Saturday, 18 April 2020 : Saturday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day all of us as Christians are called to get rid of faithlessness and unbelief from our hearts and minds. We are all called to reflect on what we have heard in our first reading on the faithlessness of the Pharisees and many other members of the Sanhedrin or the Jewish High Council, as well as the lack of faith of the disciples of the Lord Jesus as mentioned in our Gospel passage today, which spoke of how the Lord appeared to His disciples right after His resurrection from the dead.

In our first reading today, we heard of the culmination of the story of the healing of a crippled man at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple of Jerusalem by the Apostles St. Peter and St. John. The two Apostles made many people to believe in the Lord by their miraculous works and by their courageous testimony of faith. They were feared by the Sanhedrin because they apparently invoked the Name of the very same Jesus Whom they thought they had successfully gotten rid of through the crucifixion.

But many of those who were opposed to the Lord and His works remained adamant in their refusal to believe in Him and His teachings despite what they had themselves witnessed and heard, and despite having heard how the Lord Jesus had risen from the dead as He Himself proclaimed and predicted it, something that could not have happened had Jesus not been the real and true Messiah. Yet, those who were opposed to Him refused to open their hearts and minds to believe in the truth and in their hardened state of heart and mind, they were astounded by the miraculous healing.

They even tried to prevent the teachings and efforts of the Lord and His disciples to spread any further, by attempting to contain them through fear and pressure. But the Apostles, encouraged and strengthened by the Lord through the Holy Spirit were no longer the same people who cowered and hid in the fear of the repercussions from the authorities. Instead they openly defied the orders from the Sanhedrin and continued to carry out the missions which God had called them to do and entrusted to them.

In our Gospel passage today then we heard of the disciples of the Lord who did not believe at first that the Lord had risen from the dead, and even when some of them had seen the Lord and shared the news to the other disciples, many among them still refused to believe. It was only when the Lord Himself suddenly appeared before them all that they came to believe in Him and in His resurrection. The Lord reproached His own disciples for their lack of faith in Him and told them to trust Him more.

Now, we may be quick then to criticise those people for having little faith, but before we do so, perhaps we may want to think and reflect of our own lives and actions. Have we not, in our own lives, been doing the same as what they had done? Have we not been disobedient and unfaithful at times, just like those doubters among the Sanhedrin and those disciples of the Lord who refused to believe in His resurrection at first? Certainly we have encountered those moments or times when our faith is being tested and wavered.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the significance of these Scripture passages for us today is that all of us ought to put greater emphasis in our faith in God. As Christians, we are God’s chosen people, all those who have believed in Him and chosen to dedicate ourselves through our Creed in Him. Therefore, we should know what it is that we should have, and essentially, it is faith in God that we need to have, trusting in Him and putting our lives in His hands. We are truly fortunate to have God by our side, and we really need embrace God and His love for each and every one of us.

Being reminded today of the unfaithfulness of men, let us all strive to get rid from ourselves all taints of unfaithfulness, disobedience and sin, and instead begin a renewed life without the corruption of sin. Are we able to do that, brothers and sisters in Christ? Are we able to lead a truly Christ-like existence and life from now on going forward in our respective lives?

May the Lord Jesus Christ, our Risen Lord and Saviour be with us always, and may He strengthen us all in faith and help us to be ever more committed in all and every moments of our daily lives. May the Lord be with us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

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