Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we continue on the celebration of Easter with the readings that showed us first, the martyrdom of St. Stephen, the first of the martyrs of the Faith, who was stoned to death by the Council of the elders after he testified the truth and spoke the truth about Christ, and chided them for their lack of faith and for having rejected the Lord.
And in the Gospel, we heard how Jesus also similarly chided the people for looking at earthly things and to satisfy their own human desires, after the feeding of the five thousand people. Instead, He told them all to seek the true Bread that gives life and came from heaven. And that Bread is none other than Jesus Himself. Jesus has given Himself to us, His Body to eat and Blood to drink, that we all who share in them, receive eternal life through them.
This is the fact that is so difficult to be understood by the people, many of whom refused to believe that Christ is the Saviour of the world. Many of them rejected Him and refused to listen to His teachings, even though what He taught them is truth spoken like a great light that pierces the greatest darkness. They refused to do so, most likely because they refused to acknowledge their weaknesses and frailty. This is just as how Jesus put it, that those who live in darkness fear the light because that light would reveal whatever wickedness that they had committed.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are called to question ourselves and our faith in God. Have we been able to overcome our numerous obstacles in knowing and becoming closer to our Lord? Have we been able to live a life that is truly filled with faith and devotion to God? Or have we rather succumbed to the worldly temptations and pleasures and thus drew further away from God?
One thing we have to realise is that none of us is perfect, and all of us make mistakes at one point in our lives. We cannot think that once we have the taint of sin in us, then we are finished. Our Lord has His mercy and love always pointed at us, and He always seeks to bring us into salvation in Him. That was why He sent us Jesus His Son, so that through Him, we may be saved.
And on the other hand, we should also not think that we can get away with our sins, that God does not care about our sinfulness and iniquities, or that we can always ask Him for mercy again and again. This is the attitude which many of us have at the moment, and this is an attitude that is certainly not good and something that we do not want to have with us.
We have to be proactive in our faith and in our life. We must always seek the heavenly inheritance which God promised all those who remain faithful to Him. It is often that we always seek for things that are vain and worldly in nature. We have this strong tendency to find refuge in the world, to find satisfaction in things like wealth, money, worldly fame and pleasures of the flesh, human approval and influence, and many other things.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, in this holy Easter season, we are all reminded that all those things do not bring us true and lasting joy but a mere passing moment of joy that is of this world. Let us ask ourselves, that whether the things of this world have allowed us to feel satisfied or instead wanting to have more and more. It is part of our human nature, never to be easily satisfied with what we have. We always seek more and more and wanting for more and more.
Therefore, let us today renew our commitment to the Lord and commit ourselves to a life emptied of greed and desire of the world, but instead be filled with the genuine and sincere desire for the Lord. Today we celebrate the feast of St. Anselm, a great Bishop and later appointed Doctor of the Church, who was the Archbishop of Canterbury in the eleventh century.
St. Anselm was a great reformer and visionary, who brought about much changes to the Church and to the flock and community which was entrusted to his care. He brought the Church out of the dependance of the world and bring about its independence from the authority and the meddling of the worldly authorities, submitting it to God alone. He had had many enemies, including the king of England himself, and went into exile more than once, but his dedication remained strong.
He led the reforms to purify the Church and banned sinful practices such as simony and priests bowing down to the will of nobles and kings, as well as the breaking of the sacred vow of celibacy in the priestly orders. Through all these, St. Anselm showed us that we must not bow down to the demands of the world and to succumb to our desires is the sure path to damnation.
Therefore, inspired by his examples, let us go forth in faith and renew our faith to the Lord. Let us do more good deeds according to our faith and help each other to grow ever stronger in our faith and devotion towards the Lord. God bless us all. Amen.