Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listened to the works of the Apostles preaching throughout many places in the Eastern Mediterranean region as they preached the Good News of God to the people living in those places. Many people came to believe in God and asked to be baptised as Christians because of the work of the Apostles. However, at the same time, there were plenty of problems as well, because there were also solid opposition against them by the pagans and the Jews alike.
This was foreseen by the Lord Jesus Himself, Who in our today’s Gospel passage told His disciples that they too would be persecuted by the world, by the virtue of being those who followed His way and obeyed His commandments. There were those who have persecuted the Lord, and rejected His message because of their refusal to leave behind the way of sin, and just as they have done such things to the Lord, they would also therefore do the same to the disciples of His as well.
The Lord told His disciples the truth about what it would really mean to be His disciples. If they came to Him seeking worldly glory and power, wealth and influence, or ease of mind and pleasure, then they would be seeking these at the wrong place and occasion. To follow the Lord means that they must instead be prepared to suffer for His sake, and be persecuted just as their Lord and Master had been persecuted.
That was what the Lord told to the people He taught, that in order to become His disciples, they must be ready to pick up their own crosses and follow Him. It is our crosses to bear, to bear the same kind of humiliation, suffering, persecution, prejudice, rejection and opposition as what our Lord Himself has experienced. And besides that, there would also be ample temptations and persuasions through which the devil would try to snatch us from the hands of the Lord.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, now all of us as Christians also have the same obligation as that of the Apostles. We have to pick up our crosses in life and walk in God’s way, as there are still many things that we have to do. There are still many people out there, many souls who are still lost to the Lord. Unless we do something, many of these will end up falling into damnation and eternal suffering in hell.
However, as we have heard and seen, it is indeed not easy to be a faithful disciple of the Lord. There will be lots of temptations and persuasions for us to wander off the good path, and there are plenty of allures of worldly glory, power, wealth, pleasure and all sorts of things which will become obstacles in our way to the Lord. And there had indeed been many of our predecessors who could not bear the pressure or resist the temptations and fall.
Now, we need to see the brave and courageous examples of those who resisted the temptations of the devil, all those Apostles and holy disciples, all the holy saints and martyrs, who in their own respective ways, devoted themselves, heart, mind, body and soul to the Lord. These are the good examples that we need to follow, so that in everything we say and do, we will always do them for the greater glory of God.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, now, let us therefore no longer be passive or ignorant in our faith, and let us no longer be lukewarm in our faith. Let us be courageous to stand up for our faith when necessary, and be proud of who we are, as Christians, as those whom God has chosen from this world, with the hope that more will come to join us, in glorifying God. May the Lord be with us and be with our endeavours, that through us, He may call more and more people to be saved. Amen.