Thursday, 7 May 2020 : 4th Week of Easter (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 we have been reminded to follow the Lord and obey His ways and teachings, walking in the path of truth that He has shown to us all. We have all been given this wonderful truth and shown the most marvellous love of God through Christ, Our Lord and Saviour, by Whom we have been saved and by Whom we have been given the assurance of our salvation and eternal life.

In our first reading we heard of the powerful testimony of faith made by St. Paul as he visited the Jewish community in the city of Antioch in Pisidia in Asia Minor, one of the numerous Jewish communities established after hundreds of years of spreading of the Jewish communities throughout many parts of the Mediterranean. As a renowned young Pharisee in his younger years and born in Tarsus in Asia Minor, St. Paul was certainly known to many in the Jewish diaspora communities, and even after his conversion to the Christian faith, he must have certainly still retained some of that renown and respect.

That was why in that occasion, the Jews there in Antioch in Pisidia welcomed St. Paul and even asked him if he had any words of encouragement for them, in which then St. Paul spoke of the coming of the one true Messiah of God, namely Jesus Christ in Whose Name he has been preaching and travelling around all those while. St. Paul began by reminding the people there of God’s story of salvation, and how He had always guided His people from the time of Moses and beyond.

St. Paul told the people of God in Antioch in Pisidia who at that time were still waiting for the coming of the Messiah of God, promised to come to save the people and restore Israel, that the Messiah had in truth already come, in the person of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of all. As Jesus and His disciples only restricted their ministries and works within the lands of Judea, Samaria and Galilee, and only after His resurrection and Ascension that the disciples were sent out to the other parts of the world, it was not surprising that many might not have known about Christ yet, even within the Jewish diaspora communities.

St. Paul spoke of the fulfilment of God’s revelations and promises given through His servants and prophets, the promises He made to David, His servant and others, the promises He had given to the people of Israel and Judah in their times of distress. And these must have been very uplifting and been awaited for by all those people who were in distress, having to endure the wait for the coming of the Messiah and for also knowing the recent not so pleasant history of what the Jewish people had to undergo.

Therefore, all of us are also reminded that we have also received the same message of truth and encouragement from the Lord through our faith. We believe that through Christ, everything is possible and that we will never be disappointed if we trust ourselves and our lives in the Lord’s care. Now, let us all look around us and see how during these difficult days, whether we can be like that of St. Paul in how he encouraged the Jewish community in Antioch in Pisidia with his words of encouragement.

We live during these difficult weeks and months, when so many all around the world are suffering from the effects of the global pandemic. Many people have died from the pandemic, and many have lost their loved ones. Parents have lost children, children have lost their parents and elders, and others have lost relatives and loved ones to this disease. And there are also yet still many other troubles that the world has been currently facing in our various communities, all the troubles with our economy and our employments.

Many people have lost their jobs or were forced to take significant pay cuts and reduction in their allowances. Many people do not even know if they can still sustain their current employment and livelihood to the next day, and some are worried that they may not even live and survive to see the next week or the next month, less still the next year. Many people have been suffering mentally as they have to remain isolated and work from home among others, taking care of their families while struggling to cope with feeding them and sustaining their work.

Are we able to bring to all of our fellow brothers and sisters, this hope that we have received from the Lord? Are we able to bring God’s light into this darkened world and awaken hope once again in the hearts of many? In order to do this, we need to embody this hope within our own beliefs, our every words, actions and deeds. How can others believe in us if we ourselves have not been wholehearted in believing that we have this sure hope in God?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as Pope St. John Paul II once famously said, that we are all Easter people and Alleluia is our song! This reminds us that no matter what, no darkness can ever overcome or last against the true light of Christ. God has triumphed against sin, death and darkness itself, and no matter how difficult our current situation and our world outlook these days may be, there will always be hope for us as long as we put our faith and trust in God.

May the Lord continue to bless us all and guide us in our journey, and may He empower us all with the courage and strength to carry out living our lives from now on with faith. May God be with us always, and protect us all from the dangers of the evil ones. Amen.

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