Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listened to the story of the works of the Apostles, who went about from places to places, as exemplified by St. Philip, who went to the northern region of Samaria to preach to the people living there about the Lord Jesus Christ and His truth. The Church was still growing rapidly at that time, and more and more people came to believe in God, despite, at the same time, a vigorous persecution was launched against them by Saul, a fanatical Pharisee who was zealously and firmly against Jesus and His teachings.
The Apostles and the disciples of the Lord faced a great persecution and opposition from many of the Pharisees, and from many members of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish High Council, many of whose members had once also opposed the Lord Jesus. Nonetheless, despite the challenges they encountered, and all the obstacles they had to go through, if we read on throughout the Acts of the Apostles, we will realise just how devoted they were to the mission entrusted to them.
But why, brothers and sisters in Christ? Why did the followers of the Lord as described in the Acts of the Apostles and in the letters that St. Paul and the other Apostles wrote had been so brave and courageous in their faith, and in how they stood up for their faith? What gave them such a great encouragement and energy, the strength and power to carry out such a mission?
The answer can be found in our Gospel passage today, in the truth which the Lord Jesus revealed to the people in one of His teachings. He said that He is the Bread of Life Who has come down from heaven, and not like any earthly bread or even the bread of manna with which the Lord fed the Israelites in the past, but the true Food and sustenance for all of us, God’s beloved people.
He gave all of those who believe in Him, His own Body and His own Blood, to be our sustenance, that all of those who share in His Body and Blood will never be in want ever again, and they will be truly satisfied and joyful, for the Lord Himself dwells in them and is with them. The Lord has given us everything, and He has given us all His love, poured down from the cross, a perfect and selfless love by which He cared for each and every one of us.
And as He said, those who eat and drink of the Body and Blood He gave, worthily and with faith, He will save and they will not perish. This is a good reminder for us all, especially when it is at a time when we realise what will happen to us should we choose to commit ourselves to the Lord in the same way, just as the Apostles and the followers of the Lord had done. The challenges and the tribulations they had to face were numerous, and so will ours be.
But those who place their trust in the Lord will not be disappointed, and those who worthily welcomed the Lord into their lives will have God on their side at all times. He will never abandon them, and they can be assured of His continued support. Those who put their trust in the world and in worldly things are those who are unable to look further beyond their immediate concerns and desires, and hence, they chose poorly for the wrong decision in life.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore, shall we all devote ourselves anew to the Lord, that we do our very best, to spend more and more time with the Lord, and to draw closer to Him? Let us all reorientate our lives, our focus and our attention, that while once we might have been lukewarm in our faith, now we live a renewed existence in God, with a new zeal and with a new conviction, to stand up for our faith just as the Apostles had once done.
May the Lord be with us always, and may He strengthen in us our faith, that we may always persevere despite the challenges we may encounter in life, and regardless of the temptations to abandon the Lord, Our loving God. May God bless us all. Amen.