Sunday, 14 May 2017 : Fifth Sunday of Easter, Feast of St. Matthias, Apostle (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Sunday, the fifth in the season of Easter, it happens that we also celebrate the feast of one of the Holy Apostles, that is St. Matthias the Apostle, who was not originally counted among the Twelve Apostles, but was added to their number in order to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus our Lord.

In the first reading today, we have also heard about the decision by the Apostles to choose from among the faithful, seven holy men, filled with the Holy Spirit, in order to serve as the new order of Christian Deacons, which was the moment of the foundation of the diaconate. The deacons were meant to serve the people of God, the community of the faithful, by complementing the works of the Apostles, who were indeed the priests newly appointed by God, given the authority to forgive sins, and to transform the bread and wine offered to the Lord into the very essence and reality of the Most Precious Body and Blood of our Lord Himself.

And in the second reading today, taken from the first Epistle written by St. Peter, the first Pope and leader of the Church, we heard about how all of us Christians have been called by God, to become living stones, meaning to become living temples of the Lord’s Most Holy Presence, for He has called us out of the darkness into the light, in order to become His disciples, and He has given us Himself, His own Body and Blood to be eaten and consumed, and thus, He Himself dwells in each and every one of us.

And He has revealed all about God’s love to us, how God has sent us His own beloved Son, Jesus Christ, that through Him, and by all those who believed in Him, all will be made worthy of the Lord, and be forgiven of all their sins, provided that they are willing to be forgiven. This is what the Lord intended for us mankind, His desire that all of us should be reconciled with Him, and saved from eternal damnation in hell, which was our fate.

Thus, after hearing all of these passages from the Scriptures, keeping in mind what the Apostles, the disciples of the Lord, the deacons had done for the sake of the Church, and what each of us as Christians had received from the Lord, it is time for us all to reflect on what being a Christian and being a member of the Church which Christ our Lord had established in this world mean for us.

What is the mission of the Church, and indeed what is our mission, our responsibility as part of God’s Church? What is it that we need to do so that we may be able to actively take part in the works of the Church? The primary mission of the Church is the salvation of all the souls of all mankind, that no one, not a single one of us mankind, children of God, should have to perish in hell because of our sins and wickedness.

The Church is the manifestation of God’s love, which He had made evident and real to us through Jesus Christ, our Lord, by His suffering and death on the cross, and then by His glorious resurrection from the dead. It was His triumphant victory over death, over the chains of sin and evil that bound us mankind to suffering and death, which had become the foundation of the Church He established and entrusted on the Apostles He had called.

Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ, God had entrusted to all of us in His Church, the mission to deliver the truth He had revealed to His Apostles, and thus to all of us, that if mankind are to believe in Him, have faith in Him, and put their trust in Him, then they shall not falter any more, and sin and evil will no longer have any dominion or power over them. For just as the Lord had conquered sin, evil and death, He will also liberate all those who have put themselves in Him from all these, and lead them into the eternal life and glory He had promised them.

But there are still many people out there who have not yet heard of God’s love and mercy, of His desire to forgive them from their sins and wickedness, and they continue to live in ignorance of God and His truth. They continue to live in a state of sin, and if nothing is done, the devil and his allies will then be victorious over them, as they will be successful in dragging these souls into hell, for their failure to repent from their sins.

And there are also many others who have drifted away from the Lord, even many of those who were once counted among the faithful ones. There are indeed in reality, many Christians who are no longer regularly attending the celebrations of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, coming to the church only in the festive moments of Christmas and Easter, or certain feast days, instead of regularly attending and participating in the Holy Mass as is necessary.

And there are even more of those who have stopped coming to the Holy Mass altogether, and those who have stopped believing in God. Thus, after coming to realisation of this reality, all of us must do our best to help these brethren of ours who are in need of our help. It is often that our actions in life are not representative of what we believe in Christians, and it is often this that had prevented many more people from coming to believe in God.

Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ. How are we supposed to make people believe in God and accept the Lord Jesus as their Saviour, if we ourselves as Christians fight among ourselves, and are involved in numerous immoral and unjust acts? How can people believe in what we preach to them, if we ourselves do not do as we have believed? Then we are no better than the Pharisees, whom the Lord Jesus Himself had criticised as those who preached well, but did not practice what they preached, and thus told the people to listen to them, but not follow their practices.

Let us all therefore, from now on, renew our commitment to the Lord, by putting our greatest effort to live faithfully as Christians, devoting our time and effort to serve Him with zeal, and by practicing love and grace in our daily actions. We must be true Christians through our actions, that we should show love to the unloved, to those who have been rejected by others, and show mercy to our enemies and those who have wronged us.

Let us all be exemplary in our actions, and do whatever we can as members and parts of the Church of God, devoting our time and effort, walking in the footsteps of the holy deacons, the Apostles, St. Matthias and his fellow disciples of the Lord, so that many more people may come to be saved through our efforts, and all of us may rejoice together as one people, in the loving presence of our God. Amen.

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