Liturgical Colour : Red
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, all of us are reminded of the works of God in creating the whole entire world, the entire Universe and existence that we are living in today, and we are reminded of the love with which God has created each and every one of us. He loves us all, and He creates everything because He wants us to share in the love that He has, overflowing and ever present from His Being, permeating all creation and all of existence. We are all reminded of just how wonderful all of His creations are and most importantly, of Who it is that we serve and believe in, that is none other than the Lord Himself, the Almighty Master and Lord of all Creation, and we have to carry on this belief in our daily lives, just as the saints have reminded us through theirs.
In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of Genesis the account of the creation of the world from the very beginning of time. He created everything from nothingness as He alone above all else and beyond all else was, is and will always exist, from before the beginning of time, as we believe in God Who is Almighty and Eternal, and each members of the Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. At the moment of creation, as we heard in our first reading passage today, we are reminded that God was present in all things and is the One carrying out the works of creation. The Father’s will embodied the Creation, while the Son, the Word of God, is the One that made everything into being, just as the Lord spoke ‘Let there be light’, and light came to being. Meanwhile, the Holy Spirit is everywhere as mentioned, present at all places and in the nothingness before Creation.
God showed His might to us, by creating all things all around us, everything that we have ever known, all of the living and non-living things in this world and beyond. He made all things because He wants us all to share in His creation, and He made us all especially in His own image, to be the most beloved among all of His created beings, and we have also been given dominion over all things, as stewards and caretakers of all creation, to be the ones who are responsible over the governance over our world, to make good use of what we have been blessed with and to be kind and good to our nature and world as well. We are all reminded today of the immense nature of God’s ever present love and kindness, His compassion and good will towards us all in how He has provided for us everything we have in this world, is a constant reminder and urging for us all to stay true to our faith in Him.
In our Gospel passage today, we then heard of the short account from the Gospels, regarding the work and ministry of the Lord among His people, as the Lord Jesus Himself, the Son of God, the same Word of God, Co-Eternal with the Father, present before the beginning of time, and the One through Whom God created the whole world, has come into our very midst, taking up our human existence and nature and being born into this world, to walk in our midst in the flesh, approachable and tangible to us. Thus, through Jesus Christ our Lord, we have come to behold the whole great love of God manifested before us and present among us, and we are reminded yet again just how fortunate for us to have been created amidst the vastness of this Universe, and at the same time just how beloved we are by our Lord and Creator.
Now, through these interesting set of readings today, all of us are called to remember our responsibilities as Christians to be faithful to God and to focus ourselves and our lives on Him, as we continue to lead a more worthy Christian life in our world today. Each and every one of us are God’s beloved people, and He has revealed Himself wholly and thoroughly through His Son, Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, as well as through His Church and disciples, and also through the Holy Spirit Who has come down upon us and has been given to us all through the Holy Sacraments. The Lord has revealed Himself, His truth and love to us, so that we may come to love Him even more and come closer to Him, as He desires that we may all be reconciled and fully reunited to Himself, and no longer be separated from Him due to our sins and disobedience.
And as Christians, all of us are called to shine with the light of God’s truth and love, and our lives should be sources of inspiration and hope for many others, in how we live our lives centred on Him and His Law and commandments, and how our actions, words and deeds truly proclaim the glory and greatness of God, and full of the same love which God has lavished on us and which we now are expected to embody and show in our own daily living as well. We have the saints and the martyrs throughout the history of the Church to look upon for examples, and today in particular, I want all of us to look upon the great examples shown by St. Paul Miki and his Companions, the Twenty-Six Holy Martyrs of Japan, who were martyred a few centuries ago in terrible persecution, and whose faith and courage inspired many ever since.
St. Paul Miki and his Companions in martyrdom lived through during difficult time to be Christians in Japan. After having enjoyed a great period of flourishing and rapid expansion, which saw hundreds of thousands being converted and brought up in the Christian faith in Japan, during the last years of the Warring Periods, the authorities then under the leadership of Toyotomi Hideyoshi began to become suspicious and hostile against Christians, and began a period of increasingly intense persecution against the followers of the Lord. Due to the misunderstandings and political rivalries at that time, and fear of the foreign influences, Christian missionaries and laymen alike were persecuted, and twenty-six of them, including St. Paul Miki, a Jesuit seminarian studying to become a priest, were arrested and condemned to death.
They were ordered to march from the Imperial Capital of Kyoto towards the city of Nagasaki in western part of Japan, where the biggest Christian population and community was, a distance of almost a thousand kilometres on foot, while being tortured and humiliated along the way. Yet, St. Paul Miki and his Companions remained firm in their faith and stayed courageous and true to their commitment to God, and it was told that they sang the ‘Te Deum’ hymn all throughout the entire journey to their martyrdom. In Nagasaki, atop the hill where a shrine now stands in their honour, the Twenty-Six Holy Martyrs were crucified and impaled with lances, and were martyred for their continued dedication to God, glorifying God by their faith and life. They inspired many other Christians who remained firm in their Christian calling and devotion.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, having heard of the great faith and conviction of the Holy Martyrs of Japan, St. Paul Miki and his Companions, let us all therefore dedicate ourselves to the Lord in the same way as well. Let us all commit ourselves to live our lives most worthily so that we may indeed glorify the Lord by our lives, and that we may carry out whatever vocations and calling that the Lord has called us all to do, and blessed us with the gifts and talents for. May the Lord continue to guide and strengthen us in our journey of faith through life. St. Paul Miki and Companions, Holy Martyrs of Japan, pray for us! Amen.