Thursday, 23 April 2015 : 3rd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. George, Martyr and St. Adalbert, Bishop and Martyr (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today in the readings we heard about the revelation of the truth in the Lord, first, in the Acts of the Apostles where the steward to the Queen of Ethiopia met up with the Apostle St. Philip while he was reading about the prophecy on the Messiah, and was baptised after the truth was explained and revealed to him.

And in the Gospel, we heard how Jesus further elaborated on Him being the Salvation and Saviour of all, as the Living Bread from heaven, and all who share in Him will not suffer eternal death but live eternally. This is showing how God had given us so much goodness and graces, but we mankind often spurn that love, by looking at idols and other things that distract us from the Lord. We often rejected His love and even pretend that we do not know Him.

Remember brethren, just as the Ethiopian steward read about the suffering servant of God in the Book of the prophet Isaiah, God Himself had foretold about His coming into the world, not as a condescending and proud Lord who boasted of His strength to all and oppress the weak under Him, but instead He had done the exact opposite, that as the Leader, Lord and Master of all, He came as a humble Man, assuming the appearance of a mere creature, and yet, He is still God. This is the wonderful and amazing mystery of our faith, of God made Man, for the sake of our salvation.

This is our faith and this is what we believe in, and as St. Philip had done, we have to be able to go forth and announce the truth about Christ our Lord to others who had not yet received that truth. And this is what evangelisation is all about, that is bringing the Good News of God’s salvation to all of the world. For if we do not do this, then who will? And who will be responsible when the souls of those who did not hear the Word are lost forever? It will be on our hands, brothers and sisters in Christ.

For all of us who have been baptised in the Lord Jesus and welcomed into His one and only Church, have been made to be the children of God. We have therefore a mission which Christ Himself had entrusted to His Apostles, that is to preach the Good News to all the peoples of all the nations to the ends of the earth. There is much that we can do, and we truly should not ignore what God had entrusted to us.

Today, we celebrate the feast of two great and brave saints of the Church, that is of St. George and St. Adalbert. Both of them were great martyrs of the Faith. St. George, also known as St. George of Lydda was a soldier in the Roman Army. He was an officer in the army of the Roman Emperor Diocletian, who was infamous for his great persecutions of the faithful.

St. George refused to renounce his faith and he remained devoted to his Lord and Master, even to the point of denouncing his own worldly and earthly lord, the Roman Emperor, who had forced many to renounce their faith and persecuted many of those who remained faithful to God. He proclaimed bravely in the public assembly and in the presence of the Emperor that he is a Christian and he will not turn away from his faith in Jesus.

Meanwhile, St. Adalbert was a Czech bishop who lived and died about a millennia ago, at the time of the great works of evangelisation to convert many people of those areas and other places throughout Central and Eastern Europe from the pagan faith to the one true faith in God. St. Adalbert worked hard to preach the faith among the masses who still practiced the false pagan practices, and even though he was often harassed and threatened, he continued his hard work.

Eventually, both St. George and St. Adalbert were martyred for their faith. They refused to change their lives and submit to the will and authority of the world made unjustly by the ignorance and by the lack of understanding of who our Lord and God is. They stood up for their faith, and for what they had done, they had earned great glory for the Lord. And rich are their inheritances on the last day.

Let us all be inspired to do more in our faithful service to God, imitating what St. George and St. Adalbert had done. Let us not be passive, complacent and ignorant in our faith life, but instead let us all have faith that is real, concrete, vibrant and true. May Almighty God bless us and guide us in life, that we may ever draw closer to Him. Amen.