Saturday, 6 May 2023 : 4th Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, all of us are reminded of the need for us all to have faith in the Lord and to be humble in listening to Him and allowing Him to speak to us in the depth of our hearts and minds. Sometimes we have allowed our ego and pride to get the better of us, and those things prevented us from being able to come close to the Lord and becoming His true disciples and followers. We are all reminded to have this strong and genuine faith in the Lord, committing ourselves and our efforts, time and attention to glorify Him in all of the moments of our lives. As Christians, all of us should be great role models and inspirations for others all around us in how we live our lives.

In our first reading today, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, we heard of the works of St. Paul and St. Barnabas, who preached and spoke courageously and zealously about the salvation in God which have been made available to all the people, be it to the Jewish people or the non-Jewish ones, also known as the Gentiles among the Jews then. The word Gentile itself came from the Latin word ‘gentes’ which means clan and family, that in the context of the then relationship between the Jewish and non-Jewish people became associated with the non-Jewish people, and that was how the Jews called those who did not belong to their race and to their beliefs, with some considering the Gentiles as being pagans, impure, evil and wicked, being unworthy of God, while they viewed themselves as being superior, better and more worthy of God.

This stemmed forth from the beliefs of some amongst the Jews that being descended from the ancient people of Israel, the people that God had first called and chosen to be His people, then they had exclusive privileges and access to the Lord, while the Gentiles were barred from similar access because they did not believe in the Lord in the same way as the Jewish people had done, especially referring to the way how the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law had done, in their very extensive and strict observance of the Jewish Law and customs as passed down unto them from the time of Moses, and which was modified further with numerous rules and regulations. All those things unfortunately made the Law becoming more and more cumbersome, and losing its initial meaning and purpose of bringing the people of God closer to their Lord and Master.

In truth, God did not want to save only His people Israel exclusively, as it has always been His intent to save every one of us, all the children of mankind, regardless of our race and origins, because He loves each and every single one of us all the same. The Jewish people and their ancestors, the Israelites, were merely the ones who have been called by the Lord first, and it was through them that the salvation of God, made manifest in His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, came through from. He wants everyone to realise that His love is ever enduring and universal, and everyone has the same chance to come to His love, to be reunited and reconciled with our most loving God, Father and Creator. And our Risen Lord is the Way through Whom all of us can find the sure path to this salvation and grace, the path of eternal life and redemption.

The Gospel passage today made it even clearer of this love of God that has been manifested and made real for us through Christ, the Son of God incarnate in the flesh, has indeed come into our midst, and He has shown us all the true love that God has always kept for each and every one of us. This same love is carried on all the way to the Cross, promising and guaranteeing for all of us who are faithful to the Lord, the promise of eternal life and grace with God. The Lord has reached out to us through His Son, gathering all of us who have been lost to His Father, because of our sins, as our Good Shepherd and Guide, leading and guiding us so that we may find our path and our way to our loving Father. Through Christ, all of us have received the pardon and forgiveness, and yet, one that requires us to embrace Him and His love and mercy wholeheartedly and fully.

However, the problem facing many of us today, is just like that of the Jewish people in the past, that many of us think that we are all alright and have no need for God or His mercy. Many of us are too preoccupied with our many worldly desires, concerns and attachments, all of our pursuits for fame, glory and worldly pleasures among other things which prevented us from finding our path towards the Lord and His salvation. Worse still, we also tend to become judgmental of others and thinking that we are better and more worthy, while the fact is that many of us are in need of God’s healing and mercy, and many of us have also become lukewarm and wayward in our way of life, as many of us have forgotten about God’s Law and precepts, no longer obeying Him and His commandments as we should, living our lives the way we want it to be. Today hence all of us are reminded to purge from ourselves all traces of this ego and pride barring us from God and the fullness of His love.

All of us have been given the chance and the time for us to turn once again towards the Lord with renewed faith and zeal, with the devotion and commitment to serve Him once again. We have been given many opportunities to return to the Lord and to His path, and we have been shown many guidance and help along the way. But it is truly up to us to make the commitment and the conscious effort to seek the Lord wholeheartedly, and we have many good examples in the Apostles, the innumerable saints and martyrs, our holy predecessors, who should be good role models and inspirations for all of us to follow, so that hopefully we ourselves will be good Christians and disciples of the Lord ourselves.

Let us remember the mission that each and every one of us as Christians have in our lives to be exemplary disciples and role models for one another, for our fellow brothers and sisters. And may the Risen Lord, Our Lord Jesus Christ, Our Saviour and King continue to guide and bless us in all things, and may He help each and every one of us to persevere through the challenges facing us in how we live our Christians lives with faith. Amen.

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