Friday, 21 April 2017 : Friday within Easter Octave, Memorial of St. Anselm, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, we heard how the Lord appeared to His disciples by the lake of Galilee, where the disciples had been fishing for day and night without any success. Then, He asked them to follow His instructions, and they obeyed Him, and immediately, they caught so many fishes, that the boat almost sank. And immediately, St. Peter and then the other Apostles recognised Jesus as He was.

In today’s Gospel passage, we saw the fulfilment of what the Lord Himself had spoken to the Apostles when He called them at the same spot, calling His first Apostles from among humble fishermen plying their trade on the lakeside. He called them to leave their nets and livelihood behind, that they would no longer be fishermen catching fishes at the lake, but would become fishers of men. That was the symbolism of the miracle which Jesus performed at that time.

The Church is often portrayed as a boat, helmed by the saints and the martyrs. The Apostles were the ones whom the Lord had entrusted with the foundation of His Church. And they were the workers who ensured that the boat was guided properly and thus was capable of gathering as many fishes as possible into the boat. The fishes represent the people of God, those to whom the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord had been sent to.

In the beginning, when the Lord called them, the disciples followed the Lord, Who asked them to put the net out into the deep waters, and as a result netted plenty of fishes, which was actually a symbolism of what they would be doing as God’s disciples and messengers of His will. God sent His Apostles and disciples to places they would not normally go, to the distant and foreign lands, so that they might be able to preach the Good News and the words of God in those places.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, had the Apostles not done what they had done in preaching the Good News amidst the difficulties and challenges that they faced, and despite all the opposition and lack of faith they encountered, even from the powerful such as the Sadducees and the Pharisees, then many people would not have come to believe in the Lord and His salvation.

There would have been many people who lingered on in the darkness, lacking hope for salvation, because no one had come to them bearing the truth which the Lord had brought with Him into this world. That is why, it is important for us to be courageous in living our faith, so that we may follow in the footsteps of the holy Apostles and martyrs, all those who have listened to the truth of God, and then passed them on to all those who have yet to hear of God’s Good News.

Let us all be inspired by the examples of St. Anselm, the holy bishop and renowned saint, a Doctor of the Church, who lived in the Medieval era Britain, known also as St. Anselm of Canterbury. He was a devout and holy servant of God, who dedicated much of his life in service to God. He strengthened the faith in many of the people entrusted to him as his flock. He stood up for the rights of the Church when it was under threat by the secular government trying to impinge upon the works of salvation and mercy that the Church took up.

St. Anselm was a holy and devout, and yet humble and dedicated man, who committed his life to bring the people of God closer to Him, by helping them to overcome the temptation and falsehoods of the devil as they lived their lives. He was not afraid even to oppose the kings and their followers, especially when they went wayward and abandoned the righteousness that they ought to have done.

He opposed the attempts by the kings and their noble supporters in trying to impose control over the Church and the spiritual matters of the faithful. He courageously stood up for his faith, even to the point of having endured exile and persecution, and yet he never gave up. This is the same kind of commitment and faith which all of us will need to have in our lives, the same devotion and passion to live out our faith as the saints and martyrs of the Lord had once done.

Let us all renew our commitment, and spend our time to help bring the truth of God, not just by words, but also through our actions and deeds. How do we do so? It is by embodying our faith through all and everything that we do, that we can convince others that the Lord’s truth is the one for them. How can we convince others if we ourselves do not practice what we believe in?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all commit ourselves to a life of honesty, of justice, of righteousness, and of goodness, so that we will truly become a people worthy of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us all be joyful this Easter season, by being filled with Easter joy and spirit, that we may always be willing and desiring to help our brethren, all those who are still living in ignorance of the Lord and in the darkness, so that everyone may be saved. Let us all follow in the footsteps of the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord, bringing God’s salvation to all as fishers of men. May God bless us all. Amen.

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