Thursday, 20 April 2017 : Thursday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this occasion, all of us heard about the doubt and the lack of faith which were evident from the two readings from the Acts of the Apostles and the Gospel which we have just listened to. We heard how the Apostle St. Peter spoke to the Jewish people and all those who witnessed the amazing wonders of God, having healed the man born paralysed, who then could walk again and praising God.

In the Gospel we heard how the disciples of the Lord, the Eleven Apostles were stunned when Jesus suddenly appeared to them in their midst, through the locked doors, even though earlier on they had seen and heard from one another, from Mary Magdalene and other witnesses on the empty tomb of Jesus and His missing Body. They were still unable to believe that Jesus had not remained dead, but lived again, risen from the dead as He Himself had foretold.

In all these examples which we have heard, we saw just how often times, we mankind can be stubborn in many things, including in trying to understand things in our own way. We often try to rationalise things before we believe and put our trust and faith in something. This is nothing wrong, as indeed it is important for us to be able to truly understand and know the details about something which we want to believe in, or else we will be easily led to falsehoods and lies.

However, there are indeed certain things that are beyond the realm of our normal and usual human understanding and comprehension. There are many who doubted because they were not capable of putting into reason what they had heard about the resurrection of the Lord, and thought that it was impossible for someone from death to return into life.

Yet, there were many witnesses of what Jesus had done in His life and ministry in this world, all the healing miracles He had done, and even when He raised Lazarus up from the dead. There were many people who witnessed this and believed in the Lord. And indeed, Jesus also appeared to many people who had seen Him after His resurrection from the dead, and could testify to the truth of the resurrection, and all the miraculous deeds which His Apostles and disciples had done.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let me now ask all of you. How did we receive our faith? How is it that we are now believers in the Lord Jesus Christ? Is it just by mere fact or coincidence that we are believing in God now? Certainly, for many of us our answer would be that we received our faith from the instruction of our parents and relatives, all of whom had received their own instruction of the faith from their own parents and relatives, and affirmed with the teachings passed down through the Church.

And for all of those who have been baptised as adults, we also received our faith through our friends and through all those who have inspired us and called us to receive the Lord. And we have been affirmed by the faith that was passed down to us through careful instruction in the faith through the Church, by our catechists and guides, who helped us to grow in the faith. We all went through Catholic education, be it in schools or in our parishes and churches, and we grew together in the faith because of that.

That is how we came to believe in God, because we treasure and keep that same faith which our predecessors had received, all the way to the time of the Apostles, who themselves had seen the glory of the Risen Lord. And they also certainly did not have any reason to lie or to make any falsehoods, for they even were ready to lay down their lives defending that faith they had in the Lord. That was why there were so many martyrs in the days of the early Church, when the faithful were oppressed and persecuted just because they believed in the Lord Jesus.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, now it comes to the difficult part for all of us. All of us now need to also pass on this faith which we have in us to our next generation, and also to all others who have yet to hear of the Lord and His goodness. It is not an easy task, and challenges will be upon us. And at the same time, we must also fully embody our faith through our own words, deeds and actions. If we do not act as what we have believed in, no one will believe in us.

In fact, if we act contrary to what the Lord had taught us and shown us through His disciples, we are actually bringing scandal to our faith and to the Lord Himself. Therefore, let us all today pray together as the whole Church, that each and every one of us may live our Easter joy through our own lives, by our loving actions and by sharing our love and happiness with one another, especially to those who had no one to love them.

May the Lord help us and strengthen us in our faith, so that in everything we do, we will always do them in good faith to the Lord, and that through everything we say and do, we will always declare the glory of God to all the people, and thus help to gather together all the scattered people of the Lord, and come together to embrace His mercy and love. God bless us all. Amen.

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