Saturday, 27 May 2023 : 7th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Augustine of Canterbury, Bishop (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 all of us to continue living our lives faithfully as Christians at all times, in carrying out the will of God and in doing what we can to proclaim His truth and Good News in all possible opportunities that God has provided to us, following the good examples that the Apostles and many other saints and holy people of God, our holy predecessors had done. Each one of us have been called and sent to do whatever the Lord has willed for us to do, in our respective various areas of responsibility, and in whichever places and communities that God has desired us to be, all according to His will.

In our first reading today, we heard of the ministry of St. Paul the Apostle who had come to Rome at the end of his long travel from Jerusalem and after enduring a shipwreck that brought him to the island of Malta and gave him the opportunity to evangelise to the people there. St. Paul went to Rome upon answering God’s call, as He told St. Paul of everything that he would do for His glory, in fulfilling His wishes, that St. Paul ought to proclaim the Good News to the faithful at the very heart and centre of the Roman Empire. The Lord has sent St. Paul to perform His good works among His people, and through the Apostle, He laid the firm foundation of His Church, strengthened by the faith and the dedication of His Apostles like St. Paul, St. Peter and others.

As we heard in our Gospel passage today, we listened to the conversation between the Lord Jesus and His disciples, in which St. Peter asked the Lord about the saying that one of them, the youngest among them, St. John the Apostle, to whom the Lord had entrusted His own mother Mary, would not die till the day the Lord comes again. The Lord then told St. Peter that if He wanted St. John or anyone to live till the day He comes, that is His decision and His prerogative alone, and everything will indeed happen as He desires it to be. In a way, this would be fulfilled as St. John was the one to whom the Lord showed the heavenly and otherworldly vision of the end of time, which he recorded and wrote in the Book of Revelations.

Thus, in a way, St. John indeed did not die before he saw the coming of the Lord, as in his visions, St. John did indeed see the triumphant Second Coming of the Lord, and wrote about it in his Book so that all of us, the faithful people of God may remain firm in our faith and know what is coming ahead for us. All of us are reminded that each and every one of us as God’s followers are called to carry on with our mission, in our respective areas of responsibility and calling, in our own communities and in wherever the Lord has called and sent us to, just like how He has called and sent His Apostles. Each and every one of us are members and parts of the same Church of God, and hence, we are part of the ever growing efforts and works of the Church to reach out to more and more souls out there.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, at the penultimate day of the season of Easter, with the Solemnity of the Pentecost Sunday happening just tomorrow, all of us are therefore reminded that we are all part of the Church’s important evangelising mission and works, in reaching out to all those who are still not yet aware of the Lord, His truth and Good News, and everything that He has done for us. All of us are parts of this missionary work, the same mission which He Himself has entrusted and commanded to His disciples, that is to go forth to all the people of all the nations, and to baptise them all in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

All of us are strengthened and encouraged with the hope that the Lord has given us, and through the Holy Spirit that He has bestowed upon us, His Church. Through the guidance and strength that we have been provided with, we have gone truly very far in our journey of faith and work, and we have already grown ever stronger in our efforts and works to glorify Him and in doing whatever it is that the Lord has taught us to do. And each of our actions and contributions do matter, and we should not be disheartened if we think that we have not done a lot for the Lord. After all, each and every one of our actions are part of the greater works of the Church, and we must realise that no one can do all those great works all by themselves. All of us have to help and assist each other, and help one another in fulfilling what the Lord has called us all to do, and strengthen one another that we may always be firm in our faith and dedication.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all hence renew our commitment and desire to serve and follow the Lord, to do His will and to proclaim His Good News just as the Apostles and our other holy predecessors had done in the past. All of us have been given the various talents, abilities and gifts in order to do God’s will and to carry out our missions in life. Each and every one of us should do whatever we can so that we may inspire more and more souls to come closer towards God and His grace and love. We must also realise that eachh one of us are capable of doing just so many great and wonderful things if we put our heart into our efforts, and do whatever we can to obey the Lord and His commandments, and to do what we can to serve the Lord at all times.

St. Augustine of Canterbury, whose feast we celebrate today, can inspire all of us in our actions and works as well, since this great saint and man of God had given his whole life to the service and the glory of God. He was a monk who was entrusted with the mission to proclaim the Christian faith in the British Isles, to proclaim the truth of God to those who have lost their path and to those who have not yet heard or known about the Christian faith and truth, the Good News of God. He was sent by Pope St. Gregory the Great to evangelise to the people of the British Isles, especially to England, where he ministered faithfully for many years, as the first Archbishop of Canterbury, establishing the first firm foundation for the Church in England. His courage and dedication should serve as inspiration to all of us as Christians.

May the Risen Lord, through His faithful Apostles and disciples, St. Paul the Apostle, St. Peter and St. John, among many others, including that of St. Augustine of Canterbury, continue to strengthen all of us in our faith. May the Lord continue to empower us all and give us the strength and courage to walk ever more faithfully in the path that He has shown us and led us to. Through the Holy Spirit, may He continue to inflame in us the spirit and the passion to do His will, as always. May the Lord be with us always and bless our every good works and endeavours, now and always. Amen.

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