Sunday, 15 April 2018 : Third Sunday of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Sunday, as we continue to progress through the season of Easter, we recall God’s great deeds by which He has brought us from the brink of destruction, into a new life where we are in safe condition under good hands, as God Himself took care of us, His people, and would not let harm to come upon our way.

The Apostle St. Paul, as he visited the faithful in the city of Antioch in Pisidia during his apostolic ministry, encouraged the faithful and the Jewish community living in that city, by relating to them how God had done great deeds for them, beginning with the time of the Exodus, a time when the people of Israel was oppressed and made to suffer great humiliation in the land of Egypt, and God brought them out by His great power, guiding them through the desert, and finally made them to dwell in the Promised Land given to them and promised to their ancestors.

St. Paul preached about the salvation of God, which came into this world, in the person of Jesus Christ, Our Lord. He is God’s only begotten Son, Who has willingly taken up our human existence, that He has dwelled among us and walked among us, entering the history of man. In the Gospel passage today, we heard again of the tale of the resurrected Christ, Who after His resurrection has appeared to His disciples.

In that same Gospel passage, the Lord mentioned that everything that the Laws and the Prophets have mentioned, the promises God had made and everything He had uttered from the beginning of time have to be fulfilled, and indeed, He has fulfilled them all to perfection in Jesus Christ, by His works, and most importantly, by His Passion on the cross, His suffering and death, and His glorious resurrection into life.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, what all of us as Christians need to do today, is that we need to remember how God has done so much in order to save us, and to bring good to all of us. He has bore all of our sins, and all the punishments due for our sins, and all the consequences and the sufferings intended for the shortcomings and mistakes we have committed. He has willingly taken up all these upon Himself, so that, all of us may live and not perish.

Yet, many of us do not realise or appreciate this great love which He has for us. And in reality, many Christians are not aware or appreciative of this great boon which they have all received. For many of us Christians, our faith can even be said as merely a formality, as merely on paper alone, and not one that is truly built upon the solid foundation of love and zeal for God.

For example, how many of us say or think that we believe in God, and yet, in our words, we cause harm to others, or even profane God and His Name? How many of us, by our words and by our actions, we scandalise our Christian faith, and ultimately, the good Name of God? How many of us, because of our words and actions, we make people to shun our Christian faith and refuse to be saved?

Then, how many of us said that we are God’s people, and yet, we barely even have the time to think about Him, and less still, spending quality time with Him? Surely, there are even many among us Christians, who think that coming for the Mass on Sundays, or even for many others, on Christmas and, or Easter alone is enough. And still, for many of us, when we come to the Mass, we cannot wait for the Mass to end, as we cannot wait to continue whatever business we have outside of the church, and go back to our daily habits.

And, even in our churches, in our parishes and in our Christian communities, many of us call ourselves as Christians, and yet, we do not behave as what Christians ought to be. We are jealous when others get something that we do not have, and we squabble over positions in the Church, or for things to go according to our way. When someone else does things in ways different from our own, or not meeting our expectation, we become angry or displeased at that person.

The worst of all, is how we often behave as Christians, in our gossiping and in our slanders, and this is not limited to the laity alone, but even towards our priests. We bicker among ourselves for the most trivial of things, but in all of these, are we not forgetting what we are truly supposed to be doing as Christians? Have we forgotten what it means for us to be followers and disciples of Christ?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, at our baptism, we have made the solemn promise to reject Satan and all of his evil teachings and ways, and we renew this promise every year at Easter. But are we truly meaning what we are saying, brothers and sisters in Christ? Or are we only making empty promises and meaningless words? Our actions and words, our deeds and interaction with one another are often filled with the works of the devil, and sometimes not just that we do not shun them, but in fact we even embrace them.

Hence, from now on, brothers and sisters in Christ, are we able to commit ourselves anew to the Lord? Are we able to really mean what we say, when we promise Him that we are faithful to Him and that we reject Satan and all of his false promises and persuasions? Therefore, let us all seek to be more devoted to the Lord in all of our ways, in all of our words, actions and deeds.

Let us all lead a new life, no longer filled with arrogance, jealousy, slanderous attitudes and hatred, but instead, be filled with love, with compassion and tenderness that God has shown us. If we are Christians, then we are truly obliged to replicate and follow the examples that Christ has set for us. He Himself has loved us when we hated Him, He forgave us when we sinned against Him and wronged Him, He showed us compassion and mercy when we are suffering.

And because God has shown us so much love and been so kind to us, then we, as His people, should be doing the same as well with our lives. Remember, brethren, that the works of the Apostles, in preaching the Good News and testifying their faith in the Lord are still work in progress, and now it is our obligation to continue their works. And the best way that we can take part in these works, is by living a true and genuine Christian life for each and every one of us.

Why is that so? That is because if we ourselves do not act in the way that God has taught us to do, then would that not make us hypocrites? Then, who will believe in hypocrites? No one will. So, if we want others to follow us and be saved, as is our obligation, then we must first be good and faithful Christians in the first place. Let this be our Easter resolution, that from now on, we will try our best to do what God has commanded us to do.

May the Risen Lord be with us always, and may He bless all of our endeavours and works. May He continue to guide us in our path, that we will always be faithful to Him, throughout our whole lives. May all of us do our very best to serve Him, and to dedicate ourselves to Him, from now and unto forevermore. Amen.

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