Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the Scripture passages today detailed the works of the Apostles, St. Paul and St. Barnabas, who have been sent to the Gentiles to minister to them and to preach to them the Good News of God. And as we heard, they did not have it easy as they had to face opposition, rejection and persecution, all for the sake of the Lord. And God Himself has also reassured His disciples that they ought to have peace in them, that He is always with them no matter what, and they are never alone.
In our first reading today we heard about how some of the Jews struck at St. Paul and St. Barnabas during one of their missions, inciting the crowd to rise up and oppose the two Apostles. The two of them were left almost dead, but God was with them, and when the two of them survived and were strengthened by God, they continued with their mission with equal if not stronger zeal and commitment. They went on to Antioch where there they told the other disciples about what they had encountered.
Through this powerful testimony of God’s providence, St. Paul and St. Barnabas wanted to reassure all of the faithful then whose faith was wavering because of the constant persecution and rejection, that they should not give up against all those pressures and coercion. St. Paul and St. Barnabas encouraged the faithful to put their trust in the Lord and reminded them of the calling for each and every one of them to be good and faithful disciples, to be genuine witnesses of the Lord at every opportunities possible.
The Lord reassured all of His disciples in our Gospel passage today, and therefore, His reassurance is also extended to us. The Lord wants all of us to know that we are never alone in our struggles and in our most difficult moments, and that He is always journeying together with us and staying by our side at all times. God has always been faithful to the Covenant that He has established with us, no less through the shedding and outpouring of His own Precious Body and Blood on the Cross.
However, brothers and sisters in Christ, the question now is, do we realise just how fortunate and blessed we are to have received the love of God constantly in our lives? Do we realise just how beloved we are by God and just how wonderful His dedication is to each and every one of us without any exception? Too many of us are too busy and preoccupied with our worldly concerns and lives that we often failed to realise this truth.
That is why many of us faltered in faith whenever trials and challenges come our way, and many of us also chose to remain idle and ignoring the call for us to be active and committed Christians, not just in name or as formality only, but also in our real action and dedication as well. Many of us have not had that strong and genuine relationship with God, and we really should reflect on how we can be better followers and disciples of Our Lord in each and every moments of our lives, that we may grow ever more committed to Him and realise just how fortunate we are that God has been guiding us throughout our journey all these while.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all seek the Lord with renewed zeal and faith this Easter season, as we are constantly reminded again and again of all the courageous efforts and works of those who have dedicated themselves for the greater glory of God, His Apostles and all those saints and martyrs, all those who have willingly suffered and even died in remaining steadfast to their beliefs and their trust in the Lord. They have shown us what it really means for us to be Christians, to be those whom the Lord has called to be His own, to be His beloved people.
We must not be afraid of the trials and challenges that we will encounter in life as we labour and toil for the greater glory of God. We have to learn to trust the Lord and His providence, that He will guide us to the right path, and He will guide and assist us whenever we are in need of help, guidance and direction in life. What matters is, are we all willing to listen to Him and are we willing to allow Him to lead us and to show us the way? Or do we still stubbornly cling to our own ways and methods, and trusting in our own power rather than to entrust ourselves to Him, and do everything with Him by our side?
The Lord has freely offered us all His love and guidance, His providence and help, and then now it is really up to us how we will respond to His call and His generous offer of love and compassion, His attention towards us and His providence. Let us all renew therefore our love and faith in Him, and do whatever we can that in our every actions and deeds, in our every moments in life, we will be the faithful bearers of His Good News and truth, much like St. Paul and St. Barnabas, fearing not the persecution and ridicule of the world, but remaining steadfast in our desire to love and serve the Lord at all times. May God bless us always, in our every good works and endeavours, now and always. Amen.