Tuesday, 31 December 2013 : Seventh Day of the Christmas Octave, Memorial of Pope St. Silvester I, Pope (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and this Word was made flesh, that it came into the world and dwell among us. Brothers and sisters in Christ, today’s Gospel proclaimed to us the truth about Christ and His coming into the world, and what the truth is about the Messiah and His ways.

For, as St. John the Evangelist warned us, in his first letter, that there are antichrist and false prophets who came into this world to mislead us and distract us from the true teachings and the way of the Lord, revealed in Jesus His Son. There are those who taught that Jesus is not God, and that even He is not the Holy One of God, or even that He worked with the power of the evil spirit, and many other.

And there were also those who proclaimed themselves as the Messiah and misled the people of God, both before and after the coming of the true Messiah, Jesus Christ, the Word of God made flesh. That is the truth as proclaimed by the Holy Apostles and martyrs who risked their lived to keep true the revelations as we heard today in the Gospel.

The truth about Jesus is that He is God, and therefore He is Love for God is Love. That was why He came down upon us, incarnate into flesh. He was the Word of God, and of the same essence as God. He was one third of the Holy Trinity, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He was there before time and before all ages, not created, perfect and one in unity, in perfect unity and love as One and only True God with three characteristics.

God the Creator, God the Word, and God the Spirit. These are the persona unified perfectly in God. If you all read the first chapter of the very first book in the Holy Bible, that is the Book of Genesis, you will understand it easily. It was written that once there was nothing and the Spirit of God floats in that nothingness. Then God who was there from the very beginning, and who exists outside of time, spoke and with His Word, made things to be created into existence.

All of those involved are one and the same God, the Creator who is the Father, the Word who is the Son, whom we later know as Jesus, and the Spirit of God, which is the Holy Spirit. That is the reality of our faith, that we believe in One and only One God, but God who in Him exists three distinct yet unified persona, in the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.

All three of them cannot be separated from each other and they are One in God. Through His own Word, He decreed the universe and all creations into existence. Thus, through that Word of God, we and all the things around us were created. And because He created us, and because His nature is love, He cannot deny us the love He has for us. We have sinned when our ancestors chose to listen to Satan instead of the Lord, and therefore we should have deserves damnation and destruction as our fate.

We have been made unworthy of God because of our rebelliousness, and we who have been tainted by sin should have had no place in the kingdom of God. But God being God, and loving us deeply, gave us a new chance, that is the only way out of the predicament that we were in. That way is in Jesus, who came into this world, the Word who was God and was with God, but emptied Himself of all His glory and descend into this world as one of us.

This is the truth about the Lord, our Christ, the Saviour, the Messiah of the world. Satan certainly did not stay quiet or idle during the works of Christ, but he worked hard to undermine the works of the Lord, and as a result, sent many deceivers to deceive and distract the people of God from the true salvation in Jesus Christ.

Today we celebrate a saint whose feast is the last we have on the year. Pope St. Silvester I or Sylvester I was the leader of the Universal Church as the Bishop of Rome at the time of the reign of the Roman Emperor Constantine during the late Roman Empire period. He succeeded the Pope Miltiades, during whose reign as Pope the Edict of Milan was signed by the Emperor, which ended the state persecution against Christians.

Pope St. Silvester I worked hard to strengthen the Church and rebuilt the faith after centuries and past decades of persecution against Christians. He oversaw the period of great revival of the fortunes of the faith, from one that is constantly persecuted and chased by the state authorities and the pagans, into one that is eventually becoming the state faith of the Empire.

His piety and hard work to consolidate the position of the faith as the guiding beacon for many people, and for helping the pious Emperor Constantine to build up the foundations for the Universal Church in converting millions and more to the cause of the Lord made him a great saint of the Church. Yet, as we celebrate what he had achieved, we must remain wary of the devices and works of the devil aimed at disturbing the good works that Pope St. Silvester I and the other saints had initiated.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we end this year of our Lord 2013, let us look forward to the new year with a new and rejuvenated faith, that we will continue to remain faithful to the Lord and His ways, and not be swayed by the temptations of evil, no matter how attractive they are. Reject the devil as firmly as Jesus had rejected him and cast him away from His side. Reject any false prophet bearing the lies and falsehoods of Satan.

May the Lord strengthen our faith and empower us, to be better able to resist Satan and his temptations on us. That we will remain ever faithful in Jesus, our Lord, the true, one and only Saviour of the world. Amen.

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