Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, all of us are called and reminded to be missionary and evangelising disciples and followers of God, in carrying out our duties and responsibilities as Christians faithfully in our lives and in doing the will of God at every possible opportunities. The Lord has called on all of us to be His beloved people, to walk in His path and to be exemplary in our lives so that everyone who witness our works and our way of life may truly know that we are the people of God, and that they may also know God Himself through us. Through our Scripture passages today, we have also heard and are reminded that challenges will likely come our way in the midst of our ministry, and trials and hardships may be part of our lives as we journey with faith in God’s path, but we must always persevere and keep up hope.
In our first reading today, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, we heard of the continued works of St. Paul and St. Barnabas in their mission in proclaiming the word of God and His truth, amidst the trials and challenges that they had to face, and despite the oppositions and hardships that they had to endure. St. Paul and St. Barnabas were struck at by the provocation of the Jewish people and those who opposed their efforts and works in proclaiming the Good News of God in the region of Lystra. They were stoned and were almost left for dead if not for God’s protection and guidance, which still remained with them throughout their journey. Yet, that did not dampen their spirits at all, and the two Apostles continued to carry on their mission with zeal and commitment, dedicating their time and effort to glorify the Lord and to proclaim His Good News to more and more of the people. They laboured hard and long so that by their dedication and hard work, they might make God known to more people.
In our Gospel passage today, the Lord also reassured His disciples, telling them all not to be afraid as He would always be with them, guiding and protecting them on their path, not allowing them to be crushed and destroyed. He would give them true peace and happiness, joy and satisfaction of having walked and being present in His love and grace. The Lord Jesus reminded His disciples that He is truly the manifestation of God’s perfect and ever enduring love, which has often been shown to us, given to us so that we may know that He has truly been with us throughout the way, not leaving us behind despite us and our predecessors having often abandoned and rejected Him. He has come to us so that we may have sure path towards eternal life and salvation through Him, our Lord, Saviour and King.
As we heard in our first reading today, the Apostles continued to carry on their missions and works, reaching out to the various communities of people and ministering to them. To those who have not yet known the Lord, the Apostles proclaimed the words of God’s truth and revealed Him to all of them, patiently showing them the love of God, teaching them about His precepts and ways, and living their lives as good Christian role models, in loving one another and caring for each other, and in building a loving and caring community of Christians, the holy people that God had called and chosen. We heard how the Apostles appointed the elders and overseers, which we now know as bishops, to be the guide for the people and community of the faithful, spreading the joy of the Gospel and leading more and more people to the light of Christ and His salvation.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is the same mission which God has entrusted to us and commanded us to do, continuing whatever good works that His Apostles and faithful ones had started and faithfully carried out. The works of the Church, the Apostles and the many other missionaries of the Lord are still aplenty, and there are truly still many areas where the Lord is not yet known, and there are still parts and areas where the faith of the people of God in their Lord and Saviour had become lax and weakened. God has therefore called on all of us, on each and every one of us to follow Him and His commandments. We are all sent out to proclaim His Good News and salvation, to show His love and truth to the whole world, to the people of all the nations, just as how the Apostles like St. Paul and St. Barnabas among others had done.
However, many of us are often too distracted with our many preoccupations and temptations in life. We often spent a lot of time and effort seeking for worldly sustenance and attachments, for worldly comforts and desires, all of which often suffocated the faith and the love for God inside of us. Many of us have not carried out the actions and works that we should have done, and the reason was simple, that is we are too busy with ourselves and our various pursuits and desires in life, our many attachments and other distractions that we simply did not have the time to spend for the Lord. And if we have faltered in our efforts to do what the Lord had asked us to do, or worse still, in doing what are contrary and wicked in the sight of God and others, how can we then call ourselves as true and genuine Christians, brothers and sisters in Christ?
Therefore, that is why during this time of Easter, all of us are reminded to return the focus of our lives to the Risen Lord, our Saviour, to His truth and love, to the Good News and everything that He has brought unto us. Let us all remember the great love by which He has always shown us, in having come down into our midst and reaching out to us with most generous love, and let us recall how He continues to patiently care for us and calls us all unto Himself, sending us many servants and messengers, to help and remind us, and guide us in the right path towards Him. Let us all remember the grace and love that He has shown us, in not letting us all to suffer the persecutions and hardships of this world, the many trials and challenges of this life by ourselves. He is in fact, always there for us, and He has not left us at all, and supported us whenever we needed help and guidance.
Therefore, let us all give thanks to our most loving God and endeavour to do better in living our lives as most faithful Christians from now on if we have not done so. Let us all be good role models and examples to our fellow brothers and sisters, and do whatever we can to glorify the Lord by our lives and works at all times. May the Risen Lord, our Saviour and Guide, our King and Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, be with us always and bless our works, be with His Church and all who have laboured in His Name. Amen.