Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, all of us are called to reflect on our lives and our actions, whether we have led a true Christian life, especially as we heard from the first reading passage today, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, how the first Christian communities lived their lives. In that account, we heard how they cared for each other and loved one another tenderly, with true charity and generosity.
They had no need to worry or be concerned, for they shared what they possessed with one another and lived with virtue, and no one was ever hungry or in need. Those who had more would share what they had excess with those who had less, and everyone therefore had enough to sustain themselves. They would also offer part of their possessions and incomes to the Apostles, who would then distribute them according to what the people needed.
And that was how the first Christian communities lived. They followed the examples of the Lord, their God and Master, Who had shown them the example of perfect, unblemished love that surpassed any other forms of love, by His own example, the love He showed from the cross, by which we have been saved. That was what He mentioned to the Pharisee, Nicodemus, as we heard in our Gospel passage today.
Jesus mentioned to Nicodemus, the truth about Himself, as the One sent by God because He loved us all so much, that He gave us all His own beloved Son, so that through Him, all of us may not perish, but instead have eternal life. And He mentioned to Nicodemus a premonition of how He would exactly do it, by telling him about the comparison with the bronze serpent of Moses.
The story of the bronze serpent of Moses was that at the time when the people of Israel went through the desert during their Exodus from Egypt, they rebelled and sinned against God. As a result of their sins, God sent fiery serpents after the people, and those serpents bit many among the people of Israel and as a result, those who were bitten, they perished in the desert.
The people have sinned greatly against God, and they deserved to be crushed and destroyed for their disobedience. But God heard their pleas for mercy and cries for help. Thus, He informed Moses to craft a bronze serpent and place it on a pole that it might be raised up high before the people. Those who were bitten and saw the bronze serpent were healed and did not perish.
The Lord Jesus compared Himself, the Son of Man, with the bronze serpent of Moses. He said that just as the bronze serpent was raised up high, so was the Son of Man to be raised up high before all, on the cross at Calvary. Through that act of perfect and selfless love, He has redeemed us from our sins, that by gathering to Himself all of our sins, the sting of Satan’s works, and all of the corruption and wickedness that had been with us and in us, He brought us all a new hope of a new life.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, it was this selfless and perfect love which the Lord Jesus had shown us all His disciples, that has led to many of His followers to imitate and to emulate Him, in the living of their own lives and in their actions, just as the early Christian communities had done. Unfortunately, many of us have forgotten to do this, and we have instead been tempted and persuaded by the devil to walk away from God and from the path He has shown us.
We have been tempted to be selfish in our actions, in seeking to satisfy our own personal desires and attain personal glories and achievements first. But this is not what all of us as Christians should be doing. Let us all realise this truth, and turn away from all the selfish and wicked acts we have been doing thus far. Let us instead follow the example of our holy and devout predecessors, loving one another and caring for those who are in need, and therefore, be worthy people of God.
May the Lord be with us always, and may He empower us to live faithfully and walk with zeal in the path He has shown us. May He bless us all and all of our endeavours, now and always. Amen.