Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard about the gift of baptism and the Holy Spirit which was given to the people who had turned their hearts to the Lord and who had hearkened to the Lord’s calling. The Lord in the Gospel today also mentioned to His disciples how He would go away from their midst for a while during His Passion and death, and how the disciples would be scattered. And yet, at the same time, He also promised that He would overcome the world and all the plots and evils designed against Him.
And it is through the Holy Spirit that our Lord worked His wonders. He sent the Holy Spirit to all of us who believe in Him, so that with the Spirit dwelling in us, we may be encouraged and strengthened in our conviction and in our faith, that no matter the difficulties and challenges, we would find strength and conviction to persevere through the challenges and oppositions that we would likely encounter as part of our journey of faith.
As we embark on this last week of Easter, we are preparing for the great solemnity of the Pentecost Sunday, when the Lord finally sent His promised Advocate and Helper, the Holy Spirit to His disciples in the form of tongues of flames. Therefore, since today, we should have started our preparations to celebrate this great feast and this significant event in the history of our Church and our salvation in God.
The Lord Jesus was telling us to be careful and to be ever vigilant, that if we adhere to His ways and follow His commandments and teachings, it is often that we will come into clash with the ways accepted and common to this world. And as a result therefore, there will be a few or even many times when we may be ostracised, rejected, looked down upon and persecuted for our faith and for our faithful actions and ways.
Remember that Jesus had also said that if the world hates us all, then we must keep in mind that it had hated Jesus first. Therefore, indeed, it is often that we have to make a conscious choice and decision, on whether to follow and obey the Lord but at the expense of rejection and persecution by the world and its forces, even by our own friends and relatives, or should we succumb to those pressures and embrace the acceptable ways of this world but at the expense of our faith?
Obviously, we should do the former and not the latter one. Jesus said, ‘Do not build for yourself a treasury that will not last, a treasury that thieves could steal and which moths and the elements could destroy. Rather, we all should build a treasury that lasts forevermore. This means that, rather than seeking for the acceptance of the world and risk losing our souls, which will bring us only temporary respite, human acceptance and praise that do not last, we should rather be concerned about the salvation of our souls.
Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we gather together today in devotion to God, let us all be mindful of our actions and what we are doing in our respective lives. All of us have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit and the Lord Himself dwells within us, therefore, we all have to make sure that we are worthy bearers of our Lord’s presence, as the Temples of His holy presence and His dwelling in this world.
If we do not do as what He had commanded us, then it will indeed be scandalous and besmirching to the Holy Name of our Lord. If we truly belong to Him and if we want to be counted among His faithful, then we ought to act like one and do as He had taught us to do. And by doing so, then we will also be able to spread the Good News further as the Apostles had once done. This is the commandment that the Lord had given us, and we ought to take it seriously.
No one will take us seriously or believe in what we preach if we ourselves do not practice and do what we preach about. It is only when we show what we preach both through words and actions then we will be able to convince others to follow us and walk in the same path that we had walked. This is the essence of being a Christian. Our faith is not just about ourselves and about our own salvation, but it must include care and genuine concern for each other.
Brethren, let us remember that we are called to love not just the Lord only, as although that is the most important thing of all, but we must also show the same kind of love to our fellow brethren, to our brothers and sisters. May Almighty God bless us all and awaken in us the strength and courage to carry out the Good News of the Lord to all peoples through words and actions. May God be with us all. Amen.