Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us must have heard in the Scriptures, particularly in the Acts of the Apostles, how the Apostle St. Peter and the other disciples of the Lord had been oppressed by the chief priests, the elders and all those who did not wish to see the Christian faith flourishing among the people of God. We saw how the rulers and the powerful were against the works of Christ and His followers.
And we witnessed how St. Peter and the other Apostles courageously defended their faith, even to the point of making a stern rebuke at the chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin ruling Council. They courageously said that they would rather obey the will of God and follow Him rather than obey the orders and the will of man. Essentially they were saying that they would not bend to the will of the Pharisees, the elders and the chief priests who were trying to silence them and stop them from carrying out the good works they have done in the Name of the Lord.
The attitude of the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord shows us that we always have a choice in this world. Yes, a choice to obey either the wishes of the Lord, or to obey the wishes of this world. It is just as the Lord said in another occasion, as written in the Gospels, that one cannot serve two masters, he or she will either love one and despise the other, or vice versa. Man cannot serve both God and money. And similarly, it is often that obeying the Lord means disobeying the norms and ways of this world.
Why is that so, brothers and sisters in Christ? Particularly in today’s world, and which was also true in the past, this world and our society are filled with many corruptions, many temptations, of power and influence, of desires for wealth and worldly possessions, the wickedness of the pleasures of the flesh, and many other things that had caused us mankind to be distracted on our path seeking the Lord, and ended up causing many to fall into sin and towards condemnation.
We are all given a choice, to choose between the way of the Lord and the way of wickedness. We have been given free will by the Lord to choose between righteousness and evil, between selfishness and selflessness, between hatred and love, between the love and desire for money and faith, between the light of the world, that is our Lord Jesus Christ, and the darkness of ignorance of the Lord.
The devil has worked very hard in order to persuade, coax and even force mankind to go to the path towards their downfall, so that they will share in the fate which the devil knew he will have to endure. He sought our downfall and damnation, and hence, he tried his best to make the path of wickedness and evil to be as attractive as possible, to be as easy and lucrative as possible. And thus, many had fallen into the trap he set for us.
But the Lord has not abandoned us to the devil and his devices. He had always loved us and remembered us, especially when we are besieged and are troubled by the forces of our enemies. He does not abandon us, but gives us His assistance and company, and He had sent the Holy Spirit to the Apostles and the disciples, giving them the wisdom, strength and power in order to continue the mission which He had given them, that is the conversion of all mankind to the cause of the Lord.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us are the successors to the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord. We are all the ones to whom God had entrusted the same mission He had given His Apostles and His Church. As Christians, all of us are responsible for the works which the Church of God are doing, spreading the Good News of God and the truth about His salvation.
There will indeed be opposition against us just as the Apostles had encountered opposition. And just as the saints and the holy disciples of the Lord had to even lay down their lives in holy martyrdom, the opposition against us may be difficult for us to overcome or to persevere through. But we must not give up, or else, not only that we fall into the sin which we had wanted to avoid, we will also cause others to fall.
Let us all realise that through our actions, words and deeds, we can help bring many more of our brethren towards God and His salvation. By being faithful in all the things we say and do, even amidst opposition and challenges from the society around us, even from among those whom we know, we can help one another on our way to the eternal life promised to us by the Lord.
May the Lord help us all, and bless all of our endeavours, so that in all the things we say and do, we will always be ever faithful to Him, and we will inspire many others to do the same as well. May God be with us all. Amen.