Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scripture, we are reminded of the works of the Lord and His Apostles, through which many people had been saved from the threat of eternal damnation and hell. Through the many works that God has done through His Son, His saving works and through the Church that He has established in this world, the Lord has gathered many of His beloved ones back to Himself, as a Good Shepherd Who truly loves His sheep. He has entrusted to us His Church, to be the shining beacon of His light and truth to the nations.
In our Gospel passage today, we heard the Lord Jesus speaking to the Jewish people who questioned and doubted Him, and whom despite having seen His many miracles and having heard His teachings, wisdom and words still refused to believe and acknowledge that the Lord Jesus is truly the Messiah and Holy One of God. They had seen and witnessed everything the Lord had done, and yet they failed to realise the truth behind all that they had seen and heard. The Lord told them all that His sheep and flock knew Him and would answer His call, Him being the Good Shepherd of all, and all those whom the Lord had called and believed in Him would come to His presence.
This means that as long as those people refused to accept the truth and open their hearts and minds to the Lord, His love and truth, no matter how the Lord had done, how many miracles He performed and all the truths and wisdom that He has spoken about, all these would not mean anything to them unless they were willing to let go of their pride and ego, turning away from their worldly desires and attachments, and all of their stubbornness, then they cannot be those counted among the people of God, as they voluntarily and knowingly rejected Him despite Him having reached out patiently to them out of love.
Those who believe in God on the other hand will find solace and salvation in God, and as long as they have their faith in God and love for Him in their hearts and minds, they will not be falling into damnation and the Lord will always be with them. He reached out to all the people nonetheless, even those who remained stubborn and had hardened their hearts against Him. The Lord would not abandon any of His beloved children to the very last moment. However, the Lord will also judge us all at the same time at the end, and we will have to answer with either our faith and dedication, or with our sins and wickedness.
In our first reading passage today, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, we heard of the works of the Apostles in spreading the words of God’s truth, His Good News and the message of His salvation to more and more people, establishing Christian communities throughout the places that they had visited. We heard how the disciples of the Lord went to the various places throughout the region, serving the Lord and the mission entrusted to them. They carried on the works that the Lord had begun, following in the footsteps of the Lord, Who as the Good Shepherd has willed to gather us all, the lost sheep of His flock.
The Apostles like St. Paul and St. Barnabas, and the Twelve Apostles all dedicated their time and effort to proclaim God’s truth and calling on more and more people to believe in Him. They built up vibrant and expanding community and family of believers which as mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles passage today, were called as Christians, those who believed in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour, just as exactly who we are today. We are all Christians because we believe in Christ, in all of His truth and love, in the message of His Good News and the eternal life that He has promised all of us.
And we are called to continue the great works that had been done, as there are still many opportunities and areas where there are still in need of the work of evangelisation, with many people, many souls, the lost sheep of the Lord who are still in need of reconciliation with their Shepherd and Guide, our Lord Jesus, the Good Shepherd. We have to continue the works of the Apostles, in proclaiming the truth of God to more and more people all around the world. And we should be inspired by the examples set by St. John of Avila, whose feast we are celebrating today.
St. John of Avila was a great missionary and priest who had dedicated much of his life to the evangelisation to the people in southern regions of what is today Spain, the region of Andalusia, preaching to those who have not truly known God and all those who have followed the false faith and heresies of the past. The great saint spent a lot of time building vibrant communities of the faithful much as how the Apostles had done earlier, and his many writings and works influenced even many more people after his time, calling on them to follow the Lord, their Good Shepherd.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, inspired by the examples of St. John of Avila, the Apostles and many other saints of God, let us all therefore dedicate ourselves to walk faithfully in the path of God and His love. Let us all seek the Lord and be good role models and examples in our way of life, and may the Lord guide us and strengthen us always, that we may lead others towards Him. May the Lord be with us all, and may He empower us to be great Christians, as those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Good Shepherd, wholeheartedly, at all times. Amen.