Monday, 22 April 2019 : Monday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture as we progress through the Octave of Easter, rejoicing together in the Easter joy of Our Lord. And we are constantly being reminded that as Christians filled with the joy of Easter, we are to be role models for one another, and to be the bearers of this same joy in our evangelising mission towards all those who have yet to know of Christ and His salvation.

The Lord has truly risen from the dead, and His resurrection brought about a great new hope for all of His disciples, especially because they were filled with fear by the sudden loss of their Lord and Master in such a humiliating and terrible way. They were fearful of the repercussions from the Jewish authorities, all those who have arrested the Lord and sentenced Him to death, sending Him over to the Romans to be crucified, a punishment reserved to the worst of criminals.

As we heard in the Gospel passage today, there were many who witnessed firsthand the resurrection of the Lord, both at the tomb as we heard in today’s Gospel, as well as in the subsequent apparitions of the Risen Lord to His disciples before He ascended into heaven. Yet, the Sanhedrin or the Council of the elders of the Jewish people bribed the guards who also witnessed the resurrection of the Lord, to tell a false story that the disciples had stolen the Lord’s Body and hid Him in order to cover up the truth.

They opposed the Lord and His disciples such that they put a very harsh opposition and even oppression on all those who taught and preached in the Name of Jesus. They forbade all people from mentioning or teaching in His Name, and all these efforts to eradicate the truth of the Lord made many among the disciples to be fearful. They already fled and were scattered right at the moment when the Lord was arrested, and did not dare to stand by Him at the moments of His distress.

Yet, in the first reading today, we heard the great, courageous and wonderful testimony made by St. Peter the Apostle. This is the same St.

Peter who had denied the Lord three times at the night of His agony and suffering, despite his earlier promise that he would even die for the sake of the Lord. But as we heard, St. Peter has been totally transformed by the Holy Spirit, as he and the other Apostles and disciples of the Lord received the promised Spirit of God at the Pentecost.

We saw how St. Peter spoke openly and plainly on the truth that has happened and which Christ has spoken before them all, even when the Sanhedrin, the chief priests, the Pharisees and the opponents of the Lord threatened to take severe actions against them. In various occasions throughout the Book of the Acts of the Apostles, we can see how those same disciples of the Lord who had once fled in fear, had become courageous servants, who even willingly embraced martyrdom for their faith.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore today, as we continue to progress through the season of Easter, we must remind ourselves that we have to follow the examples and the courage of the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord. We have received the same Holy Spirit as they have received, at the time of our Baptism, and for those among us, who have also received the Sacrament of Confirmation, the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us have been affirmed and strengthened.

And we have been called to continue the same mission which the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord have received, and that is to bring forth the truth of God and to bear witness to Him, Our Risen Lord and Saviour, before the people of various nations and origins, that we may truly show, not only by words, but even more importantly, through our every actions and by the sincerity of our attitudes in life, that each and every one of us may inspire many others to also follow us in our journey towards God.

May the Risen Lord Jesus, Our Saviour be with us always, and may He strengthen in us our faith and dedication to Him, that we may endure more patiently the challenges in our lives and that we may do our very best to live our lives in the most Christian way, so that more may come to believe in God, Our Risen Saviour, through us and our exemplary lives. May God bless us always. Amen.

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