Saturday, 14 April 2018 : 2nd Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we continue to follow through the story of the Apostles and the first years of the Church, as we heard from the Book of the Acts of the Apostles, about the time when it was decided that seven men would be chosen as deacons, to serve the growing needs of the then rapidly growing numbers of Christians, as more and more people chose to turn towards the Lord.

The deacons were instituted as an order of consecrated men within the Church, with the intention of assisting the Apostles and their successors in the administration of the Church, taking care of the worldly affairs such as the distribution of goods and taking care of the poor and the needy, so that the Apostles and their successors, the priests and the bishops can focus on their primary mission to care for the souls of the faithful and for the salvation of all peoples.

And the deacons did not have it easy, and challenges immediately faced them right away. Most prominently, in the later part of the Book of the Acts of the Apostles, we saw how the most well-known of the seven deacons, St. Stephen, was assaulted by the enemies of the Lord, and as he stood by his faith with a very eloquent defence of God by the courage and wisdom given to him by the Holy Spirit, he was martyred by stoning.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us then look at our Gospel passage today, in which we heard about the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord, who were in the middle of the lake of Galilee, stranded in a boat battered by heavy winds and storms. The disciples were afraid as the waters were rough and they were concerned that their boat would sink and then they would all perish.

But the Lord Jesus appeared before them on the waters, and the disciples were again afraid, as they thought that they had seen a ghost. He calmed them down and reassured them that He was their Lord and their Master. In another account from the other Gospels, the Lord calmed the seas before them, and the waves and the wind died down, and everything was calm once again.

In all these, we see a very meaningful symbolism linking what we have heard from our Acts of the Apostles passage and the Gospel passage. The boat and the disciples represent the Church of God as together we embark through this journey of life in this world. The storms and the waves represent the challenges and troubles, the oppositions and difficulties we will encounter as those who are faithful to Christ’s ways.

But we should not be fearful or be paralysed by fear, as each and every one of us have also received the Holy Spirit by the virtue of our baptism, and then by the laying of the hands when we receive the sacrament of Confirmation, just as the Apostles laid their hands on the seven men chosen as deacons. And therefore, just as these holy men received strength and encouragement from God, we too share the same gift that they had.

Now, what we all need to do is that we need to continue their hard work and persevere in the challenges we are likely to face as those who are faithful to God. Let us all seek to be wholeheartedly committed to God, and let us all strive to do our very best day after day. May the Lord be with us all, and may He empower us and continue to guide us in our journey of faith. Amen.

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