Thursday, 16 April 2020 : Thursday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we listened to the words of the Scripture on this Thursday of the Easter Octave, all of us are reminded of the mission which the Lord Jesus has entrusted to us, for us all to continue His works and the works of the Apostles, in bearing witness to His truth and to proclaim the salvation of God and the Good News to all peoples of all the nations, through our works and deeds, words and actions.

In our first reading today we heard the continuation of the story of the moment when St. Peter, leading the Apostles and disciples of the Lord, spoke to the multitudes of people gathered in Jerusalem for the festival of the Pentecost. He spoke bravely and passionately of the Lord and the salvation which He has brought to the world through Christ, His Son, and the sacrifice which He has offered on the Cross at Calvary.

By the wisdom given to him through the Holy Spirit, the Apostle St. Peter spoke convincingly to the people by explaining the Scriptures and showing how the Lord Jesus was indeed the Saviour of Whom the prophets and the leaders of Israel had been preaching and prophesying about from the time of Moses to the days of the kings, the prophets and beyond. And by the healing of the crippled man by the Temple Gate, this served to prove that the Lord Jesus is indeed the one and true Messiah.

For the Apostle healed the man by the power of the Lord invoking His Holy Name, by Whom the man was therefore healed. Had the Lord Jesus not been the Messiah of God, or a fraud or false leader as many of the Pharisees and the members of the Jewish High Council always argued, then the crippled man could not have been healed from his ailment. Therefore, many people believed in God that day and gave themselves to be baptised, beginning the first community of Christians.

In our Gospel passage today, we then heard of the time when the Lord Jesus appeared to His disciples for the first time after His Resurrection right after He appeared to the two disciples who were on their way to the town of Emmaus. The Lord appeared before His surprised and frightened disciples, telling all of them not to be worried of what they had seen and witnessed, as it was indeed happening as all that He had been telling them about His upcoming suffering, death and resurrection.

The Lord reassured them all and showed them that it was indeed Him Who appeared to them in the flesh, alive and well, and not as a ghost or as a dead being. That was why He asked them for food to eat, as it was known then that spirits and ghosts do not eat or consume any food. He showed them His wounds to show that He indeed suffered and died, and the crucifixion was all real. And yet, before them, the same One Who suffered on the Cross, was all alive and triumphant, having won the ultimate victory against evil, sin and death.

Having seen and witnessed all of these on a few occasions, it is no wonder that the Lord’s disciples were willing to give it all to the Lord and to the mission that they had been entrusted with, persevering through persecutions and challenges, oppositions and obstacles along their way. And although we ourselves have not seen or witnessed the Risen Lord in person, but surely we believe, inspired by the sacrifices of the numerous faithful and dedicated servants of God who had given their all in the service of the Gospel of truth.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we are therefore reminded and even challenged yet again to follow in the footsteps of the Apostles of the Lord, all those who have dedicated their whole lives to serve God and to commit themselves to speak up for the truth even amidst opposition, persecution and suffering. Are we able to accept our part in the greater works of the Church, embracing our calling as Christians to be witnesses of our Lord in our respective communities?

Let us all listen to the Lord’s call and give our very best, and let us be more attentive to Him, give Him more of our focus and attention from now on. May the Lord strengthen us all and give us the courage and resolve to be faithful in each and every moments of our lives. May God, our Lord and Saviour bless us all, now and always. Amen.

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