Friday, 19 May 2023 : 6th 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, each one of us are reminded of the hope and strength which we have in the Lord, our God and Saviour, and all of us are called to remain faithful to Him, not to give in to despair and hopelessness because no matter what challenges and trials we may face or encounter along the way, we will always be with the Lord by our side, providing for us and guiding us throughout the journey of our lives. The Lord has always loved us and cared for us, and He has always blessed and provided us with the assistance in various forms and ways. Through all these the Lord has helped His Church and faithful ones to persevere even amidst the most challenging moments throughout history.

In our first reading today, all of us heard from the Acts of the Apostles about the works that the Lord had done through St. Paul, His Apostle in the region of Achaia, which is in today’s area of Greece. St. Paul faced a lot of hardships and obstacles from the people of the Jewish diaspora living there, who accused St. Paul of all sorts of false accusations and with the attempts to discredit and harm him, as they opposed the Apostle’s efforts in proclaiming the Good News of the Gospel and the truth of Christ in their community and also among the Gentiles in the region. St. Paul spoke courageously before the governor against all those who opposed him and accused him of wrong things, and stood by his faith regardless of all these trials and challenges that he had to face. We heard how those people who opposed his efforts were really stubborn and even went to desperate methods to get St. Paul to be persecuted.

Essentially, like what we have heard from the Lord Jesus Himself in our Gospel passage today, that the life as Christians is truly not an easy journey for any one of us. For some of us like St. Paul himself had experienced, there may be even tangible obstacles, opposition and hardships facing us. But most importantly, we should not let all these deter us from following the Lord. The Lord Jesus Himself said that there will be time of sorrow just as there will be time of joy, using the example and analogy of a woman who was going through childbirth as a comparison, in order to bring His point across to us. Those who have gone through childbirth would know that the birthing process is one that is painful, challenging and difficult just as the whole pregnancy period itself may be hard and challenging for many women. However, the moment the baby is born, usually the joy and relief of seeing one’s own baby surpass even all those pain and sorrow.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us are called to remember that being Christians do not mean that we are going to have a smooth and enjoyable journey in life, or to have blessings and good things all throughout our lives. Some of us misunderstood and failed to realise this fact, and failed to see the examples and the precedent of the Apostles and the early Christians, who suffered a lot and faced a lot of hardships and tribulations for their faith. Not only that, but even right up to this day, there are still often rampant and continued persecutions against Christians, lest we think that persecutions and hardships for Christians are merely a thing for the past. The Church and Christians around the world often still have to face challenges and trials, even just for remaining faithful and true to the teachings and truth of the Lord, and some faced even greater challenges and have to practice their faith in secret.

As we are reminded of all these things today, we are called to remain steadfast in faith, dedicating ourselves anew to the Lord, and to dedicate more of our time, effort and attention to Him, especially if we have not yet done so. As Christians, it is not enough for us just to go and call ourselves as Christians and do nothing at all, thinking that our baptism alone is sufficient to save us. For as the Lord and His disciples themselves had said, and as the Church fathers had taught us, that faith without good works and all the things done in living out that faith, is a dead faith, and dead faith is nothing better than faithlessness and hypocrisy, and those things will not avail us at all on the day of judgment. Instead, each and every one of us have to be truly faithful to the Lord in all things, and doing whatever we can in order to fulfil what the Lord had called us to do, and had entrusted for us to do in our own lives.

Now, as we carry on living our lives as Christians these days, are we inspired to follow the examples of our holy predecessors, the saints and martyrs in how courageous they have been, how steadfast they were in defending their faith and in living their lives according to the Christian principles and the teachings of the Church? How willing are we to commit ourselves to follow the Lord and dedicate ourselves each day to serve the Lord ever more faithfully in all things? Each and every one of us as Christians are reminded that we should do our part in becoming inspiration, role model and being good examples for one another and for all those whom we encounter so that our actions, words and deeds, our way of life may inspire others and may help others to know the Lord and to find out about His Good News and truth.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore remain steadfast in faith and commit ourselves ever more wholeheartedly to the Lord, remembering how loving He has been towards us, and how patient He has been in loving us all these while. Let us recall whatever the Lord has called us to do in our lives and in whichever calling we have been called to do, be it as a priest or any other members of the holy orders, as a consecrated men and women in the various religious orders, monasteries and friaries, as members of lay organisations and in our Church ministries, and as members of faithful Christian families, be it as husband and wife, or as parents and children. Each and every one of us have important roles to play in the works of the Church, and we should do our best to fulfil our calling in life as Christians.

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. May He, the One and only True God, shine the light of His truth and love to the whole of this darkened world. Amen.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.