Monday, 2 April 2018 : Monday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard two testimonies and indeed, two versions of the story of what happened on Easter Sunday from the Scripture passages. From the Acts of the Apostles, we heard from the Apostle, St. Peter, who during Pentecost was testifying before the people about Christ, Who has been crucified for the sake of all mankind, betrayed and put to death by His enemies, and yet risen into glory by His own glorious power.

Meanwhile, in the Gospel passage today, we heard of a different story propagated by the chief priests and the Pharisees, who were surely astounded by the news of the Lord’s resurrection after His death on the cross. Everything had occurred exactly as how He has said it would be, and even the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees might likely have heard about it as well. However, they still refused to believe in Him, to the very end, and chose to come up with a false story to preserve themselves.

They paid off the guards who were at Jesus’ tomb to spread the story that the disciples of the Lord had come at night while the guards were sleeping in order to steal His Body away and hence to make it as if He had risen from the dead. Even though this story was unreliable and untrue, many yet believed in it, as the chief priests and the elders of the people promoted their version of the story, and even persecuted those who believed otherwise.

Nonetheless, St. Peter and the other Apostles and disciples of the Lord spoke up openly about the Lord, empowered by the Holy Spirit, Whom God gave to them at the moment of the Pentecost, when they spoke up with courage, conviction and true faith in God, and converted no less than three thousand people to the cause of the Lord, establishing the first Christian community.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, are we all as Christians aware of the obligations and the duties which the Lord has given to us, just as He entrusted the same to His Apostles and disciples? All of us are called to be witnesses of the Lord’s resurrection and also His truth and Good News as well. However, as we all can see, from what had happened in the time of the Apostles and the early Church, there were numerous challenges and troubles they had to endure, persecutions and martyrdom.

To be a true Christian, we cannot be idle or be passive in our lives. We cannot just think that to be a Christian, all that we need to do is to believe in God and that is all. No, to be a Christian means that we must have a faith that is filled with zeal and true commitment to God. We have to walk righteously and faithfully in God’s presence, and that means, we must have genuine faith in us, founded upon the love that we have for God, as well as for His people, our fellow brothers and sisters.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Easter season, all of us are challenged to live a new life, with a new sense of purpose, and with a renewed faith, zeal and conviction, just as the Apostles had done. The Lord has commanded us all to go forth to all people of all the nations, being witnesses of His truth and Good News, and ultimately to baptise them in the Name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.

Yet, many of the people refused to listen to God, simply because we as Christians ourselves have not been truly faithful to God. On the contrary, there were even some among us who scandalised our faith and the Lord. How can we expect others to believe in God, if we ourselves did not believe in Him wholeheartedly and even acted in ways contrary to that of His ways?

Let us all relive the promises made at our baptism, when we promised to be truly faithful and committed to God, in all of our words, our actions, our dealings and our works. Let us do our very best to be devoted to God in all the things we do. May the Lord be with us always, and may He continue to watch over us and guide us along the way. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

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