Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the occasion of the Third Sunday of Easter, and as we continue to progress through this joyous and great season of Easter, we are called by what we heard today from the Sacred Scriptures, to throw far, far away, our fears and our insecurities, our doubts and our sinfulness, our disobedience and our vanity, to embrace fully the fullness of God’s redemption which He had given us through the Risen Christ, Jesus our Lord and God.
The Apostles feared the Jews and feared their retribution, after they have apparently lost their Lord and Master when Jesus was condemned to death on the cross. Even though they have heard many times from Jesus Himself that He would suffer and die, and yet to be risen from the dead in glory, they still doubted and feared. They were like sheep that had just lost their shepherd, scattered and not knowing where to go, leaderless and without aim.
They trembled in their body, mind and heart, and yet, at that very moment, Jesus appeared in their midst, revealing Himself to them. The words which He said to them indeed have a profound impact and meaning. Peace be with you is the expression of God trying to calm the doubts and the fears in the hearts of the Apostles, and instead replace these with faith, trust and confidence in the Lord.
As in the first reading, St. Peter spoke to the people assembled about the ignorance with which they had condemned the Lord with, therefore, the Apostles also had once been infected with the same ignorance and the same lack of understanding, which came about from the reluctance of all of us to accept the fullness of truth, that Christ is Lord, is King, and is God, Almighty and Creator of the Universe, who have yet come down into this world as a humble Man, through whom we have been saved.
And it is this truth that the Apostles had been made aware of. Jesus Himself told them and revealed to them the fullness of the meaning of the Sacred Scriptures and the history of salvation, and their minds were opened. And later on as we know, they would be sent the Holy Spirit, the Advocate and the One who empowered them in their hearts and minds, that the knowledge and wisdom of the truth is with them.
And from all these rose the foundations of our Church as we know it now. The Apostles continued the works of Jesus, in bringing about the salvation and truth which Christ had brought, to the whole humanity, to the ends of the earth. And all these efforts were united together in the Church which God Himself had established, with the leadership of the Apostles united with Peter, the chief and first of the Apostles, whom God Himself put in charge over all of His faithful ones.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, there are still many people in this world today who are still in the darkness and in ignorance of the truth which Christ had brought us. There are many people who have yet to listen to the Good News of our Lord, and it is our duty and responsibility, as members of the Church to carry that message of truth to all of them. Yes, and we have to begin that with our own selves and all the things that we say and do.
In the second reading today, St. John in his epistle mentioned how if we truly know the Lord and profess to others that we know Him, then we have to show it in our own actions and deeds, or otherwise we would be liars and deceivers. No one will believe in us or in what we are preaching to them if we ourselves do not practice what we had preached. We must lead by example and put our faith into real action.
Today we commemorate a great and joyful day, as today marks the tenth anniversary, a decade since the election of the successor of St. Peter the Apostle as the Bishop of Rome, and thus as the Leader and Chief of all the faithful. As the successor of St. Peter, Pope Benedict XVI is the Vicar of Christ, or Christ’s sole representative on this world.
As we rejoice in God’s blessings which had blessed our Holy Father with this wonderful ten years of service to the Church and all of God’s holy people, we too have to remember that we must continue to support him and all the other leaders of the Church, by doing our best to contribute to the Church’s work to spread the Good News and the truth of Christ to all parts of the world.
Pope Benedict XVI had committed himself to many years of hard and great works to rejuvenate the faith in many people around the world. He had devoted much time to the works of charity and mercy of the Church, to help those who are less fortunate and in suffering, and standing up for those who have been persecuted for their faith and for various other reasons. His writings and publications had clearly spoken the truth of Christ for all to witness and believe.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, we know that at this time and era, it is becoming more and more difficult to stay true to our faith, to our Lord and to stand up to all the truth and the teachings which we had received from the Lord Himself through the Church. This is why, we have to support each other, and do our best to help the efforts of the Church. Let us all support our Pope, bishops and all the others involved in the maintenance and governance of the faithful in the Church.
May Almighty God bless our Pope, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, the faithful and humble servant of our God, that he will continue to be a blessing to all of God’s Church, and continue to serve as our leader and shepherd, guiding us on the way to the Lord, against all the challenges and all the oppositions, so that we may truly get rid of our fear and doubts, and fully immerse ourselves in the love of God, and be truly faithful to Him in action and deeds. Let us all work together, to help the Church of God in its work for the salvation of all mankind! God bless us all. Amen.