Thursday, 9 May 2019 : 3rd Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Lord in the Scriptures in which we heard what happened between St. Philip the Apostle and an Ethiopian official on his way back to his country. St. Philip heard the official reading from the Book of the prophet Isaiah, which happened to be the part referring to the work and suffering of the Lord Jesus, His death and resurrection into glory.

St. Philip spoke to the official and explained to him the truth of what had happened just recently then, which fulfilled what the prophet Isaiah prophesied about the Saviour. St. Philip explained that the Saviour was in fact Jesus, Who had come into the world bearing the truth of God and His salvation, which He has promised to us all since the beginning of time, and which He has renewed again and again through the prophets and messengers He sent ahead of Himself.

And of this, St. Philip could speak of his own experience, as explained in our Gospel passage today. St. Philip has heard for himself the testimony and saw the actions that Christ had done, in revealing Himself as the Bread of Life, the Lamb of God and as the Saviour of the whole world. In our Gospel passage today we heard the Lord Jesus made it very clear as He taught the people about Who He really is, and what He would indeed come to do in order to bring all of God’s plans to fulfilment.

The official read about the suffering and death of the faithful servant of God, the Saviour of all, of Whom St. Philip himself witnessed during the time of the Lord’s suffering and agony, from the moment when He was arrested at the Gardens of Gethsemane, to the moment when He was condemned to death and forced to carry the burden of the Cross, a burden which He willingly took up upon Himself, as He ascended the Altar of His sacrifice, as the perfect offering, the Lamb of God, to be slain at that Altar.

St. Philip and the disciples of the Lord probably witnessed everything, or at least they must have heard from those who were specifically mentioned to have been at the place of the crucifixion. The Lord Himself offered His own Precious Body and His own Precious Blood from the Cross, as both the High Priest Who offers the sacrifice, and as the Sacrifice Himself, the Paschal Lamb we celebrate this Easter, the One Who has brought salvation on all of us.

Through His crucifixion, the Lord unites us all to His death by sharing in His Body and in His Blood, for at the moment of the consecration in each and every celebration of the Holy Mass, from the greatest of churches to the simplest of chapels and holy places, as long as it is done validly and appropriately by the ordained priests of God in His Church, the same sacrifice at Calvary is brought into the present through the authority Christ had given to His priests.

Therefore, St. Philip testified before the Ethiopian official, essentially the very action that God Himself had taken, in order to bring us all into salvation, the salvation and eternal life which He has prepared and intended for us. We have been united to His suffering and death, so that just as He died for our sins, we too may leave behind those sins and our wicked life, and embrace together, the glorious resurrection and triumph over sin and death that Our God has won for us.

All of us are reminded therefore, of the most important tenets of our faith, and why we choose to believe in the Lord, our loving God, Who has given everything for us, even offering and sacrificing His own life for our sake. The Apostles like St. Philip and many others have stood for their faith, did what they could to bring the Good News and the truth of God to the many nations and peoples, including what was done in today’s first reading.

The Ethiopian official came to believe in the Lord because of the testimony of faith made by St. Philip. Are we able to do the same in our own lives? Are we able to proclaim the Lord’s truth and glory before others? And most importantly, do our lives reflect our faith, commitment and dedication in serving God? If we do not show our faith through our exemplary lives, how can we convince others to believe in Him?

Let us all reflect on these, and really spend some time to think of how we can make ourselves ever more attuned and be closer to God, through all of our actions in life. May God continue to guide us on our way, and strengthen us always in our faith. Amen.

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