Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we all continue to celebrate with great joy the celebrations of Easter that began with Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday, as this is just the second day of the Octave of Easter, which lasts until the Second Sunday of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday, and in fact, the whole Easter season lasts a period of an entire fifty days until the Pentecost Sunday. Yet, from what we have also heard from our Scripture passages today, we are also reminded that our Easter joy and celebrations should not be limited and restricted just to that period only, as we must realise that what we celebrate this Easter is something fundamental and important in our Christian faith, as we rejoice and celebrate together our Lord’s glorious Resurrection from the dead, and how He has saved each one of us from our predicament and sins, by His Passion, His suffering, death and Resurrection.
In our first reading today, we heard from the Acts of the Apostles of the works of the Apostles, led by St. Peter, who went forth amongst the people on the day of the Pentecost, fifty days after the Lord’s Resurrection, to proclaim among them all the truth about the Lord, all of His works, His Resurrection and all that He had done, for the salvation of all the people. Back then, the disciples of the Lord had been hiding in fear after the Lord’s Ascension into Heaven, as the Jewish leaders, the chief priests and the elders who had mostly been opposed to the Lord and His teachings, had banned anyone from teaching or speaking in His Name, and vowed to persecute anyone who did so. That was why they were in hiding, while praying and gathering together as a community of believers. Then, on the day of the Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples just as the Lord Himself had promised, and the Holy Spirit strengthened the disciples and encouraged them, gave them Wisdom and power to carry out what the Lord wanted them to do.
That was how they all became so courageous, in going forth from their hiding, and no longer hiding their beliefs, but preaching about the Risen Lord openly among the people, during the time when many people from the Jewish diaspora and beyond came to Jerusalem for the Pentecost festival. They all spoke with vigour and strength, and as St. Peter had done, they told them all of the wonderful things that God had done through His Son Jesus Christ, the One Whom the people had just recently rejected and condemned to death, put on the Cross to die and yet, by Whose death, God has willingly accepted His perfect offering and sacrifice, to redeem all of us from our many sins and wickedness. God has been reconciled with us through His Son, and by His Resurrection, Christ has shown us the sure path to eternal life. St. Peter spoke to all assembled of how Christ has revealed God’s salvation to all through His coming into this world and His Resurrection, fulfilling the promises that God had made to all their forefathers.
This is the same truth that they themselves had received from the holy women, Mary of Magdalene and others who went to the tomb of the Lord on the morning of Easter Sunday, only to see the tomb empty and open, without any Body and anyone inside. We heard from our Gospel passage today how the Angel of God proclaimed to the women that the Lord has risen gloriously from the dead just as He has foretold. We heard how the fulfilment of God’s promises had indeed come through Christ, and then of how those same chief priests and their supporters tried to hide and conceal the truth in the same Gospel passage, by bribing the soldiers and the officials to tell lies and untruths about what had actually happened, to the point of stating that the disciples had come to steal the Body of the Lord while the soldiers were sleeping, which was something that was truly unbelievable as the Roman soldiers then were renowned for their discipline and watchfulness.
That was unfortunately the extent of the lack of faith of the people of God, those whom the Lord had first appeared to and called first. Many of those chief priests and elders were so hard set in their ways and beliefs that they were unable to open their hearts and minds to listen to the Lord and to His truth that has been delivered and shown to them, despite the many times that they had witnessed the works of the Lord, His truth and all that He has taught among the people of God. This is because they had allowed worldly vices and ambitions, their attachments to worldly glory and desires to cloud their vision and judgments, leading them to close their hearts and minds against God, and turning themselves into obstacles and barriers in the path of many who are coming to seek the Lord. And yet, the Lord still called His disciples to proclaim His truth to them, as what many of them would do to reach out to these stubborn ones.
As we all know, God even made one of them to be one of His own most fervent followers, as one of the most passionate and courageous defenders of the faith, namely St. Paul the Apostle, who was once a great persecutor of Christians and an enemy of the Lord. In his foolish pursuit for power and influence, and in the misguided path he traversed as a young Pharisee named Saul, easily swayed by the temptations of worldly glory and by his misdirected zeal, caused by the distortions and falsehoods that the chief priests and the Pharisees themselves had spread, in making themselves to believe that the Lord Jesus was a fraud and that His teachings were blasphemous and a heresy, hence, causing St. Paul as the young Saul and many others to do what was against God’s will, resisting His good works and actions.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, now as we all gather together today to continue to rejoice in the Easter joy, and as we continue to live our lives as faithful and good Christians, let us all therefore renew our commitment to the Lord, to be evangelising disciples in our outreach and efforts to proclaim the Word of God, His truth and resurrection to more and more people all throughout the whole world, in our respective communities, families, circles of friends, in our schools and workplaces. Let us all be the beacons of the Light of Christ and the Hope of His Resurrection, in the midst of all the communities that we are all part of. Let us all be the source of inspiration and hope for everyone who are still suffering and enduring a lot of hardships, or are in the midst of sorrows and despair, that just as Christ has come into our midst bearing His Light of Hope and salvation, we may also bring that same Light to our brethren in need.
May all of us be courageous in proclaiming the word of God and may we continue to be exemplary in our lives and actions so that we may truly be genuine Christians in our way of life, in our every actions, dealings and interactions. May the Risen Lord continue to encourage and strengthen us so that we may keep on venturing further like the Apostles and disciples of the Lord, in doing the good works of the Lord, for the salvation of many people who are in need of the light and hope of God in their midst. May all of us be the faithful bearers of Christ’s Light in our communities and societies all around us. Amen.
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