Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures telling us about the importance for us to remain steady in our faith in God, and not to give in to the various temptations, pressures, coercions, or any other attempts to lure us away from the path that God has shown us. As His disciples and followers, as Christians, that is those who have been called and chosen by God, and we who have answered His call, we are all entrusted with the important mission and commandment, to be the bearers of God’s truth and love which He has revealed to us in Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour.
In our first reading today, we heard of the confrontation between the Lord’s Apostles and the High Priest, the members of the Sanhedrin or the Jewish High Council. The Sanhedrin led by the High Priest had arrested and gathered the Apostles, who had earlier on been arrested for preaching about the Lord Jesus among the people of Jerusalem, and when they miraculously escaped the prison and were once again proclaiming God’s truth and resurrection, the Sanhedrin arrested them again and tried to pressure and coerce them not to preach anymore in the Name of the Lord under strong words and threat of persecution. Yet, none of those could persuade the Apostles to do otherwise, as they trusted in the Lord and His providence.
They refused to obey the commands of the High Priest and the Sanhedrin, and also refused to be coerced or pressured by their threats, as they were the servants of God and were tasked by the Lord with the evangelisation of the whole world. They were sent by the Lord and had been strengthened by the Holy Spirit to be His witnesses among the nations, and they would not back down or be silenced by the threats of the authorities or anyone else who were opposed to the Lord and His works among the people of God. They obeyed the Lord instead of the orders of men, and they suffered happily for His sake, for through them many would be saved.
In our Gospel passage today, we listened to the words of the Lord Jesus in His conversation with Nicodemus, one of the member of the Sanhedrin who was sympathetic to Him and His teachings, and who became one of His secret disciples. The Lord revealed to Nicodemus in their night time encounter that God has loved the world so much that He gave them all His most beloved Son, Himself Who was there and then speaking about the new and eternal life that He has brought and promised to all of us, such that everyone who believe in Him will not perish but will exist with true joy with God in an everlasting and true happiness.
The Apostles had received the same assurance, promise and revelation that the Lord had given to Nicodemus, and He had shared with them the mission that He entrusted to them in bringing this truth and the same knowledge, as well as thand also the desire for this truth to be delivered to more and more people, as many people had not yet known about Him, His path and ways, and they were still living in the darkness and in the state of sin, and unless they repent and change their ways, and come to know of the Lord and His salvation, many of them may end up in eternal damnation and hell.
That is why they resist, refusing to give up their ministry and work, their struggles and all the things that they had done to accomplish the Lord’s works among His people. There were many more people who need to know about the Lord and His saving grace, and they were waiting for those who would bear this light of truth and redemption to them, as many among them did not yet have the opportunity to know Christ, and yet there were also many others who had known the Lord but still resisted Him and refused to follow Him. It was by the tireless efforts and works of the Apostles, the saints, the martyrs, and many other holy men and women of God that God’s truth and salvation were revealed to the people.
Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, each and every one of us as Christians have been entrusted with the same mission, which we have inherited through the Church, to be the ones to bring forth the Good News of God’s salvation, His light, truth and love to all the people, to all mankind, our fellow brothers and sisters throughout the whole world. We are given this task to fulfil the will of God, and to help countless brothers and sisters of ours, all our fellow men who are still wandering off in the darkness of this world. If we do not avail ourselves to reach out and help them, then who will do so? And if they fall into damnation when we could have done more to help them, then the blame and consequence for that will fall squarely on us.
That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, through what we have heard in our Scripture readings today and reflecting on the examples of the Apostles of the Lord, we are all reminded to fulfil our Christian calling, to be faithful missionaries and witnesses of Our Lord’s truth and resurrection. What are we going to do from now on, brothers and sisters? Are we still going to continue to ignore our calling in life, to be true and faithful disciples of our Lord, in doing whatever we can to proclaim the Lord in our communities? Or are we going to embrace that calling wholeheartedly and follow the Lord wherever and whenever He calls us?
Today, we celebrate the feast of both St. Peter Chanel and St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, two great saints whose lives should be inspiration for us in living our lives with faith. St. Peter Chanel was a great missionary who went to proclaim the Lord and His truth to the furthest ends of the world, travelling to the island of Futuna in the southern Pacific far away from his homeland in France as a missionary priest, converting many among the natives and earning both the respect and opposition by the local nobles and powerful men, which eventually led to his martyrdom by the local king who was angered by the conversion of his own son due to the works of St. Peter Chanel.
Meanwhile, St. Louis Marie de Monfort, also known well as the founder of the Montfortians was a renowned missionary priest, who ministered to the people in France, which at that time required a lot of guidance and help amidst the rise of numerous false teachings and heresies that could threaten to mislead many down the path of error and rebellion against God. St. Louis Marie de Montfort was known for his dedication in proclaiming the truth of God to His people, resulting in many people discovering the truth about Him and emerging out of the darkness of their erroneous ways, and be reconciled with God and His Church.
Let us all do our best, in whatever we can do, in even the smallest things we can contribute, following in the examples set by these holy people, as we must not forget than even in the smallest things we do, for the sake of the Lord, and for the last, the lost and the least amongst us, we glorify God by our works, and we shall surely be blessed and filled with His blessings. May God be with us always, and may He strengthen us all that we may always ever live worthily of His Presence, now and forevermore. Amen.