Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard the words of the Sacred Scriptures, telling us firstly how the persecution against the faithful in Jerusalem and throughout Judea and even Samaria began, not long after the martyrdom of St. Stephen, the first martyr of the Faith, and then in the Gospel, the Lord Jesus spoke of Himself as the Bread of Life, and those who clung in faith to Him, He will not lose, but bring to eternal life and He will raise them up on the last day.
Today’s readings highlighted the fact that Jesus shall never abandon those whom He had obtained for Himself, and whom He had gathered into His fold and presence, unless if those who had been saved from the world sought to make themselves be lost. God had always given us many chances and opportunities, one after another. He always gives us chances even though we often spurned His love and efforts.
Therefore, it is truly sad to see how many people continues to ignore the repeated calls made by our Lord for us to change our ways and repent from our sins. Many of us continued to live in our sinful state and commit all sorts of wickedness, as if we do not worry about what will happen to us if we continue to walk on the same path. God gave us His truth through Jesus, and through all of the things that He had taught us through His disciples, so that we may believe and may turn away from all of our faults and sins.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, we have to see how in the Acts of the Apostles, the people of the Faith who even though they were persecuted harshly and greatly for their belief in Jesus, they persevered through and braved through the difficult times and challenges in going forth to preach the Good News to all those who have yet to hear the truth of Christ’s salvation of all peoples. Just as St. Stephen himself had spoken out courageously in the defense of his faith, despite knowing that doing so would mean his certain death at the hands of his enemies, he continued to do what is right.
Therefore, we too, who believe in the Lord Jesus as our Lord and God, as our King and Redeemer, must also have the same spirit and courage as St. Stephen, in the passion and the fire that they feel inside them to carry the truth of Christ to all of the world. Do we have the same passion in us? Do we feel the urge and the need to ensure that every one of us are saved in the Lord Jesus? These are the questions which we should constantly ask ourselves.
The examples of St. Stephen and the many other martyrs and saints of the Faith showed us that God is always with us, no matter what happens. God will always ensure our well-being, may not be in this world and on this earth, but at least and most importantly, our eternal well-being in the world that is to come is assured. Seek not what is temporary and illusory, that is the pleasures of the flesh and the world, but seek instead the treasure, true treasure that will not disappear.
Certainly, if we walk down the path of faith, it will not be easy for us. Challenges will be part and parcel of our life, as we all well know that the way of this world does not sit well with the path of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if we persevere, our reward will be rich in heaven. St. Stephen and the other holy martyrs and saints were glorified, not because they succumbed to the world and listened to the whims of the world, but instead they stood up for the Lord and preached His salvation to all, even when they were persecuted for doing so.
Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, today let us all heed our Lord’s call, for us to change our way of life and our perception of what our faith is. Let us no longer be passive in our faith, but practice that faith with great courage and hope. May Almighty God, our Lord Jesus Christ guide us in all of our actions and in our deeds, so that in whatever we say, do and act, we may bring great glory to God. God bless us all. Amen.