Saturday, 27 May 2017 : 6th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Augustine of Canterbury, Bishop (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, as we approach the seventh Sunday of the season of Easter, which is also the World Communication Sunday, we speak about the preaching of the Apostles to the people across the Mediterranean, throughout the many cities and towns, spreading the faith in Jesus to all the peoples, by the means of preaching and teaching.

It was by communicating that the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord had become witnesses to His truth and resurrection, to all that He had revealed to them, and to all that He had done for the sake of the whole race of mankind. These faithful servants went forth and told the people who have not yet heard of God’s salvation, and therefore allowing more and more people to come to believe in the Lord and His truth.

They courageously went forth to distant lands, to the places where no one had yet known the Lord and His love, those who were still living in darkness and ignorance, all those who were still living in a state of sin. Without the courage of these Apostles, who taught and preached with zeal, many more souls would have been lost to the Lord, into the damnation in hell.

And that was what the saint whose feast day we celebrate today, had done by devoting his entire life, in order to avoid such a fate for those who have remained in ignorance of the Lord. St. Augustine of Canterbury, the founder of the Church and its architect in the lands of the Anglo-Saxons, now known as England, set forth from Rome, under the orders of the Pope at that time, Pope St. Gregory the Great, going away from his homeland, in order to be a missionary to the people who have not yet received proper guidance in the faith.

At the time, the collapse of the Roman Empire authority in Britain has left the Christian faith over there to fall into decline, as the pagan barbarians invaded, and disestablished much of the foundations of the Church in that area, which had not been strong and extensive to begin with. As a result, St. Augustine of Canterbury went to a region mostly filled with ignorance and lacking in faith in the Lord.

Nonetheless, St. Augustine of Canterbury persevered through the difficult times, and despite the challenges he faced, including opposition from the pagans and the enemies of the Church. St. Augustine of Canterbury patiently preached to the people, calling them to accept the truths as the Lord had revealed to His Church, and therefore for them to accept Him as their Lord and Saviour.

Gradually, St. Augustine of Canterbury managed to reestablish the Church in England, establishing his diocese in Canterbury, and at the same time building crucial infrastructure and foundation for the Church in that region, which eventually flourished and many people came to end up converting to the Christian faith. This is what he had done, for the sake of the Lord and for His people, all of the hard work he had done.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, all of us are called to reflect on the actions of St. Augustine of Canterbury, as well as the works of the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord, all of whom had devoted much of their life’s work and energy in order to advance the cause of the Lord, and bring more and more souls back to the Lord’s loving embrace.

All of us should follow their examples, and learn to do the same with our lives. All of us should devote our time and effort to accomplish what the Lord had commanded His Apostles and disciples to do, and which therefore had become the same command that all of us need to obey as well. This is what we need to do, in order to fulfil what the Lord had wanted us to do.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all come ever closer to the Lord, and be ever more committed to Him. May He bless us all and give us the strength to persevere in this life, filled with ever more zeal and love for Him. May God be with us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

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