Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we hear of the glory of God, who is to come, the glory of God who had been risen in glory from the dead and therefore triumphed over death and evil, and broke their hold over all of us for eternity. This God who had been taken up in glory to heaven, in the glorious Ascension, and seated at the right hand of God the Father. This was seen by the first martyr, Stephen the deacon, who saw and proclaim the glory of Christ, that despite knowing that such proclamation would certainly bring about his death at the hands of the chief priests.
God’s promise will become a reality, that He will soon once again come down onto this world, this time not as the humble king born in a manger, which we celebrate now as Christmas, but this time He will descend as a great and almighty king in glory, as the ruler of all creation and the Master of all the Universe. He will come as the great judge who will judge all for their own worth, whether they are worthy or unworthy of heaven that is the reward for those who are faithful, and for those who keep God in their hearts.
Those who knows Christ will know the Father, because Christ was sent by the Father into this world in His first coming to be our Messiah, our Saviour from death and the slavery of sin. If we hold fast onto this faith, Christ too will know us, and make all of us His own, and when the time comes for all of us to be judged, we will be welcomed into His Kingdom, and we will receive our rewards of eternal life.
Christ desires also, first and foremost, that all of those who believe in Him be one and united, as one Body, and therefore one Spirit, in the Church that He established through the Apostles. This is because Christ knows human weaknesses and the extent of human susceptibility to the devil’s influences. The evil one will stop at nothing to prevent his ultimate fate that is total defeat and damnation, but his fate has already been decided. Nevertheless, through his numerous agents and tools in this world, he can indeed make life difficult for those of us who believe and keep the faith.
Christ knows that the Church He had established will be fractured by the agents of Satan, through human pride and arrogance, and self-serving attitudes, that resulted in the breaking of the Body of the faithful. That is why He prayed, and prayed hard to His Father in heaven, that all the faithful ones in Him, His sheep, will remain as one, as indivisible from each other, just as He and the Father, and also the Holy Spirit are together and united in an immeasurably strong bond and unity.
His wish, that they all may be one, that all of us may be one, as one Church, one people, with one Creed, and one belief, had been dashed by the evils of human ambitions and weaknesses throughout the past centuries. Many had succumbed to the temptations of the world and false teachings, through numerous false prophets, aimed by Satan to confuse the Church and the faithful, and broke the unity within the Body of Christ, that is the Church.
False prophets like Arius, Jan Hus, Martin Luther, and many others who even claimed themselves Messiah or the second coming of Christ, had spread seeds of disunity among the faithful, and also spread false teachings that ended up confusing the faithful and snared many into damnation because of them believing in teachings in contrary to the teachings of Christ, as delivered to us through the Apostles and the early Church Fathers.
Many today in our world had claimed that faith must be a personal one, that is to be a personal ‘encounter’ with Christ. But they had forgotten that faith in Christ is impossible to be described in personal terms, or separated from the whole community of the faithful, that is the Church. Humans are inherently weak because of our imperfections, and because of our own sinful nature, since our first rebellion through our ancestors who disobeyed the Lord’s command not to eat the fruits of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Since then, many think too high of themselves, thinking that they are capable of great wisdom and possessing great knowledge, and therefore are capable of interpreting the Scripture on their own, and as they like it. This is why, although reading the Scripture is important for the development of the faith, we have to anchor ourselves in the authority and the teaching magisterium of the Church, as only in good guidance of the Church, that we can fully make use and understand the Scripture.
For the Scripture was written by the apostles and disciples of Christ, who were inspired by the Holy Spirit, and also the numerous prophets of the past times, who also received the message of the Lord, many of which are veiled messages that are part of the mystery of our faith. Even someone who is very knowledgeable and experienced in the Scripture, will certainly not be able to claim to fully understand the full and true meaning of God’s words contained in the Scripture.
Many today and in the past interpreted the words of God in the Scripture as they wished, and they ended up establishing new ‘faiths’ that they call churches, which in fact exist in thousands, millions, and maybe more today. There are as many ‘churches’ as there are heads, obviously because no one can agree perfectly with one another and mankind will certainly be influenced by pride and arrogance to shut out other’s own interpretations and keep one’s own interpretations to oneself. Such is the danger of self-faith and faith that does not conform to the will of God in the Church.
Indeed, many of them sinned grievously because they had caused division in the body of the faithful, the Church, the Body of Christ, and also spreading false teachings, and many of these, especially are intertwined with relativism, that is to include secular developments into the faith, which are in fact incompatible, and therefore, the faith, the true faith that we know of, no longer exists in those who had gone astray.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, strengthen your faith and resolve! Do not give up to the temptations of Satan and this world. Read the Scripture and learn the faith through the teachings of the Church, and deafen yourselves to the false allures of the false prophets and agents of the evil one. Be steadfast and be faithful, and the Lord will reward all of you.
Help one another in the faith, and pass the teachings of the Lord in the Church to those, especially those who had gone astray in their path, and those who has had wrong impression and ideas about the true faith in God. Who says that Christians can only evangelise to non-Christians and non-believers? Look into ourselves, and you can see so much division within the Body of Christ that is the Church, that we need to do some internal housecleaning first.
Just as Christ said, that if we are united then the world will believe in the Lord, if we are divided against ourselves, by attacking one another’s faith, how is the Church going to stand and bring then the fight to the devil? Let us strive to fulfill Christ’s wish and indeed, God’s will, that the entire community of the believers in Christ, would be reunited, into one body, one faith, and one belief in Christ our Lord, within His One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, our Roman Catholic Church, the one and only true Church that Christ had established in this world, on Peter His Apostle, on whom He entrusted the keys of the Kingdom of heaven.
May God strengthen the unity between Christians and allow all those who believe in Him to be reunited once again within one Church, and one faith, under the authority and jurisdiction of the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, the successor of St. Peter the Apostle, keeper of the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and Vicar of Christ in this world. God bless all of us, Amen.