Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are yet constantly being reminded of the salvation which has come to us through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, Who has come into our midst bearing the truth and love of God. We are reminded of this fact as we continue to progress through the season of Easter because as Christians we cannot just remain idle in our faith. Instead, all of us are called to evangelise in our own ways and within the opportunities and capacities presented to us. All of us have to embrace this calling to be faithful witnesses of the Lord’s truth and love in our respective communities, in today’s world.
As we heard from our first reading today, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, we heard of how St. Paul proclaimed all the works of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of all, Who had come amidst the Jewish people and as one of their own, in proclaiming the Good News of salvation. St. Paul spoke of all the wonders and works the Lord had done, and how although many of the people had rejected Him and condemned Him to death, but the Lord had risen from the dead, and how the Apostles including St. Paul himself had been preaching of all these truth and witnesses they had to all the people, calling on them to have faith in the Lord and to believe in Him.
St. Paul and the many other disciples of the Lord faced all the dangers and challenges faithfully and with dedication, knowing that God is with them, and that they were not labouring in vain, as the Lord Who knew all of their actions, would bless them and remember them, and though they might suffer and perish, but they would not face defeat as the Lord would lead them into the ultimate victory in the end. The sufferings of the Apostles and the many other disciples, the saints and many of the martyrs all remind us of just how difficult it is to follow the Lord, and how complicated it may be for us to commit ourselves as Christians, even in our own day as well. And yet, we must not lose heart because the Lord has reassured us of His providence and love.
As we heard in our Gospel passage today, the Lord Himself spoke to His disciples, reassuring them of the bounty and true joy that each one of them would enjoy in the end, despite the challenges and trials that they might have to endure for the sake of the Lord. The Lord told all of them that He would go before them to a place where they could and would not yet be able to go, a revelation of what would happen to Him afterwards, when He would be arrested, accused of wrongdoing, and punished to die a most humiliating death, dying and eventually rose from the dead as how everything had happened back then. And then the Lord would ascend to Heaven, to prepare everything for His disciples and beloved ones, preparing the places for all of them.
The disciples who had listened to the Lord and then witnessed everything coming to fruition and having seen what had happened, the Lord’s death and resurrection, and His ascension into glory, they all believed in Him and His truth. And with the strength and courage bestowed on them through the Holy Spirit, the disciples and followers of the Lord like St. Paul committed their whole efforts and lives to serve the Lord and to proclaim this same truth and love to more and more people. They went up against all those who refused to believe in the Lord and all those who persecuted the Lord and His followers, the Jewish authorities and the Roman government among many others.
The Lord’s disciples did not fear those persecution, trials and challenges, because they trusted in the Lord, and they knew that in the end, as I mentioned, they would be triumphant with God. The Lord would lead them all to the ultimate victory, and this same assurance had been given to us all as well. We have to put our faith in God and devote ourselves to the Lord in our lives and in our every opportunities. All of us must follow in the footsteps of the Apostles and continue to follow the Lord, and to devote ourselves to the many works and efforts of the Church, which had been done for the salvation of many more souls.
Today, we also celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, commemorating the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, at Fatima in Portugal, where Mary appeared to the three little shepherd children, Jacinta, Francisco and Lucia. Over a hundred years ago, during the height of the First World War in Europe, and during a time of intense persecution against the Church in Portugal, and just before the ascent of Communism throughout Russia and Eastern Europe, the three young shepherd children saw Mary, Our Lady of Fatima, appearing to them and asking them to spread her messages, a reminder to the world and all of the children of God, that they ought to return to the Lord and offend the Lord no more by their sins.
That is why, she, Our Lady of Fatima made appearances to the three shepherd children, through whom her messages were made clear to all of us through the Church. Her call for us is a reminder that all of us have been called to follow the Lord faithfully and to do His will. We are reminded not to veer away from the path that God has shown us, and to repent from our many sins that had led us astray from God. As the Mother of God and our own mother, as we have been entrusted to her by the Lord Himself, naturally she would be concerned with us and our fate, and having seen how her Son, Our same Lord Jesus Christ, had suffered for our sake, for our salvation, she would not want any of us to suffer eternal damnation due to our actions.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures and are reminded of what Our Lady of Fatima had said to the three shepherd children of Fatima that day and in her various apparitions afterwards, each one of us are called and reminded to turn towards the Lord anew with faith, and to face the many challenges and trials with confidence and trust in God. We must not let our fears to overcome us or to hinder us in any way in our path towards serving the Lord and in fulfilling the mission entrusted to us. Let us do our best to commit ourselves to the Lord’s mission, and may all of us be encouraged and strengthened at all times, and may God bless each one of us in our every endeavours and good works, now and always. Blessed Mary, Mother of God, Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us all sinners too. Amen.