Tuesday, 21 April 2020 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Anselm, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard of the salvation which God has bestowed upon us all through Christ, His beloved Son, by which all of us have been delivered from the precipice of destruction and death. That is what we have heard in our readings today, as we learn how we ought to love as Christians, living in grace and filled with the love of Christ in all things, as how the first Christians lived.

In our first reading today we heard from the Acts of the Apostles on the lives of the first Christians, on how they cared for one another, being very generous with their care and love, their sharing of God’s blessings with one another that no one were left out. They lived in the state of a wonderful bliss and grace, filled with the Holy Spirit, as people who have been reborn anew in God through the Spirit, exactly what the Lord had said to Nicodemus during their meeting.

The Lord had told Nicodemus that everyone who believe in Him ought to be reborn again in the Spirit, and this referred to the Baptism that we have all received at the time when we received that Sacrament, whether as infants or as adult converts. And through Baptism, all of us have been made sharers in the Lord’s Passion, suffering, death and resurrection. We have become sharers in His death, as we die to our sins and wickedness united to the Cross of Christ, by which He bore all of our sins and died for us, and then we are united in His resurrection into new life.

Yes, and this is how we enter into this new life and existence in God, a new life filled with love and the grace of God, an existence in the Holy Spirit of God. And we are also reminded how the Lord has also called us to reflect on the salvation which He has given to us, this new hope we have received through His Sacrifice on the Cross. The Lord Jesus revealed to Nicodemus how He Himself would do as how Moses lifted up the bronze serpent to save many of the Israelites who rebelled against God, and He Himself was lifted up on the Cross for all to us.

All of us, who have rebelled against God and therefore fallen into sin, are just like those Israelites who suffered and were about to perish from the folly of their actions, their rebellious attitudes, and the Lord had mercy and took pity on all of them. When Moses interceded on behalf of the people and crafted the bronze serpent that all who saw the bronze serpent would not die but live, it was a prefigurement of what the Lord Himself would be doing for the fulfilment of His promised salvation.

This time, it was the Lord Himself Who interceded on our behalf, as our High Priest, lifting Himself up on the Cross, offering His own Precious Body and Blood as a worthy sacrifice, the slaughtering of the Paschal Lamb for the atonement of our sins. He has done all these because of His everlasting, ever-enduring and most magnificent love for us all, that even when we have sinned against Him and wronged Him on so many occasions, He is still patient for us, waiting for us to return to Him and to be reconciled with Him.

He has given us all a new lease of life, giving us a new hope of life and a new existence through Him. He has called us all to embrace His mercy and forgiveness, to be cleansed from the many corruptions of our sins and to walk once again in His grace and in His path. As Christians, are we then willing and able to commit ourselves to walk with God down this new path in life? Are we able to endure the challenges and trials that we may encounter along this journey of faith?

Now, all of us are living in a particularly difficult time in our lives with so many troubles besetting many of us and our communities in this year alone. This is why perhaps it is time for us to be those beacons of hope and the light for others to brighten their lives and light their way out of the darkness. Are we willing and able to bring hope to our fellow brothers and sisters around us, especially to those who are in need of hope, in need of love, care, attention and some compassion? Let us look at the example set by our predecessors in faith for inspiration.

Today, we also celebrate the feast of St. Anselm, one of our holy predecessors, who was a renowned bishop and a Doctor of the Church. St. Anselm was remembered especially for his role as the Archbishop of Canterbury and therefore the Primate of England, originally a monk and abbot who laboured hard throughout Christendom in reforming the Church and the faith, and was then entrusted with the role of the leader of the Church in England by its king.

St. Anselm devoted himself to his office and calling, leading a virtuous and upright life, and showed exemplary faith throughout his years in ministry, and had to go up against even the opposition from the king and his enemies, that in fact he had to endure exile twice from his See. St. Anselm devoted himself and his life to reforming the corrupt practices of the government and the Church at his time regardless, giving his trust fully in God and bringing His love and compassion to all of his flock.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all embrace God’s love and compassion fully as St. Anselm had once done, and pass that same love and share them to one another. May the Lord be our guide and help us in our journey of faith, that we may always be faithful in walking down the path that God has set before us. May the Lord give us the strength and the courage to persevere through the various trials and difficulties we may have to face along this journey. Amen.

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