Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scripture, we are reminded that we all are the sheep of the Lord, the members of His flock, and we are constantly guided and protected by Him, as our Lord and most loving Shepherd, the Good Shepherd of all. He extends His love and compassion, His mercy and grace to all those whom He loves. He wants each and every one of us to be truly beloved and filled with grace, and He is always with us no matter what, journeying with us and remaining with us.
In our first reading today we heard from the Acts of the Apostles on how the Church in its earliest days faced a lot of challenges, persecution and opposition from the authorities, and how they faced those obstacles frequently, and yet, the Church grew and flourished, gaining converts and new followers each day, as the Apostles went around many places, visiting communities of the faithful and strengthening their faith, while preaching the Good News and the truth of God to more and more people who were willing to listen to them.
Many people came to believe in the Lord, not only from among the Jewish communities and diaspora, but then increasingly more and more of the Gentiles or the non-Jewish people, the Greeks, the Egyptians, the Romans and many others came to believe in the Lord as well, and gave themselves to be baptised. The Apostles St. Barnabas and later on St. Paul was sent to these people to evangelise to them, to minister and deliver to them the truth of God and to reach out to them.
These Apostles had to endure difficult trials and challenges, facing persecution not only from the Jewish authorities, but also from the Roman governors and authorities, the local rulers and magnates, from the pagans and their priests who rejected the efforts of the Apostles in bringing the truth of God to their land. Yet, despite all the challenges and difficulties that they faced, they remained firm in their resolution and commitment to serve the Lord and fulfil the mission entrusted to them, and God was with them throughout the way.
As mentioned in our Gospel passage today, the Lord Himself reassured His disciples and all of us that He is always with us and He will never abandon us. He is our Good Shepherd Who is always ever filled with lots of concern for us, for His beloved ones. He is always by our side, guiding us and He patiently leads us through the difficult paths of life as we learn to navigate our way in our respective journeys of life. Unless we ourselves have rejected Him, the Lord will never abandon us, and He is always ever faithful to the Covenant that He has established with each one of us.
With this in mind, brothers and sisters in Christ, what are we then as Christians going to do with our lives? The Lord has commissioned all of us to be His disciples and witnesses in our respective communities, to be the ones to proclaim His truth and love in the midst of this darkened and sinful world. Through us, like as He had done through the Apostles, God can touch so many more lives and call upon so many more people who are still seeking for the truth and who hunger for the love of God.
It is often that many of us have been idle and ignorant of our responsibilities as Christians, in what we should be doing in reaching out to those who are in need of the truth and the love of God. We should not continue this attitude and this lack of participation in the active efforts of the Church in the evangelisation of the world and in being role models in faith to all. Let us all truly discern what each and every one of us can do, even in the smallest ways, to help and guide, to inspire and encourage each other in living a true and dedicated Christian life.
May all of us be good and devoted Christians in all things, not just as a mere formality only, but also in all of our words, actions and deeds. May all of us be genuine bearers of God’s truth, and help to inspire so many others whom we encounter in life, that through us, God’s Name may truly be glorified, and many more shall come to know of Christ, Our Good Shepherd and Saviour, through Whom all of us shall rejoice forever, with Him and with one another. May God bless all of us, now and always. Amen.