Saturday, 19 May 2018 : 7th Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we enter into the conclusion of the Season of Easter, we also end the readings and discourses from the Acts of the Apostles. We have heard of the many works of the Apostles in ministering to the people of God and in testifying for their faith, saving many souls through their actions and dedication.

In today’s first reading, we heard about the story of St. Paul in Rome, at the last legs of his earthly ministry. St. Paul continued to work and dedicate himself to the faithful in the city of Rome, and spoke to the Jewish community living there. He has done many good works for the Lord’s sake, and even at that time, he still performed one last great work for God, in helping to establish the foundation of the Church at the heart of the Empire in Rome.

In today’s Gospel passage, we heard the Lord’s words to His Apostles, at the time after He had risen from the dead. What we have heard was basically normal human emotions and reaction, for the Apostles themselves were still humans as well. It was the jealousy and rivalry that still existed in their hearts at that time, stemming from the fact that St. John, the youngest one among the Twelve, was the Lord’s favourite.

In fact, St. John, together with St. James, his brother and St. Peter himself, was counted among the three of the closest confidants of the Lord, whom He always brought with Him to the important events of His life, such as the Transfiguration and the moment just before His Passion at the night after the Last Supper. But sometimes, as humans, we may be tempted by power, and by the seduction of glory and praise.

St. John and St. James had their mother to come to the Lord together, asking Him whether they could be granted special position among the Apostles, by conferring on them positions on His left and right when He entered into His kingdom. But the Lord chastised and rebuked them, saying to them, that true discipleship is not about worldly glory and prestige, and not about honour and position, but rather, about dedication and even sacrifice.

Later on, the Apostles themselves would realise this truth, and they no longer sought for worldly glory and honour as they had before. In truth, just as St. Paul had shown us, they were willing to give it all for their service to God. It is what they had to endure for their faith in the Lord Jesus, and they persevered through all those challenges and difficulties with commitment, zeal and love for God and for their fellow men alike.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, now, all of us are called to follow the examples of these holy Apostles and servants of the Lord. We are called to be faithful and to be devoted to Him, in all of our ways and actions. However, as what we may have realised and seen, many of us Christians are not doing what we should have done as expected of us as disciples and followers of the Lord.

Instead, we often bicker among ourselves and are bitterly divided and we are jealous of each other’s achievements and possessions. Why is this so? This is because we are unable to resist the temptation of worldly pleasures, glory, honour, wealth and all sorts of things that Satan and his allies are using in order to distract us and to pull us away from God’s path, and into our downfall.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us resist the temptation for all these transient and impermanent glories, for all those pleasures that do not last forever. Let us all instead seek the true joy and happiness, the satisfaction and eternal glory that we can gain in God alone. And as Christians, we do not need to worry about all of them, as God Who is always with us, will reward us for our faith and commitment to Him.

Let us all therefore, as we come to celebrate the Solemnity of the Pentecost tomorrow, remember that each and every one of us have received the Holy Spirit and His many gifts. Let us remember that all of us ought to make use of these gifts for the greater glory of God, and for the good of our fellow men. May the Lord be with us always, and may He continue to guide us in our path. May God bless us all. Amen.

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