Thursday, 4 May 2017 : 3rd Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture speaking about the conversion of the Ethiopian official, who heard the truth about Jesus Christ the Saviour of the world, touched in his heart, and therefore, asked to be baptised by St. Philip the Apostle, who explained the meaning of the Word to him.

In the Gospel today, then we heard about Jesus Who spoke to the people who followed Him, after He had fed them with bread, at the breaking of the five loaves and two fishes, that more than five thousand men, and many more women and children were filled to satisfaction with much food to spare. Many of the people followed Jesus because He fed them with food, and this was a reminder of the manna which God Himself gave to the Israelites as they journeyed through the desert to the Promised Land.

But Jesus showed the people that all the bread that they have received, and all the manna, even as bread from heaven that their ancestors had received and ate, all of these were not true fulfilment for them. All these physical nourishment and food satisfy the body and give strength to mankind, but they did not give true life to them. Instead, Jesus revealed that He Himself is the true Bread from Heaven, through which God bestowed on the world the fullness of life.

It is through Christ, and the generous giving of His own Flesh and Blood, which Jesus our Lord offered freely for the salvation of our souls, that all of us mankind have received the promise of salvation and the hope of eternal life. For He is the Divine Word of God, through which God had willed the whole creation into being, as the Book of Genesis told it, how God created the whole universe by just willing it into being through His Word.

And the same Word of God became incarnate into Man, taking up the humble flesh and blood of mankind, to walk amongst us and be one like us in Jesus Christ. And He has come into this world bearing the truth of God, and all who listened and believed in Him became His disciples. In the same manner, the Word of God, the truth of Jesus Christ had been delivered by St. Philip to the official of the Ethiopian Queen, and the Word dwelled in the heart of the official, and sealed by the sacrament of baptism, he was saved.

That was what had happened to all of us Christians as well. We have received the truth of the Lord Jesus Christ, His ways and teachings, by the teachings and the traditions of our faith passed down to us through the Church, via our priests and bishops, who faithfully kept the same teachings that the Lord had passed onto His Apostles and disciples, the same truth and teachings as St. Philip preached to the Ethiopian official.

But even more than all these, we all have received the very Body and Blood of our Lord Himself, in the Most Holy Eucharist, the greatest and most precious of all God’s gifts for us. At the Last Supper He had with His disciples, He broke the bread just as He had done when He fed the five thousand men and more, but He did something even more extraordinary at that supper. He gave them the bread, that had been transformed into His own Body, and the wine, which had been transformed into His own Blood.

Yes, this is what all of us believe, that the Lord has given us His own Body and Blood as the perfect spiritual food, the true Bread of Heaven, and the Bread of Life as He had mentioned. The bread and the wine that we use in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass may seem to appear as bread and wine, but in reality, in essence and all, the bread and wine had been completely transformed in reality and substance into the Most Precious Body and Blood, the very Holy Presence of our Lord Himself.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, now that we realise how God is living in us, dwelling in us, let us all reflect this reality and think of what we can do from now on in order to worthily be able to follow the Lord as His disciples, as those upon whom He had shown His favour and love. Let us remember that God has loved us so much, that He was willing to give it all for our sake, even to die on the cross for us, and to bear the burden of our sins.

What is it then that all of us must do? It is by remembering what the Apostle St. Philip had done, in revealing the truth of God and teaching it to the Ethiopian official. In our time today, there are still many people who have not yet known about God, or indeed they knew about Him, but they distanced themselves from Him, because they did not know Him, or worse still, they knew Him, but kept themselves away from Him because of the actions of Christians that scandalised God and made people to refuse to believe in Him.

Therefore, in all of our actions, in everything that we say and do, we must make sure that we truly live a Christian life, in all we act, so that by showing our mercy to the poor and the sick, by showing our love, care and concern for those who are rejected by others, to those who have been unloved, we may inspire more people to believe in God, not because of what we have said or taught them alone, but also through our own actions in life.

May the Lord empower all of us to become ever better disciples of His, and give us the strength and perseverance to walk in His ways, and become a people worthy of the Lord and His love. May the Lord bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

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