Wednesday, 12 April 2023 : Wednesday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Wednesday we continue to progress through the Easter Octave and the Easter season, as we still continue to mark our Easter joy, a great joy for our Lord’s Resurrection and triumph against sin, evil and death. We are reminded that the Risen Lord has shown us the love of God, the healing and the mercy shown to us, as He reached out to us, embracing us and loving all of us ever so tenderly and wonderfully. God has sent His disciples and followers into the world to proclaim His Resurrection, the salvation, Hope and Light that He has promised to all of us. God has not abandoned us into the darkness, but He has reminded us again and again of His ever loving presence and kindness. That is what we are rejoicing for this Easter season, a great joy that celebrates the love and kindness of Our Lord and Saviour, Who has saved us from certain destruction and death, and bringing unto us the assurance of eternal life and glory with Him.

That is what we have heard in our first reading today, taken from the Acts of the Apostles. We heard how St. Peter and St. John came by the Beautiful Gate of the Temple of Jerusalem, and healed the paralysed man who had been waiting and begged at that gate. The two Apostles told the beggar that they had nothing to offer him, but gave him the gift of salvation and healing through Jesus Christ, healing him in His Holy Name. That was how the beggar was healed and giving praise to God, that surprised and awed many people who remembered the beggar and were amazed at how he was healed. The chief priests and the members of the Jewish High Council had been strict in their enforcement of the ban and the opposition against the works of the Lord and His disciples, persecuting all those who have proclaimed His Name or did anything in His Name, or preached and spoke in His Name, teaching about all that He had done or by being associated in any way with Him.

Yet, all those things could not stop the Apostles who carried out doing their good works in His Name, preaching His truth, proclaiming everything that Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world had done. They would not be silenced by the efforts of those who still continued to stubbornly resist the works of the Lord, His truth and mercy. The Holy Spirit that they had received guided them and strengthened them, led them to do the wonders just as we have heard and witnessed. The Apostles shared the joy they had in seeing and knowing about the Resurrection, and all that God had done for us, to the world, to all the people who have gathered all around them, all willing and curious to know more about the Lord and His salvation. This is what they had themselves seen and witnessed, as they heard of the Risen Lord from the two disciples that came back from the way to Emmaus, having encountered the Lord Himself on their way towards that village.

Not only that, but as we heard from our Gospel passage today, we listened to how the disciples witnessed on their own how the Risen Lord appeared before their very own eyes, as He appeared fully in the flesh before them, all in His Risen glory, truly alive and truly living. The Risen Lord has appeared before them, proving to them that He has indeed Risen from the dead and overcame death itself, and not even death can hold Him. He fulfilled everything that He has promised to His disciples, that He would come back after He suffered, was persecuted and condemned to death, and that He would be with them forever. No one can indeed separate us from the love of God, and He has shown us this Himself through His own beloved Son, Who has come into this world, to lead us by His own hands, and to help and guide us in our journey towards our most loving Father and Creator, our God and Saviour. Through His Resurrection, the Lord has opened the path for us to full and complete reconciliation with God.

Having witnessed all of those themselves, and encouraged and strengthened by the Holy Spirit, it was what drove the disciples to go forth and to proclaim proudly and openly the Risen Saviour, the One Whom the chief priests and the elders had tried to silence and to keep from being known by the people. They proclaimed the Risen Lord, revealing His truth and many believed in Him, giving themselves to be baptised and becoming members of the Church. The Lord has spread His truth and teachings through His Apostles and disciples, that were then passed down through His Church, as the community of the faithful continued to grow and spread, expanding the reach of the Church and the works that they had done. Through them, and through the generations, all of us have received the same truth, the truth about the Lord and His love for us, and all that He had done for us, and His glorious Resurrection.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, having received this truth of God, and having believed in Him, all of us as Christians, as members of God’s Church are called to be part of His Church’s mission, in reaching out to the nations, to all the peoples all around us, to everyone we interact with and encounter in our daily living, that we may proclaim His truth and salvation to everyone we encounter, through our every words, actions and deeds, which are exemplary and full of faith in the Lord. If we are not genuine in how we live our Christian faith, then how can we convince others to believe in God? Worse still, if our actions, our words and interactions are in fact contrary to what we believe in, and we cause others and even our own fellow brothers and sisters to lose faith in the Lord, this is indeed scandal for the Church, for our faith and for the Lord’s Holy Name. As Christians, we have indeed a rather heavy responsibility to lead others towards the Lord, and the best is through our own good examples in life.

Now, as we continue to progress through this Easter season, are we able to commit ourselves anew to the Lord, dedicating ourselves, our time, effort, attention and more to glorify the Lord by our lives? Can we follow in the footsteps of the Apostles and the other disciples of the Lord, who had given their time, effort and even their lives in the service of God? All of us have been given the time, the opportunity and the chance to do what we can in proclaiming the Lord by our own faithful lives, and we should indeed use this time and opportunity to do what we can in proclaiming the Lord and His truth, His Resurrection and everything that He has revealed and taught to us, so that more and more can be saved and can find their way to God and His saving grace. Let us no longer be ignorant of what we should and what we can do in living our lives faithfully as Christians, as members of His Church.

May the Risen Lord continue to guide and inspire us in our daily living, so that we may find our way and have the courage and strength to proclaim His Gospels and Good News by our exemplary lives and actions. May God be with us always and may He continue to bless us all in our every efforts, good works and endeavours. May God continue to empower and encourage us all to serve Him ever more faithfully each day of our lives. Wishing all of us a most blessed Easter season ahead. Amen.

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