2014 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Lawrence of Brindisi, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we who belong to the race of mankind are prone to the kind of fault that we witnessed today in the Gospel. The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law asked Jesus to show them miraculous signs and supernatural deeds to prove that what He was doing is legitimate, in a sense that is to impress them with His powers and miracles.

But Jesus did not want to entertain and let them indulge in their demands, as He knows perfectly the weakness of men, most evident in the behaviours and actions of those Pharisees and the teachers of the Law. Yes, we mankind like to be impressed and we often like to be awed because we often feel inferior about ourselves and insecure about ourselves.

That is why we have our fears and desires in life, but these are not necessarily good or beneficial to us. Our fear and our insecurities lead us to be fertile ground for the devil to spread his seeds of faithlessness and doubt. That was why the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, who were so concerned about threats to their esteemed and respected positions in the society, that they did all they could to bar and disrupt the works of Jesus, whom they saw as a great rival to their authority.

That was why, they tried to discredit Him, and were blinded such by their insecurities, fears, and desires, they asked for something which Jesus had abundantly showed them through the times whenever He performed His good works to the people. The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law should have been the ones who know the most of who Jesus was, through the numerous miracles and good works He had done. But they did not, because they, in their adamant and hardened hearts and minds, refused to believe in Him.

The same can also be applied to the rest of us, mankind, brothers and sisters. Yes, for mankind also shared the same insecurities, desires and weaknesses as those Pharisees and teachers of the Law once had. However, we have the opportunity for all those of us who are still in this world, to change our ways for the better. The Pharisees had their chance and they spurned it, and gave even worse troubles for the Lord and His disciples.

We like to be awed by someone who possess greater might, intellect and someone who can give us that feeling of security and satisfaction. But if we are not careful, we will fall into the paths prepared for us by Satan, who will definitely use everything in his arsenal of lies and deception to persuade us. You see, brothers and sisters in Christ, that not only the Lord can impress us with His goodness and might, as Satan can do so as well.

Satan has the world in his dominion and disposal. He has all the pleasures and wonders of this world, which we all know well enough, in order to sway our thoughts and ideals to match that of his ways instead of following God’s will. If our hearts are too attached to this world and all its corruptions, and if our minds cannot be disengaged from such perversions, we will fall prey to the works of the evil one, who tries to subvert the faithful to himself.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast day of St. Lawrence of Brindisi, a priest of southern Italian city of Brindisi, who lived during the late Renaissance era, at the time of the Counter-Reformation crusades and works against the heresy of Protestantism and many other divisions in the Church. St. Lawrence of Brindisi joined the Franciscan order, and during his life of service to God, he worked hard and zealously to spread the word of God and advance the cause of God’s Church.

The Pope in particular noted his zeal and dedication in service to God and His Church. As a result, the Pope appointed him to many works and duties that St. Lawrence of Brindisi took most seriously. And one of the many works which he was entrusted with, was to preach to the people of God, first called of all, the Jews, in order to bring them into the true faith in Jesus.

St. Lawrence of Brindisi is a role model to us all, because he served as the antithesis of what the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law did in today’s Gospel reading. St. Lawrence of Brindisi was faithful just as the Pharisees and the others were blinded by their own insecurities and fears to the point of doubting the very presence and good works of Jesus, which was truly apparent before them, and yet they did not see the truth.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all emulate the examples and the zealous works of St. Lawrence of Brindisi, surrendering ourselves to the will of God, and following His will, may we all be the ones to proclaim the Lord’s greatness and majesty to all of the world and its people, so that we may come together to love and serve the Lord. May God bless us all, all the days of our life. Amen.