Saturday, 2 June 2018 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Marcellinus and St. Peter, Martyrs (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs) or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard the readings from the Scripture speaking to us about the forgiveness and mercy that came from God, and which has indeed appeared in our midst as the Lord Jesus, Saviour of the world, Who have come to deliver us from our certain death and destruction because of our sins.

However, many of us do not truly believe in what the Lord has done for us, and we have doubted the Lord’s good works and intentions. This is just as how the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law doubted the Lord, by questioning Him on Whose authority He has delivered all the teachings He gave to the people, and they in fact, even doubted the works and teachings of St. John the Baptist, who came before the Lord to prepare His way.

However, they could not answer Him when He asked them whether the works of St. John the Baptist came from God or from merely human invention. That is because in fact, they knew, deep in their hearts and minds, that the works of St. John the Baptist, as well as the works of the Lord Jesus were in fact divine in origin, and is the truth surpassing any human knowledge.

But why were they unable to admit that openly before the people, that what the Lord Jesus said is true? That is because they were unable to resist the temptation of their ego and pride, their arrogance and ambition. They were those who were entrusted with the guardianship of the laws and the customs of the people, but they ended up being overly possessive and jealous of any threats or challenges to their authority and power.

They were swayed by the temptations of power, by the allure of fame and glory, and therefore, they ended up falling into sin. They do not truly have faith in them, because they were so full of themselves that they did not leave a place for God in their hearts and minds. That is why God’s words and truth had no effect on them. Yet, God forgave them all that they had done, at the very end in Calvary, when He forgave all those who rejected and persecuted Him from the cross.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let this be a reminder for each and every one of us, that as Christians, our lives must be centred on God, and we must always keep in mind, everything that God has done for our sake. As long as we put the Lord at the centre of our lives, then our actions, words and everything we do will be filled with faith, and we will draw closer to Him, and we will be able to find our way to His salvation.

On this day, we celebrate the feast of the two saints, St. Marcellinus and St. Peter, who were holy martyrs of the faith. They were martyred at the time of the great persecution under the Roman Emperor Diocletian, when many of the faithful people of God were arrested, tortured, and forced to choose between abandoning their faith in God and live, or to remain faithful and die.

Yet, despite the attempts and persuasions given to them, of riches, wealth, fame, security and well-being under guarantee from the Emperor and the state, St. Marcellinus, St. Peter and many of the other martyrs and saints of their time refused to abandon and betray the Lord to serve their own selfish desires and purposes. They rather chose death in faith than to live in sin and darkness.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, how about us? Are we also going to follow the examples of the holy saints of God? Are we able to give the same commitment to the Lord as they had done before us? Or do we rather choose the path of the Pharisees, all those who place themselves and their selfish desires, ego and pride before the Lord? The choice is in our hands, and we need to make the choice.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore seek to be ever more faithful to God, and turn towards Him wholeheartedly. Let us all be ever more committed through our actions, and show just how much we love the Lord, by obeying Him and doing what He has commanded us to do, that is to love Him with all of our hearts and with all of our strength. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

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