Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we continue to progress through the time of the Easter Octave and the Easter season, a most joyful time of celebration and happiness because of the Lord’s Resurrection from the dead, we are constantly being reminded each day and at every moments also, that as Christians, as God’s beloved and chosen people, all of us have the responsibility and obligation to reach out to our fellow brothers and sisters, and to proclaim the truth of God, His glorious Resurrection and work of salvation among His people, as missionaries and evangelisers of our Christian faith and beliefs. This Easter season all of us are reminded to be truly exemplary in our way of life so that in whatever we do, we will always be truly inspirational in our faith, and truly can proclaim our faith by our lives.
In our first reading today, we heard from the Acts of the Apostles of the opposition and hardships which the Apostles faced in the midst of their ministry, as they were arrested by the chief priests and the members of the Sanhedrin, who have often been adamantly and stubbornly against the Lord, His truth and teachings. The chief priests and the Sanhedrin asked them incessantly and repeatedly on whose authority that they had preached and taught the people, and how they had performed the miracles they had done, despite those same people obviously having experienced and heard about the Lord Jesus and His teachings and miracles many times previously. They themselves had witnessed everything that the Lord had done, with their own eyes no less, and yet, still refused adamantly to believe in Him and His truth. They had seen, heard and witnessed so much, and yet in their pride, arrogance and stubborn hearts and minds, they had allowed all those vices to shut themselves off from the Lord.
St. Peter and St. John courageously defended the truth and their belief in the Risen Lord before the whole assembly of the Sanhedrin, despite themselves being alone against all the whole multitudes of those who were opposed against them and their Lord. They reiterated their faith and their stand on the side of the truth, proclaiming about the Resurrected Messiah or Saviour, that is the same One that all those people had rejected and condemned to death, handed over to the Romans to be crucified. Despite them having heard that this One had risen from the dead and showed Himself to many people, they refused to believe because of their stubborn hearts and minds, and hence, the two Apostles spoke courageously of the truth, to tell them yet again that it was by the Holy Name of the Lord, Jesus Christ, the Risen One, that the crippled beggar had been healed.
In particular, if we remember St. Peter for who he was prior to that, it must have been a truly amazing transformation. St. Peter was a mere fisherman of the Lake of Galilee, whom the Lord had called to follow Him and to become His disciple. He was an illiterate and brash man, who often said and did things without much thinking, and yet, this same St. Peter stood before the whole assembly of the Sanhedrin, filled with the most intellectual and powerful members of the Jewish community, and put them all to shame with his great wisdom and understanding, given to him by the Holy Spirit and the Lord. The same illiterate fisherman from Galilee had proclaimed all the great works of the Lord, and spoke of His teachings and truth, which must have amazed and surprised many of the members of the Sanhedrin, which would have remembered many of the Lord’s disciples being uneducated and mostly coming from the peripheries of the Jewish community.
Then, in our Gospel passage today, we heard about the account of the Risen Lord appearing before His disciples in Galilee, just as He had foretold and revealed to them, just as they were about done fishing all night long without any results at all. The Risen Lord told them all to follow His instructions, and while they were tired, they listened to Him nonetheless and did as they were told to do, and immediately a huge number of fishes were caught in their nets. It was then that the same St. Peter and St. John recognised the Risen Lord, with St. Peter immediately jumping into the water to seek the Lord and to find Him. This account of the encounter between the Lord and His disciples serve as a reminder for us that the Risen Lord has called on His servants, the disciples, to embark on the mission to proclaim His Good News and truth to the world, to be the fishers of men as how the Lord had called St. Peter and the other fishermen of Galilee in the beginning.
What we heard in that Gospel passage was also highly symbolic and revealing of the Lord’s intentions for His Church and disciples, as the moment that He told them how to catch the fish, the disciples immediately gathered such a large number of fish, and yet, the two boats they were in did not sink. The boats represent the Church of God, while the disciples inside the boat represent the servants of the Lord, themselves and their successors, who have been entrusted with the management of the Church of God, while then the fishes themselves represent the people of God, who have been called to follow the Lord through His disciples, the Apostles and their successors, the bishops and all those who have dedicated themselves as priests and missionaries of the Church, spreading the Word of God and His truth to all those who have not yet heard of His truth and salvation.
Then, just as the Lord had said earlier on when He called on them the first time, He was sending them all as the ‘fishers of men’, to go forth to the nations, and to all the people and to bring them all back towards God’s embrace and love, proclaiming to all of them everything that He Himself has revealed to His disciples. This mission is the primary mission of the Church, just as He proclaimed to them at the moment just before He ascended into Heaven, to ‘go forth to the nations and to baptise all the people in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.’ They did so through many hours of tireless labours and works, spending their time and effort to proclaim the Lord and His Good News, reaching out to those who were oppressed and who were without hope, and risking even their own lives in the process. Not few of the disciples of the Lord perished throughout those difficult early years, and even beyond, right up to this day, as martyrs of the faith.
Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all then ask ourselves, whether we are willing and ready to follow in the footsteps of those faithful disciples of the Lord, in doing God’s will and embracing His calling and mission? Are we willing, able and ready to be part of the missionary and outreach efforts of the Church, and to share our Easter joy to those whom we encounter each day in life? It then depends on us to do what we can to live our lives worthily of the Lord and to be exemplary and inspirational in our way of life, so that not only all those within the Church but also even those outside who witness our works and actions, our way of life, our words and interactions, may come to be stirred to seek the Lord, and to believe in Him as well. This is what we have been called to do, to be the bearers of Christ’s truth and Good News to the world.
May the Risen Lord continue to help and guide us in our journey throughout life, and may He empower and strengthen us all that we may persevere amidst the most difficult challenges and hardships, trials and difficulties we may encounter in our path and journey as faithful Christians and evangelising disciples of the Lord. Let us all commit ourselves anew to the Lord and let us all go forth with zeal and love for God, doing all that we can to proclaim the salvation of God and His Resurrection, His truth and love for us, by living our lives in the way that is aligned with God and His path, and to do what we can to lead many others towards Our Lord and Saviour, the Risen Lord, Jesus Christ. May the blessings of the Risen Christ, our Lord be with us always this Easter season, with our loved ones, always! Amen.