Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard the message of the Holy Scriptures speaking to us clearly about what to expect if we are to remain true to the Lord and obedient to His truth. If we are to remain as His disciples and are faithful to Him, we will end up facing difficulties, troubles, and sometimes even persecution and sufferings that our predecessors, the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord had faced.
Yes, that was the reality of life for the many disciples and followers of the Lord, for most of its earliest history. There were many persecutions and challenges against the faithful, and the Church members were struck with tribulations and arrests. The Lord however was ever faithful to His people, never leaving them behind in their time of need.
Indeed, there would be sorrow and pain, suffering and anguish to be suffered by God’s people, as the Lord Himself had mentioned to His disciples. He did warn them beforehand that in order to follow Him, one therefore must be ready to sacrifice and to give their all if they are to obey the Lord and follow Him, for there surely will be those who would persecute them and challenge them in their faith.
But what the Lord offered us is greater than any other promises, for even though the path of His faithful ones will be painful and filled with sufferings, but at the end of it all, God will reward all those who keep their faith in Him with true joy and satisfaction, for the final victory over evil and death will be theirs. They will then avenge their sufferings and pains caused by their enemies and all those who had persecuted them.
The devil on the other hand, is also always offering us an alternative path, one that seems to be easy and less risky, one that seems to be more lucrative and enjoyable as compared to the path of the Lord. These are the temptations which he had placed in our path, hoping that we will take them and therefore fall into the trap of sin, and thus perish in damnation with him.
When times get difficult, and when challenges come on our way, it is easy for us mankind to end up being distracted and be tempted to leave behind our sufferings, and instead seek for the easy way out. That is indeed when we end up walking in the path of darkness instead of walking in the light of God. This is not what we as Christians should do, for we have to be resolute and strong in our faith, resisting those temptations in life.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day let us all heed and learn from the examples of St. Philip Neri, a renowned and holy saint who lived during the time of the Counter Reformation, and who was credited and famous with the founding of the Oratory, in order to carry on and continue the missionary works which he had started. He was known for his labours and works among the sick and the poor, serving the most destitute of the people of God.
St. Philip Neri ministered to many sinners, prostitutes and all those who have been abandoned and rejected by the society. Certainly, all of his works did not entail easy or manageable tasks, and many of them required him to devote most of his time to a life of service, both to God and to His people. He encountered challenges and rejections, where people refused to believe in all that he had said.
And yet, St. Philip Neri persevered through all of them, calling many people to repent from their sins, and indeed, they repented and turned away from those sins towards the Lord. Many souls who had once been condemned to damnation, had been saved by the good works of St. Philip Neri, all because of the fact that St. Philip Neri never gave up on the mission which God had entrusted to him, and he placed his complete trust in the Lord.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us as Christians have to do the same, and following their examples, we should do our best in order to show our love, care and concern for our brethren in need, all of those who have sinned against God, and all those who have been sundered from God’s love. We have our calling, mission and responsibility in order to help our brethren who are still lost to the Lord, that these may find the way to return to our God and His salvation.
May the Lord strengthen our faith, and may He empower us all in order to become ever more faithful in all things, so that we may draw ever closer to God, and find our salvation in His most Holy Name and Presence. May God bless us all. Amen.