Thursday, 13 April 2023 : Thursday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we continue to progress through the season of Easter, all of us are reminded of God’s great grace and providence for all of His beloved people, all of us, as He showed us all the hope and light of salvation in His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord has shown us that He is truly Risen from the dead, and nothing can prevail against Him, not even sin, evil and death. Through what we have heard from the Sacred Scriptures, all of us are reminded that the Lord is truly Risen, and He has always been with us throughout. Through Him, His Church and His disciples, the Lord has shown His power and might, in healing us and in reaching out to us with most generous love, mercy and compassion. He has not abandoned us all to the darkness and sin, but through His love, His efforts and works, and by suffering and dying for us on the Cross, and eventually by His Resurrection, He has gathered us all into a new life blessed by God.

In our first reading today, we heard the brave and courageous Apostles St. Peter and St. John speaking to the people of God assembled who witnessed the works of the Lord in healing the crippled beggar sitting by the Temple of Jerusalem’s Beautiful Gate, as they saw how he was miraculously healed and made whole. St. Peter spoke courageously and preached about the Risen Lord Jesus, in Whose Name he has invoked healing and miracle to make the crippled man whole again. And despite the stern and strict ban against the teaching or preaching or even the mention of the Name of Jesus by the chief priests and the members of the powerful Jewish High Council, the two Apostles were fearless in their courageous proclaiming of the truth that God has brought amidst His people, in showing His power and miracles before all the assembled people, telling them that everything had been done by the same Saviour that they had just condemned to death merely moments earlier.

The Apostle also called on the people to repent from their sinful ways, and to embrace the forgiveness and mercy which God generously granted us all through His Son, the same Saviour Who had suffered and died on the Cross, and then rose in glory on Easter Sunday, the One Whom St. Peter and St. John was proclaiming about, and in Whose Name, the crippled man had been healed. All of us are reminded that our Saviour lives, and because He lives, and has risen from the dead, then we too shall overcome sin and death together with Him. We are reminded then this Easter that we are all called to a new life and existence in God, one that is free from sin and evil, and one that is truly dedicated and filled with joy of being one with God. All of us as Christians are God’s own beloved people, whom God had called and chosen from among the nations, and we have responded to that call with faith.

As we heard in our Gospel passage today, we are reminded again of the truth about our Lord’s Resurrection, as we heard how the Risen Lord appeared to His disciples gathered in Jerusalem. He appeared to them just after He appeared to the two disciples who were journeying to the village of Emmaus, and who did not recognise Him at first until He revealed Himself to them and unveiled their eyes, allowing them to see the truth about Him. The Risen Lord appeared to all the disciples, proving to them that whatever they have heard from the two disciples and from the holy women who went to His tomb earlier that Sunday were indeed true and not fabricated news. He came to reassure them that everything which He had told them, about Him having to suffer and to be persecuted, and dying for the sake of all, then to rise again from the dead, are all indeed true.

He asked them for something to eat, and He ate the piece of broiled fish which they offered Him, which indicated to all of them that He was indeed Risen before them, appearing to them in all of His Risen glory in the flesh, and not just a Ghost or Spirit. This is because ghosts and spirits would not have been able to consume or partake any food, or do anything that He had done. The Lord showed His disciples that He was indeed with them, and never left them even though those disciples had earlier on abandoned and left Him during the time of His Passion, out of fear and doubt in their hearts. And having seen and witnessed all these, and touched the Risen Lord, all of the disciples hence were empowered and strengthened, together with the Holy Spirit that had been sent to them on Pentecost, that they went forth in great joy and with great courage to proclaim the salvation of the world in Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world, Who has Risen from the dead in glory.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, now, as we heard all of these words from the Scriptures, all of us are then reminded that as Christians, each and every one of us share the same mission from the Lord, for us to proclaim the Risen Lord in our various communities and in our places, in whatever we are doing and in our every interactions with each other, with people who have not yet known the Lord or His truth. Much like St. Peter and St. John who courageously proclaimed the Risen Lord before the assembled people despite the ban enforced by the Sanhedrin against them and the Lord’s teachings, all of us as Christians are also called to be the faithful disciples and missionaries of our Christian faith in our respective communities, in our schools, workplaces, among our friends and families, our relatives and even to the strangers and acquaintances we encounter each day in our lives.

Let us all therefore do whatever we can to live our lives worthily of the Risen Lord, so that in whatever we say and do, we will always glorify God and proclaim His truth, and that we may be true and genuine beacons of His light, hope and truth amidst our darkened world, filled with sin and wickedness. Not only that we should do this to all those who have not yet known the Lord, but we should do this even to our fellow Christian brothers and sisters, who have perhaps lapsed in their faith and become lukewarm in how they live their faith lives. Let us all encourage them and inspire them to renew their faith so that together with us, our faith may burn brightly with sincere love and zeal for the Risen Lord, as we commit ourselves, our time, our actions, efforts and good works and more for the greater glory of God. All of us are called to follow the Lord with conviction and commitment, as those who have been entrusted by Him with the mission to proclaim His truth and resurrection among the nations.

May the Risen Lord, Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, continue to be with us and help us in our journey of faith, so that we may continue to be strong and courageous in our ministry in the Church, in whatever it is that we have been called into, in our perseverance in living our faith with zeal and in loving one another with genuine love and compassion. Let us all be the shining beacons of the Resurrected Christ and His Light, that many more people may come to believe in Him and His salvation through us and our exemplary living. May the Risen Lord bless us always, and may He bless our Easter season and celebrations, bless our loved ones always. Amen.

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