Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture, speaking to us about the reality of what we are to expect in becoming one of the followers of Christ, as Christians. That is what the Lord presented before His disciples in the Gospel passage we heard today, on how there would be persecutions and trials awaiting those who are faithful to God.
The Lord presented this fact to the disciples, that they should expect to suffer for the sake of His Name, when they would have to endure all sorts of ridicule, rejection and oppression just as the Lord has suffered at the hands of all those who refused to believe in Him. He revealed to them in advance what many of them would suffer as Christians, as what was made evident by the great persecutions in the first few centuries of the Church.
First the Jewish authorities, the Sanhedrin and the chief priests hunted the Christian faithful in Jerusalem, Judea and beyond, and Saul, who would later become a Christian himself as St. Paul, hunted and persecuted Christians harshly before his conversion. And this scattered many of the early Christians to the various places around the world, where they would still encounter persecution and challenges from those Jews who refused to believe in God, and in addition, from the Romans, Greeks and the Persians.
Through the many centuries since the birth of the Church, persecutions have been staple for Christians, throughout time and age. When one persecution ended, another persecution would rise in its place, and the faithful were often forced even to choose between remaining faithful to God and suffer, or to abandon their faith and receive plenty of worldly rewards and pleasures of life.
We have seen these persecutions in the recent centuries and decades, and even to this very day. Many people had to suffer indignations, injustice and pain, suffering and wicked deeds, just because they were Christians, believeing in God and following His ways. And there were many of those who sought to obliterate the Church and eliminate the faithful and all the truths and the teachings of Christ.
Yet, all of these eventually came to no avail, as despite the persecutions, in fact the Church continues to grow, to this very day. The words and sayings that ‘the blood of martyrs is the seeds of Christians’ indeed ring true in this case, as all those who have suffered and been persecuted for their faith in turn, became sources of great inspiration and hope for all those who follow after them, including that of all of us.
And all of these were because of the great faith that the people of God and the faithful had in the Lord, which overcame the fear and the doubt in their hearts and minds, and the promise of everlasting glory and true happiness with God, as we heard in our first reading today from the Book of the Revelations of St. John. St. John saw how at the end of time, God will send His Angels to bring forth destruction on all the wicked and all those who refused to believe in Him, but those who believe in Him, He will raise up and glorify.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us reflect on our own lives. Have we been truly faithful to God and been faithful to Him despite the challenges and persecutions that we are facing daily in our lives? We are called to be bearers and witnesses of God’s truth, but have we been truly faithful to God in our actions? Have our words, actions and deeds make and inspire others to be more faithful or have they instead caused others to distance themselves from God and His Church?
Let us all turn ourselves to God, and renew our commitment to love and serve Him from now on, each and every days of our life. May the Lord be with us and may He continue to love us always and give us the strength and courage to persevere in faith in Him. May God bless us all in all of our endeavours, now and forevermore. Amen.