Saturday, 15 April 2023 : Saturday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Sacred Scriptures, all of us are reminded of the mission that the Lord has entrusted to all of us as the members of His Church, that is to go forth and to proclaim His truth and love to the people of the whole world, and to announce His Good News and salvation to all. As part of the same Church of God we share the same calling and mission to reach out to more and more people all around us, to bring forth the true joy of Easter, that is none other than the Risen Christ Himself, Our Saviour, to all of them. As Christians, all of us should spend the time and effort to proclaim the Risen Lord through our every actions and works, in our every works and good efforts, doing whatever we can to proclaim the truth and love of God to all those whom we encounter in life.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Acts of the Apostles the culmination of the story of the miraculous healing of the crippled beggar who was sitting by the Beautiful Gate of the Temple of Jerusalem. That beggar had been crippled for a long time and the Apostles St. Peter and St. John had healed him from his afflictions in the Name of the Lord Jesus, the Risen Lord and Saviour. This immediately brought about a great amazement among the people, and an equally rapid attempt by the members of the Sanhedrin or the Jewish High Council, in trying to snuff out the fledgling and rapidly growing popularity of the Christian faith, the belief in the truth and teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ, in His Resurrection and other things, which those chief priests, Pharisees and other members of the Sanhedrin found to be offensive and undesirable.

We heard how those same members of the Sanhedrin were astonished and amazed at the great wisdom shown by the two Apostles, who were merely fishermen from the lake of Galilee, illiterate and from poor background. Yet, they spoke with such wisdom and eloquence, inspired and strengthened by the Holy Spirit that God had sent to them, that they were conflicted because they had seen such great signs and wonders being performed in the Name of the Lord Jesus, and yet, on the other hand, they were still stubborn in their refusal to accept the truth and the teachings that the Lord had brought with Him, and they were still adamant in their opposition to the Lord, considering Him as a blasphemer, criminal and as a False Messiah. Yet, the Apostles spoke courageously despite them being alone in the chamber against the whole multitudes of the Sanhedrin, preaching the truth of Christ to all of them.

The Apostles still courageously and fervently proclaimed the Risen Lord despite having been warned and threatened by the members of the Sanhedrin, and blatantly spoke that they could not remain silent or not to speak of what they themselves had heard and seen, and that they had to obey the commandments and the missions that the Lord had entrusted to them, rather than to obey the earthly orders and enforcements from those Sanhedrin officials. St. Peter and St. John, together with the other disciples of the Lord therefore continued to labour hard for the greater glory of God, spending much of their time and efforts, their whole lives in the service of God. They travelled extensively from place to place, reaching out to the people of God, proclaiming the Risen Lord, His truth and resurrection to more and more people, including to many of the Gentiles, the non-Jewish people.

In the midst of all that ministry and work, the disciples of the Lord and the faithful missionaries encountered great successes, with many among the Jews and the Gentiles alike turning towards the Lord, becoming members of the Christian faithful. They also encountered many challenges and trials in the midst of performing their works, as they faced bitter opposition and challenges not just from the Jewish authorities, the same members of the Sanhedrin mentioned earlier, and the efforts that those people had done in placing obstacles and hardships in the path of the Lord’s Apostles and disciples, but not only that, as the missionaries and Christian servants also faced challenges and opposition from many of the local rulers and authorities in the many places that they had visited and ministered in. They also faced opposition and persecution from the mighty Roman overlords and rulers, who began to persecute Christians throughout the Empire, a persecution that would last several centuries.

Yet, despite all those trials and challenges, the faithful disciples of the Lord still went forth and proclaim the truth of God nonetheless, fearlessly and courageously much as how the two Apostles, St. Peter and St. John had done. Many had to encounter a lot of hardships and struggles, but they were inspired by the examples of those who had come before them and faithfully served the Lord despite the trials. Not few even gave their lives in martyrdom to defend their Christian faith and the truth of God, and this served to inspire even more people, passing down the fundamental beliefs that they had received from the Apostles themselves, continuing what the Lord in our Gospel passage today had told His disciples, that all of His disciples and followers ought to go forth to the whole world, proclaim His Good News and make all to be His disciples.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, now, as we continue to progress through this season of Easter, let us ask ourselves if we are able to do what the Apostles and the other disciples of the Lord had done, in doing what the Lord had told and entrusted to them to do, in all the wonderful and great things that each one of them had done in their various capacities and ministries. Each one of us have received various gifts, abilities, talents, opportunities, blessings and graces, through which we certainly can do our part to proclaim the truth of God more and more in our various communities and in the many opportunities presented to us. The question for us now is, are we willing to commit the effort and the time to do so? By looking at the great examples shown by our holy predecessors, can we all be inspired to follow them as well?

May the Risen Lord, Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, continue to strengthen and guide us all in our journey of life, so that each one of us may continue to serve Him faithfully, making good use of whatever He had presented to us, and doing whatever we can to glorify Him by our lives. Let us all be good examples and source of inspiration for everyone all around us, and let us all be the shining beacons of Christ’s Light, Hope and truth at all times. May God bless all of us and be with us always. Amen.

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