Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Lord contained within the Sacred Scriptures in which we have received today, all of us are encouraged and strengthened by the words and the stories of how the Lord had guided, protected and provided for His people in their hour of need. We are constantly being reminded again and again, that the Lord is always with us, by our side, guiding and helping us to go through the journey of our lives, as we follow Him faithfully and as we walk in His presence, carrying out His will and doing our part as Christians, that is as those whom God had called and chosen, and all of us who have accepted Him as our Lord, Saviour and King. Each and every one of us are truly fortunate because all the great love that God has always shown us.
In our first reading today, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, we heard of how St. Paul and St. Silas, one of his partners in missionary works across the Mediterranean region, faced great trouble in Philippi in the then Roman Greece, as they were despised by the slave owners of the region, who found their messages of Christian hope and emancipation, of the coming of the Lord’s help and assistance, and the equality between all mankind a truly dangerous one, as that had turned more and more of their own slaves into the Christian faith, and not few among those slave owners must have thought that there was a chance that the slaves might even turn against their own masters or disobey them because of the teachings of the Christian missionaries.
Hence, we heard how the two of them were put in prison after they were flogged and made to suffer, and they suffered, although not for long, because the Lord was always with all of His disciples, and He would aid and help them in their time and hour of need, according to His will. It was not the time for St. Paul or St. Silas yet to suffer prison for a long time or martyrdom back then, and hence, as we heard, an earthquake happened, which broke open their prison and made many others to be free as well. The jailor was so afraid of the repercussions of what had happened, that he almost took his own life if not for the intervention from the two disciples, who convinced him not to do so. And not just that, the jailor and his whole family was even convinced and became members of the Church, gotten baptised because of this event.
In a sense, what we have heard in the occasion of the earthquake was truly very symbolic indeed. As it did not just physically broke the chains holding the disciples, but also that of the many other people that were imprisoned with them. And with regards to the jailor himself and his whole family, this represented the breaking of the chains of sin and evil that had held them up, dominated them and kept them from the salvation in God. The Lord was not just protecting His faithful ones, but He even used the opportunity to open up the doors to more people who came to believe in Him because of the misfortune that had faced His disciples, and what was a hard time for the disciples of the Lord, became even yet another opportunity for the salvation of more souls.
In our Gospel passage today, we heard the Lord Jesus speaking to His disciples, in which He reassured them that the Helper, the Holy Spirit, would come upon them, and would guide all of them. He told them beforehand that although they would not see Him anymore eventually, as He would go and ascend, returning to His heavenly Throne after He died and then risen from the dead, but He would always be with them, guiding and protecting them all, through the Holy Spirit that would encourage, strengthen and help them on their path to righteousness and to fulfil His will and commands, in doing whatever that He had told and guided them all to do. The Lord wants us all to know this as well, so that each and every one of us may come to know that He has given us so much to help and lead us down the path that He has called us to walk in.
Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, how do we then walk in the path of the Lord? We have to come and spend the time to listen to the words of the Lord speaking in our hearts and minds, and open ourselves to the guidance of the Holy Spirit present within us all. That also means each one of us should trust the Lord ever more in our lives, following Him wholeheartedly each day and at every moments. All of us are reminded that in the Lord alone we will have true hope and consolation, and as we recall how He had guided many of His servants throughout the history of the Church, all of us are therefore called to renew and deepen our faith in Him. Can we do this, brothers and sisters in Christ? Many of us have become apathetic and lukewarm in faith, and we are reminded that we should rekindle the strong and genuine love that we should have in the Lord.
This day, having heard all these from the word of God and more, let us all hence turn towards the Lord, our most loving God with renewed conviction and faith. Let us all embrace the Lord with renewed dedication and commitment to Him, and let us strive to seek Him and to walk down the path that He has shown us, embracing the love and compassion that He has always given us all these while. Let us be strengthened with hope and be encouraged by the examples of the Holy Apostles and disciples of the Lord. Let us not easily be disheartened especially if we faced hardships and persecutions by the world, oppressions and challenges from those who disagree with us and refuse to believe in the Lord like us. Instead, let us all make use of every opportunities to allow the Lord to lead and guide us ever more, as we continue walking down the path that He has led us all into.
May the Risen Lord, our Saviour, Jesus Christ, our most loving God and Good Shepherd, be with us always, be with His Church, and may the Holy Spirit be our inspiration, strength and guide. May the Lord bless our every works and good efforts for His greater glory, and may He help us all to persevere through all the hardships and challenges that we may have to face in this world. Amen.