Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are all reminded of the calling which all of us have received as Christians to be faithful followers of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in all things and at all times. We are all reminded that as Christians we are all God’s called and chosen people, and we have received from Him the assurance of joy and eternal life that will be ours if we keep our faith in Him, our Lord and Saviour. He shall never abandon us, and everything will be fine for us if we continue to walk in the path that He has shown to us. We are all reminded that the very reason why we celebrate Christmas season that we are still very well within, is indeed Christ, Our Lord and Saviour. Without Christ, there can be no Christmas, and our Christmas celebrations would have been meaningless and without purpose.
In our first reading today, we heard of the words from the Apostle St. John in his Epistle to the faithful people of God regarding the reminder that all the faithful must always hold on to the faith which they have in the Son of God, the Saviour born unto us through Mary, His blessed Mother. For even at the time of the Apostles, of St. John and the other earliest leaders of the Church, there had been significant troubles and divisions affecting the Church and the faithful due to those selfish, wicked and unscrupulous people seeking to mislead and misguide the people of God down the wrong paths. Even since the earliest days of the Church there had been those who subverted and changed the teachings of the Lord to suit their own desires and wishes, their own ambitions and purposes.
As such, the Apostles and the other leaders of the Church, and then their successors, the Popes and bishops all throughout the past two millennia of the history of the Church has to contend and oppose all those who seek to divide and mislead the flock of the Lord’s faithful. Everyone has always ever been reminded of their obligation and faith in the One and only True God, Jesus Christ, the Saviour of all, Who has shown unto us the Love of God manifested in the flesh, appearing before us that we all may know that whatever we are believing in is not just a bluff or myth, unlike the many other beliefs and faiths in the pagan idols and gods. Our faith in God, in the one and only True God, is the foundation of our lives and existence in this world. It is very important therefore that we all take our faith in God seriously.
In our Gospel passage today we heard of the calling of the very first disciples of the Lord, which happened just right after He embarked on His ministry, with His baptism at the Jordan and temptations at the desert. The two disciples of St. John the Baptist who decided to follow the Lord when St. John himself told them that the One he had just baptised was the Lamb of God, the Holy One of God, came to the Lord Jesus in Galilee, enquiring about Him and stating their desires to follow Him. According to the Church traditions, one of those two disciples of St. John the Baptist was St. Andrew the Apostle, the brother of St. Peter the Apostle, which was why he was also often known as St. Andrew the First-Called. It was therefore likely that St. Andrew introduced the Lord to his fellow fishermen there at Galilee.
That was how the Lord called His first disciples, St. Andrew the Apostle and his brother, St. Peter the Apostle, as well as the two brothers, the sons of Zebedee, St. James the Apostle and St. John the Apostle. Those four fishermen of the Lake of Galilee then chose to follow the Lord, abandoning their fishing boats and nets, so that in the words of the Lord, they might become the ‘fishers of men’. They devoted their whole entire lives to the Lord and followed Him throughout His ministry and beyond, together with the many other disciples the Lord had also called, to bring forth His Good News and truth to the whole entire world. Through the efforts and hard works of the Apostles and all those holy men and women who had devoted themselves to the Lord and to the works of evangelisation, the love and truth of God has been delivered to many more people, who have been saved through Christ as well.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we reflect upon these words from the Sacred Scriptures, let us all reflect upon what our calling in life as Christians are. Each and every one of us have been called to a specific mission in life by the Lord, Who has bestowed upon us myriads of His various gifts, graces, blessings, talents and abilities. The Lord has called each and every one of us to follow Him as well, and we ought to follow Him faithfully, not easily swayed by the falsehoods of the world and by the temptations of worldly desires, ego, pride and greed. As Christians, we have to hold onto the Lord closely and remain faithful to Him in the manner how the Apostles and the many other disciples of the Lord had given their all, and even their whole lives in service to the Lord.
Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we are still in the midst of the Christmas season and time, we can see how the world has mostly returned to its usual busy life and schedule. While even at Christmas celebrations and joy, Christ has often been forgotten and ignored at the celebration of His birth and coming into this world, what happens now, just barely more than a week after Christmas Day, is even more telling of how many in the world, even amongst us Christians, have forgotten about Christ, and all that He had done for our sake, in bringing that new Hope and the assurance of eternal life to us. How about us, brothers and sisters? Have we done the same as well? Have we sidelined the Lord and ignored Him in our lives, and only remembering Him when we have need for Him?
Let us all therefore commit ourselves to a new life and existence in Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour, putting Him back at the centre and as the main focus of our lives. Let us all remember the faith that the Lord’s Apostles, His countless saints and martyrs, who had given their all in following and serving the Lord. Let us all walk in their footsteps and be inspired to continue carrying out whatever missions and vocations that the Lord had called us to do, in our own respective lives. May God bless us always, now and forevermore. Amen.