Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard from the Sacred Scriptures about St. Paul and about our Lord Jesus Christ, both of whom in the respective Scripture passages, were going to the end of their ministry. At that time, St. Paul had been informed by the Holy Spirit, that he was about to reach the end of his ministry. He was about to be arrested in Jerusalem by the authorities and from then on, proceeded to Rome for the final leg of his journey. All of this had been known to St. Paul, and he was saying his farewells to the elders in Ephesus.
And in the Gospel, Jesus our Lord was thanking His Father through prayer, at the time when He was about to enter into His Passion, the end and last stage of His earthly ministry. He mentioned how He has fulfilled perfectly what He was prophesied to have come for, and had gathered the people whom God had called upon to be His own. Thereafter, He would go on to His Passion, to accomplish perfectly through obedience and suffering, God’s promise of salvation for all mankind.
St. Paul and our Lord Jesus Himself had done a lot for the sake of the people of God, and they had contributed and done such great feats that many souls were saved by their works. They were at the end of their respective missions, and surely they were looking back at what they had done, and indeed, they could be very confident indeed, that whatever they had done, they had done well and they had given all that they could for the sake of the Lord.
They had not done all those things for their own sake though, and they did not do all their works to glorify themselves, unlike what other people would have done. They obeyed the Lord and followed Him, as St. Paul followed the path shown to him by the Lord through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and as Jesus our Lord, the Son of God obeying the will of His heavenly Father, God the Father in heaven.
Through all of these, the examples of these two which the Scriptures today had mentioned, all of us are called to reflect on our own actions in our own respective lives as Christians. Have we, as Christians, been as faithful and devoted as St. Paul had been in his faith? Perhaps we have not done as mighty a deed as what he had done, in numerous situations, where he had to endure persecution, rejection and torture, imprisonment and even death threats. However, are we confident that we are living a true Christian life?
Brothers and sisters in Christ, in order for us to be true Christians in life, we all have to devote ourselves to do what the Lord had commanded us all to do, and not just to be lukewarm or inactive Christians. That means, we have to listen to the Lord, Who had taught us that we have to love Him with all of our heart, with all of our mind and with our entire being, devoting ourselves completely to Him, and then, showing the same kind of love to our fellow men and women, loving them at least in the same way as how we loved ourselves.
This is what all of us as Christians have to do in our respective lives, and one in which I am afraid to say but, in reality, many of us as Christians have not lived up to. We have not been truly faithful in actions and deeds, for in many cases, while we believe in God, many of our actions had not shown such a reality. And in the end, because others see that we do not act in the manner as how we should have acted according to our faith, we caused scandal to the Lord and to our faith in Him.
Let us ask ourselves, how many of us slandered others, bringing hurt and pain through our words, by our lack of empathy and consideration for the feelings of others around us? How many of us have caused others, our neighbours to suffer simply because of our own selfishness in life? How many of us have brought sorrows and sadness upon others because we only think about ourselves? It is all of these things which have prevented us from truly living a good, Christian life.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, listening to the Lord and taking note of the examples He Himself had shown, and which His Apostle, St. Paul had done before us, let us all reflect on all these, and let us have a new resolve in our hearts, that is the new resolve to live our lives faithfully and filled with sincere devotion and commitment, to serve the Lord with all of our hearts, with all of our bodies, minds, and with all of our strength, and do the same to our fellow men and women, showing love, care and concern wherever it is possible.
May the Lord bless us all, all of our works and endeavours, and may He strengthen us in our faith, so that we may draw ever closer to Him and find salvation and true joy in Him, together as one people, blessed by the Lord and His love. Let us do our best so that when the time comes for us to give an account before the Lord, we can confidently show Him what we have done out of faith in Him. Amen.