Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, we listened to the Scriptures which spoke to us about the promise of the Holy Spirit, which was made by the Lord Jesus to His disciples, as He promised them that while He was unable to be physically with them for much longer after He had died and risen from the dead, but the Holy Spirit from God would come upon them and be their Guide.
And indeed, the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles and the disciples, as tongues of flame that descended from heaven, on the occasion of the Pentecost. It inflamed their hearts with courage and zeal, and they henceforth proclaimed the Word of God and His truth with courage, as exemplified in today’s first reading, when St. Paul the Apostle went to preach in the bastion of Greek paganism, Athens itself, before the assembled people and philosophers at the Acropolis.
He preached passionately, with the wisdom and strength of the Holy Spirit, and spoke before the pagans who worshipped idols made of wood and stone, and worshipping aspects of nature, of the folly of their actions and ideals, and the meaninglessness of their faith, as clearly, even though the created things are wondrous and great to behold, and even mighty, far mightier and greater still is the One Who had created all of them, that is God.
It must have taken a lot of courage and strength, for St. Paul to speak in such a manner in the midst of many others who have not yet heard about God, and whose livelihood and beliefs have been strongly entrenched for centuries, in their pagan worship and beliefs. Nonetheless, St. Paul spoke with such wisdom and faith, that there quite a few among those who listened to him, who were stirred in their hearts and minds.
There were of course those who refused to listen to St. Paul and ridiculed him, and in the end, they caused quite some troubles for him and the other followers of Christ. But all these obstacles did not deter the faithful servant of God from doing his best in trying to do as the Lord had commanded him to do, and entrusting himself to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, he became the beacon of the Light of God, revealing His truth to the nations.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we listened to the Scripture readings and reflect on their importance and meaning, let us all understand them in the light of what we are going to celebrate tomorrow and in a few days to come. Tomorrow marks the occasion of the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, which reminds us of the moment when Christ ascended in His glory to heaven, just as He said He would, and in a few days’ time, we will celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost Sunday, when the Holy Spirit came down on the disciples of the Lord.
All of us as Christians are therefore reminded, that to each and every one of us, God has given us the same Holy Spirit, as He had given to St. Paul and the other Apostles and disciples of His. Thus even though the Lord no longer physically walks in our midst as He once did, but He is always with us, as the Holy Spirit is in our midst guiding us and showing us the way to go.
But are we able to make good use of the gifts which He has given us? To all of us have been given gifts and talents, abilities and blessings from God, each one of us with our own strengths and abilities. Have we been using these to serve the greater glory and purpose of God? Or have we squandered them for personal desires and cravings of worldly matters?
Brothers and sisters in Christ, are we able to commit ourselves in the same manner as that of St. Paul and the other Apostles of the Lord? Are we able to devote ourselves to the mission which the Lord has given us? Yes, we have a mission, that is to be the witnesses of Christ and His truth, to all people of all the nations. But how should we do this?
We should begin with ourselves, with the transformation of our lives to be more attuned to the Lord and His ways. In our actions and deeds, we should really embody our faith in Him, and show our faith by loving God with all of our hearts, and loving one another, with sincerity and true love. With these, all those who see us will come to know God, through us and our actions, and come to believe in God.
May the Lord be with us all, just as He had been with His Apostle, St. Paul and the many other holy saints and martyrs. May He continue to guide us and strengthen us, that we may continue to walk down this path of obedience to His will. May God bless us all and all of our endeavours. Amen.