Friday, 6 May 2016 : Sixth Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard the encouragements which God has given His Apostles, all those who dedicated themselves to Him and to His works. In the first reading, God encouraged and reassured St. Paul of His protection and providence, even as the Jews and all the enemies of the Church were plotting up sinister fates and ideas for St. Paul and his evangelising works.

And in the Gospel we heard how Jesus at the Last Supper foretold of His own suffering and Passion on the way of the cross, and how those times would be difficult for the Apostles to bear, as they would be tempted to run away and flee from these challenges, as shown by St. Peter and his thrice denial of knowing Jesus, because he was afraid and uncertain at that time, after his Master had been arrested by the Jewish authorities.

There would be troubles and challenges facing the faithful if they continued to remain faithful in God, and He wanted them to understand that the path forward would not be an easy one. After all, we were all under the thrall of sin, and through sin we have been under bondage and the tyranny of the devil, who wanted to gain as many souls of mankind as possible, to join him in the eternal damnation.

He knew that he could not win or triumph against God, and his final defeat has indeed been sealed, but that did not stop him from trying to lure mankind away from salvation and from their liberation of their sins. He is always busy at work trying to tempt us away from the path of righteousness in God, and offered us many other seemingly better alternatives that in fact leads not to God but to damnation.

And when he is unable to tempt us away or to lure us to the path which he has designed to bring us into our downfall, then he uses other methods, such as pressure, from the society, and even from within the family and from those whom we know, so that hopefully we may give up and conform to the ways of the world which the devil had advocated.

We may find this to be very distressing, and hope may dry up for us, when especially we are faced with opposition from even those who even know us well, and whom we know well. But God is reminding us that He is always with us, and He will never abandon us, and we need to know that we can trust in Him with all of our heart. He shall succour us, comfort us and He shall give us all a new hope.

He is the true Joy of the world, Who came into the world to bring light to a people who have long lived in the darkness. And through Him, a new hope and light has blossomed and grown in our hearts, and in all those who believe in Him, and have witnessed and known His glorious resurrection from even death, we know that there is hope, even amidst all the gloom and the darkness that surrounded us.

We should not be disheartened, brothers and sisters in Christ, but instead we should really be encouraged by what we have received from the Lord, and by what hope and grace we have been given. Had the Apostles been fearful as they were when the Jewish authorities arrested Jesus, and had they been passive and hiding from trouble, then the word of God and the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ would have been hidden from the rest of mankind.

Instead, they persevered onwards, and despite the challenges, they tried their best in order to fulfil the mission which God had entrusted them with. And even though they were arrested, put into prison, made to suffer, and some of them even were martyred, but all these did not dampen their spirit. And as a result, many people came to know of the Lord and became believers, and thus as a result, they were saved.

We should ponder on all these, and reflect on how all of us are also called to do the same as what the Apostles had done. Their work is not yet complete, and there are always many more things to be done. It is now up to us whether we continue their work and help more and more of our brethren to draw closer to God, so that all of us may together receive God’s eternal life. May God help us in our endeavours and bless us, and may He strengthen our faith and guide us so we may always remain in His path. Amen.

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