Friday, 26 April 2019 : Friday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the call of the Lord, reminding us of our calling as Christians, to bear witness to Christ’s glorious resurrection and His truth before all the people. The Lord had called all of us just in the same manner as He has called His Apostles and disciples, and we have been called to continue the mission which He has entrusted to them, namely the evangelisation of the whole world.

In the Gospel passage today, we heard of the moment when the Lord Jesus appeared to His disciples at the lake of Galilee, where He had told them to go before He was crucified and died. He appeared before them after they have spent a whole night out in the lake and did not manage to catch anything. Then He asked them to cast out their nets onto the right side of the boat, even though they have not caught anything all night long.

And when they followed the Lord’s commands, they caught so many fishes that the whole boat almost could not contain them all. And St. Peter immediately recognised the Lord for Who He was. And thus, the Lord was reunited with His disciples, and that occasion marked a very symbolic event for the Church, in reminding all of us of what we need to do as Christians who have been called to be witnesses to our faith.

The Apostles who were in the boat represented the Church of God, which also contained all of us, God’s faithful people. And the Church itself is often depicted as a boat, just as our church buildings are built with specification of a ship, with the centre part named as nave, which came from the word navy, that is used in association with ships. And this is also symbolically linked to another occasion in the Gospels, where the disciples in the boat were afraid when their boat was battered by strong winds and waves, and their boat was about to sink.

And the Lord calling on His Apostles to reach out and cast their nets to catch the fish represent His calling and the mission that He entrusted to the Apostles, for them to ‘catch’ the people for whom they have been called to serve as the ‘fishers of men’. And they led the Church in this effort, to bring the people, represented by the many fishes of various types and sizes, into the boat, that is into God’s salvation in His Church.

First of all, all these are reminders for us that, each and every one of us have been called to follow in the footsteps of the Apostles, to continue the good works that they had begun and which they had performed with faith, as well as the good works of their successors in calling many more and more souls to the salvation in God through the Church. It is through God alone that justification and salvation can be gained, and it is our responsibility as Christians, as those who have heard and accepted God’s offer of salvation, to bear witness to it and to bring it forth to our fellow brethren.

That was what St. Peter and St. John had to do in our first reading today, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, as they went up against the whole of the Sanhedrin, or the Jewish high council. St. Peter and St. John testified not only with words, as they preached the truth of Christ and stood up for their faith in God against those who refused to believe in them, but they also showed God’s might and power, as they healed a man born crippled, and showed before all, that they were truly sent by God.

But the Apostles as we can clearly see from what had happened to them, and if we read on through the rest of the Acts of the Apostles and the traditions of the Church, with the story of countless martyrs and all those who have suffered for the Lord’s sake showed us, each and every one of us as Christians must also be aware that for us to follow the Lord faithfully and devoutly may mean that we will end up in conflict against those who did not believe in Him.

Yet, this does not mean that we should give up our faith, or for us to be lukewarm and indifferent to our faith. For those who are indifferent and lukewarm in their faith will not receive justification in God, as they did not follow what the Apostles had done, in courageously living up to their faith in their daily living, and in bringing forth God’s truth by their own exemplary lives and examples. Rather, all of us are called to imitate their good examples, their faithful lives and commitment in our own respective lives.

May the Lord, our loving God, continue to guide us through our own lives’ journey, that each and every one of us will be more faithful and be more courageous like the Apostles, in their exemplary lives and in their commitment to serve the Lord and to be the bearers of His truth. Let us all be the source of light and salvation, by the works that God had done through us, to our fellow brethren, all those especially, who are still living in the darkness of sin. May God bless us all and our endeavours. Amen.

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