Monday, 31 December 2018 : Seventh Day within Octave of Christmas, Memorial of Pope St. Silvester I, Pope (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, we are all reminded to keep the truth of Christ in our lives, to follow the path that God has shown us all as Christians, and not to believe in the falsehoods of the devil, the false prophets and all those who seek to mislead us into sin and destruction. In this season and time of Christmas, we ought to continue to reflect on what our faith is truly all about.

In the Gospel passage today, we listened to the beginning portion of the Holy Gospel according to St. John, we heard the same reading that is read during the Mass of Christmas Day, the narrative of the Word of God made Flesh, the Divine Word Incarnate, which used to be read at the end of the celebration of the Holy Mass as the Last Gospel. In that passage we heard how God sent His own beloved Son into the world, to be the Light of the world, and the salvation of all His people.

And through Him, we have received the fullness of truth, which He revealed to all of us, through His teachings and through the Holy Spirit, that gave us all the wisdom and understanding of what it means to become a follower of Christ, to be saved from our sins and from our fated destruction. In Him was revealed the fullness of God’s love for each and every one of us, by His own willingness to suffer and die for us on the cross, for our salvation.

The devil knows this well, and he knows that his fate and final defeat has been sealed, when the Lord conquered sin and death, by His own suffering and death on the cross, and by defeating death through the glorious resurrection from the dead. He showed all of us, that death does not have any more power over us, as long as we believe in Him, and put our trust and faith in Him, abandoning our old ways of sin and disobedience.

This is why the devil and his allies are always very busy at work, trying to subvert us and to turn us into the traps of sin that they had put into place in order to make us fall into eternal damnation together with him and his allies, the fallen angels, the demons. The devil does not want us to be saved, and this is why, he is placing in our path, many obstacles and temptations, in order to prevent us from receiving God’s saving grace.

He showed us path that is easier and more enjoyable and better than the Lord’s path, tempting us to follow him and to obey him instead of the path of the Lord. That is how we mankind fall into sin, when we allow the devil to tempt us and to turn us away from God. He is using the ego and pride, the greed and desire within our hearts and minds, to make us lose our way.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are all reminded by the Lord that we ought to rediscover that love which we should have for God, because after all, despite having disobeyed and sinned against Him, but He is still willing to forgive us our sins and to be reconciled with us, as long as we are willing to turn away from those sinful and wicked ways, and return to Him with sincere and repentant hearts.

We need to realise that the path that the Lord has shown us, although it may be filled with challenges and difficulties, but that is the path that will lead us to eternal life and true joy, and not the falsehoods presented by the devil and all of his wicked schemes. We must be careful not to be swayed and tempted by all of his schemes to make us fall into damnation, and as we approach the end of this current year, do we want to continue the next year with the same attitude in life?

Today we should make the resolution for our upcoming new year, with zeal and renewed faith in God, by seeking to turn away from our past mistakes, disobedience and all things that led to sin. We should look forward to a new life and existence in God, with the desire to serve Him and to love Him with all of out hearts and with all of our strength. Today, we celebrate the feast of Pope St. Silvester I, a holy and devout servant of God, during the years immediately after the toleration and liberation of the Christian faith from the harsh persecution under the early Roman Emperors.

Pope St. Silvester I did many work in establishing a stable foundation for the Church in those years, building many important churches and facilities, some of which are still present to this very day. He helped began a new chapter in the history of the Church, and he was also influential in the maintenance and expansion of the true, Orthodox faith in the midst of growing number of heresies and falsehoods that were widespread in the Church.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we should imitate the same zeal and courage, the commitment that Pope St. Silvester I had shown in embracing the enormous prospects that awaited the Church at that time, and we too should make use of the opportunity given to us by the Lord, in the coming year. Let us all devote ourselves and be faithful from now on, doing our very best to walk in the way of the Lord and love Him, each and every days of our life. Amen.

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