Monday, 26 January 2015 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Timothy and St. Titus, Bishops (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast of two of the disciples of St. Paul, that is St. Timothy and St. Titus. Yesterday, we celebrate the feast of their benefactor’s conversion, that is the conversion of St. Paul after he met the Lord Himself on the way to Damascus. St. Timothy and St. Titus followed St. Paul in his journeys on different and separate occasions, and they helped him in the spreading of the Good News of God to the people.

St. Timothy and St. Titus were both made and appointed as bishops of the early Church, the successors of the Holy Apostles. They were among the first bishops of the Church, who were to continue the works of the Apostles and the first disciples of Christ, carrying with them the same mission which Jesus our Lord had given to His Apostles, that is to bring all mankind to God, and to bear to them the witness of the Good News of Christ, of His life, His works, His death and resurrection from the dead, and to baptise them in the Name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.

In the first reading, we heard about how the Apostles passed on their mantle of leadership and service to the new generation of leaders, by the means of the laying of the hands on top of the heads of those who have been chosen as bishops, or overseers, that is those who had been entrusted with leadership in the Church, to become the leaders and shepherds of the people of God, overseeing the works of the priests and deacons in the areas given to them as their jurisdictions.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in the Gospel today from the Gospel according to St. Luke, we heard about how Jesus appointed the seventy-two disciples to be His servants and helpers, indeed to help the work of the Holy Apostles, by ministering to the people of God, preaching the Good News, healing the sick and those possessed by evil spirits, and to be shepherds to the people of God.

They were sent like sheep among wolves, to bring the Light of Christ among a people who dwelled in the darkness. And that also means that they have to endure dangers and persecutions while they conduct their mission, and they have to bare their own lives on the frontlines of the battle against the forces of darkness of this world. Such are the responsibilities these people bear for the sake of the Lord, and they have been chosen to bear those burden, that many would be saved.

St. Timothy and St. Titus, as well as the many other bishops and elders of the Church kept the faithful and the Church afloat amidst the difficult times, times of persecution and great martyrdoms of the people of God. Many bishops were martyred with their people, with the priests and the servants of God, but thanks to them, we have the faith which we received through our priests, and which they themselves received through the long chain of succession from bishops and priests and all the servants of God, passed on by the laying on of the hands.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us who heard these words of the Lord and the testimony of the faith of our predecessors ought to reflect, on what we need to do and what we can do to continue their works for the sake of the Lord and ultimately for the salvation of all mankind. We still have much work to do, and we should not remain idle, but we must be proactive in our faith.

This means that we have to live our faith with concrete and real actions. We have to love our brethren and help those who are in need. Practice our faith and let it be filled with genuine intention and not just for show or for garnering the praise of others. Let us all ask for the intercession of St. Timothy and St. Titus, that they may continue to inspire us, and pray for us, that our faith may be strengthened and become example for others to follow. May Almighty God be with us always. Amen.

Monday, 10 November 2014 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today it is mentioned to us in the readings from the Holy Scriptures, of a very important role and position in the hierarchy of the Church, which all of us indeed have to be aware of, and have to adhere to. St. Paul in his letter to Titus, his friend and fellow servant of God, while he was in captivity in Rome, mentioned of the criteria which should be strictly observed when the overseers of God’s faithful ones are chosen.

And in the Gospel reading, Jesus warned His disciples against creating scandals in the faith, and as such, they should avoid creating scandal among the faithful and in the Church. Such scandals are harmful when it causes damage both physical and spiritual to the faithful and to the Church as a whole, and Jesus condemned those who have brought others into damnation because of their actions that brought about scandal and therefore not in accordance to what Jesus had taught His disciples.

How are the readings today link to each other? The bishops are very important building blocks of the Church, as the key figures that link the laity and the priests, to the Vicar of Christ, the Pope, who leads all the faithful, in union with the love of God, the true Head of the Church. The bishops, from the Latin term of their title, episcopus which means literally overseers, are truly the overseers of the faithful in their faith.

It is important that the candidates of bishops are first scrutinised thoroughly before one of them, who is found worthy and good, is selected as the bishop of a diocese. That is because the growth of the spiritual life and the well-being of the faithful ones of the Lord, depend on the state of the spiritual life of the shepherd of the flock, that is the bishop, who is the shepherd entrusted with the care of the people of God, the flock of Christ, in his diocese to be under his protection and care.

Jesus often mentioned in His teachings that we should not be hypocrites who merely show an external aspect of our faith and devotion to God, for others to see us, or even worse, for them to praise us because of what we have done. If our faith is like this, and if we pretend to be faithful for such purposes, then we may be held accountable for these actions.

It is precisely like the actions of the Pharisees, as well as the teachers of the Law, who proudly present the way they lived their faith to the people, and basked in their praise. In turn, they also misled the people by not practicing the Law with the whole of their hearts, and instead they served their own glory and purposes rather than serving the greater purpose of God.

They were bad shepherds, whose actions in opposing the Lord Jesus at every turn and opportunity were truly scandal in the faith. Their way of living and their way of seeing the world around them were also scandals of the faith, such that they were truly worthy of being rebuked endlessly by the Lord, who revealed the truth about their wickedness to the people of God, so that they may be wary of them and therefore also do their best to avoid doing the same as those wicked elders had done.

It was in particular mentioned that those who misled the little children of God are in particular to be blamed for their wickedness and evil. And indeed, those children are truly born pure and blameless, a blank and clean slate upon which, true and genuine teaching of the faith would have brought much goodness. A proper upbringing in faith for these, through proper catechism and role modelling in the faith.

If someone is to corrupt the faith by not doing what he is supposed to do, and worse still, if this person is the appointed shepherd of the people, as bishop and overseer, then it will bring much damnation to those sheep that had been entrusted to the aforementioned bishop. And in the end, the entire Church and the body of the faithful suffer, because of the wickedness and corruption this improperly elected bishop had done for his flock.

Therefore, this is why in our present time today, as it had been for quite a long time, bishops are carefully selected from among the priests, through a careful and extensive process of selection, from a shortlist produced by the diocese, to list down at first, the most worthy, holy, devoted and dedicated among the priests, to be made the bishop.

The final decision is to be done by the Vicar of Christ, the Pope, who through his representatives to the dioceses, the Apostolic nuncios and the delegates, keep in close contact with the various dioceses. Thus, it is why the responsibility and the role of the Pope is so important, as he is the Head of the entire Universal Church, and the ultimate and greatest guardian of the true and orthodox Faith.

That means, the Pope is charged with the final decision on who is truly worthy and who is truly best for the position and role of bishop for the dioceses. It is so that the Church may avoid scandal or any risk of problems that may likely arise if an unworthy individual became who they should not have become. If this happens, then the risk to the faithful sheep of the Lord is truly very, very great.

Thus, in consideration of the roles of the bishops and the Pope, even the position of the Pope, who is also the Bishop of Rome, is very, very carefully chosen, through the conclave, where the Cardinals, carefully selected members of the Church who then elect the most worthy amongst them to be the Supreme Pontiff and leader of the Universal Church.

And today, we celebrate the memory of a great Pope, whose feast we celebrate today, the very first Pope to be accorded with the title of ‘the Great’, in recognition of his great role and fundamental role in the development of the Faith and the Church. He is Pope St. Leo the Great, who lived and reigned during the waning years of the Roman Empire in the West.

Pope St. Leo the Great led the Church at the time when the civil authority and order of the Roman Empire is crumbling, especially in its western regions, including the city of Rome, and the society as it was known then, was under great threat from barbarian attacks. It was for this that Pope St. Leo the Great was mostly known for, that is in his role in stopping the great conqueror, Attila the Hun, from ransacking the Eternal City, or Rome, the Holy City of the Apostles.

When the great conqueror came, and when everyone else, including the Roman Emperor and the civil authorities all hid in fear, this holy servant of God, and the shepherd of the flocks of Christ went forth without fear and with zeal, to meet with the Hunnic king, and by the grace of God, persuaded him to retreat. Such was the courage and faith of this great Pope, that he managed to protect and prevent his flock from suffering.

However, what was less well known is the role which Pope St. Leo the Great played in the Church, and in the combatting of heresies and wickedness among the members of the Church at the time. Ever since the beginnings of the Church, there had been some among the faithful who did not remain true to the teachings of the true Faith, as they syncretised their faith, and they followed their own fancy and heretical ways of the Faith.

Therefore, many Ecumenical Councils were held in the early Church to standardise the true and orthodox teachings of the faith, and to condemn and anathemise all heresies and falsehoods in the teachings of the faith, including the errant and unfaithful bishops who misled many of their faithful, the precise scandal of the Faith mentioned earlier.

Pope St. Leo the Great was instrumental in his role in guiding the Church to keep the orthodox faith against those forces of men, who tried to subvert the teachings of the Faith to suit their own desires, their own purposes and their own wickedness. The teachings of Pope St. Leo the Great, his writings and works remain until even today, a very defining standard of the faith, which even this generation today look up to, in order to maintain the orthodox and true faith.

Therefore, on this special and sacred occasion, let us all come together and pray, pray for our bishops, our priests, and also our Pope, so that all of them will keep strongly the faith entrusted to them. So that they will keep without reservation the sound doctrine of the faith, without bending to the demands and temptations of the flesh and the world.

May Almighty God bless our Church, that day by day, our faith may grow stronger and stronger. That our Church may grow ever more faithful in the Lord. May the bishops, the shepherds of faith remain strong in their faith so that they will lead the faithful, following the examples of Pope St. Leo the Great, and abandoning all forms of fornications and evils, so that no scandal may arise, and the faithful may all benefit greatly from their care and love. God bless us all. Amen.

 

First Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/09/monday-10-november-2014-32nd-week-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-pope-st-leo-the-great-pope-and-doctor-of-the-church-first-reading/

Psalm :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/09/monday-10-november-2014-32nd-week-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-pope-st-leo-the-great-pope-and-doctor-of-the-church-psalm/

Gospel Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/09/monday-10-november-2014-32nd-week-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-pope-st-leo-the-great-pope-and-doctor-of-the-church-gospel-reading/

Full Video of the Episcopal Ordination of Archbishop Julian Leow Beng Kim, Metropolitan Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)

On Monday, 6 October 2014, on the feast of St. Bruno, by the grace and authority of the Apostolic See and the Successor of St. Peter, through Archbishop Joseph Salvador Marino, the Apostolic Nuncio to Malaysia,  Fr. Julian Leow Beng Kim was ordained to the episcopal order by Metropolitan Archbishop John Ha Tiong Hock of Kuching, after he was appointed as the new Metropolitan Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur on 3 July 2014.

The episcopal ordination took place at the Church of the Holy Family at Kajang, Metropolitan Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur.

http://www.gcatholic.org/dioceses/diocese/kual0.htm#56850

Metropolitan Archbishop Julian Leow Beng Kim is the fourth Metropolitan Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, and as the shepherd of the largest diocese in Malaysia and the diocese of the capital city, he is also unofficially the Primate of Malaysia. He has as his suffragan bishops, the Bishops of Penang and Melaka-Johor.

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We wish Archbishop Julian Leow Beng Kim all the best in his new calling as the shepherd of souls in Kuala Lumpur. May he remain faithful and devoted to the orthodox and pure teachings of the Faith and the Church, making no compromises against the forces of darkness arrayed against the Church even as we speak today. May he also be devoted to the sheep he had been entrusted to, and lead them to the true, unblemished and orthodox faith. Amen.

Sunday, 24 August 2014 : 21st Sunday of Ordinary Time, Lay Apostolate Sunday (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard of the Lord and all the truth about Him, which Peter His Apostle proclaimed about Him. Yes, that Jesus is truly the Lord of all, the very Son of the living God and the promised Saviour which many prophets had proclaimed for many ages. And it is this truth that we also believe in, and this is essentially what our faith is all about, that is about we believing in Jesus as the Son of God, He who is the Word made flesh, and born of the Blessed Virgin Mary to be our Saviour.

And today we ought to look at the example of Peter, the disciple of Christ who courageously and without doubt, proclaimed the truth about Christ, that He is the One whom the people of God had awaited for, for a very long time and yet they failed to recognise Him when He came into the world. Some thought He was one of the prophets and some even considered Him as a fraud and an outcast, such as the Pharisees, the elders and the teachers of the Law who were always against Jesus and His works no matter where He went to.

Today we celebrate with the whole Church, the occasion of the Lay Apostolate Sunday, in which we commemorate the role of the laity in the Church of God, and what the laity are expected to do, as part of their role and contribution towards evangelisation and the growth of the Church through the spreading of the Good News of the Holy Gospels.

First we have to understand what is meant by the term laity, which in fact refers to the people of God in the Church who are not part of the group of those who had been ordained to the sacred priesthood or to totally devoted life in religious professions and vocations. The laity or as they are also called the laypeople formed the bulk of the members of the Body of the Church of God.

So what can the laity do as part of the Church, in order to bring forth the truth of the Lord to all the nations? That is why today we celebrate this Lay Apostolate Sunday, for indeed the laity has many things they can do on their hands to help the priests and all the other servants of the Lord, contributing in various ways to help the Church of God, be it in terms of time, money, or other forms of dedications for the good of the faithful.

The priests we have with us today are the successors of the faithful disciples of the Lord, the numerous servants of the Lord since the early days of the Church. And our bishops and popes are the successors of the Apostles of the Lord, who passed on their teaching and healing authority to them through a continuous succession of bishops across the many ages of the past.

But they and their predecessors did not work alone, and the laity, namely the non-ordained members of the Church in their various parts and professions contributed greatly to the efforts of evangelisation and survival of the Church and the faith. Many of the early Church martyrs were of the laity, who in their staunch defense of the faith did not allow themselves to be tempted by the lure of worldly vanities and temptations. They would rather lose their life rather than losing their faith in God.

We have to remember the efforts and the hard work of the laity of the bygone days and strive not to fall on our way towards the Lord. We have to follow in the footsteps of many holy men and women who had gone before us to the Lord, both of the laity and those of the ordained alike. We are an integral part of the Church, and through our actions and our help, we can bring our fellow brethren who are still living in darkness, ever closer to the light of God.

All of us had been called, and some of us may eventually take up the vocations and dedicate ourselves wholly to the Lord to join the priesthood or those others who devoted themselves completely to God. Many of us will remain in our usual life in this world, carrying on what we have always done while remaining faithful to the Lord and to the orthodox teachings and values of the Church. And it is our duty in this increasingly difficult time for the faith, to shore up the defenses of our faith together and help each other to persevere against the increasing persecution of the faithful by the forces of Satan and his allies.

We must be like Peter, who courageously proclaimed his faith and belief in God, and although his faith was shaky at first, even denying Jesus when He was brought in for trial and betrayed by His own people, but Peter persevered on, and eventually he proclaimed his faith and undying devotion to Jesus, who duly therefore made him the one in charge of His flock on this entire world, to lead His holy Church.

Our faith too, is often like that of Peter in the beginning, shaky and uncertain, and we can often be tempted by the temptations of the devil and sin so that we veer away from the way to the Lord. However, this is in fact part and parcel of our role as a member of the Church of God. Temptations and persecutions will definitely be on our way, and it will never be an easy path for us to seek and reach for the Lord.

But we cannot give up, as St. Peter and many other of the faithful had done across the ages. Many of the laity contributed much to keep the faith amidst even the greatest of persecutions. The people worked together to spread the Word of God through good works and testimonies of their faith. They spoke with many, and showed the love of God through their charities, and in doing so, they made many to turn towards the Lord and atone for their sins.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we come together to celebrate with the Lord the Sacrifice He had done on the cross for us, we have to be mindful of the part we ought to play in the Church’s works to spread the Good News and in the salvation of mankind. We have our part to play, brothers and sisters, and we should dedicate as much time and effort as possible to help one another and especially those who are still lost in the darkness.

May on this occasion of the Lay Apostolate Sunday awaken in us the spirit of courage and strength to be the bearers of the Good News to others, working hand in hand with the ordained ministers and servants of the Lord, for the good of all of us and all of our fellow brethren in the world. May God bless our endeavours and shine His light upon us. Amen.

Saturday, 11 January 2014 : Saturday after the Epiphany (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

We may be confused at first, when we listened to the first reading today, how that there are two kinds of sin, one that does not lead to death and one that leads to death. But indeed, there are indeed two kinds of sin that we know of in the Church, one being the venial sins, the lesser sins that are not very serious, and the other being the mortal sins, sins that are both heavy and serious in consequences.

But this does not mean that we should not take all sins seriously. Indeed, every kind of sins are serious and deadly, no matter how light or small they are. We cannot treat sinfulness lightly or we may end up in death. What is this death? As we all know, that the Lord is the Lord of life, and in Him, we have hope of eternal life, and liberation from the power of sin and death.

If we sin, that we are no longer worthy of the Lord, who is perfect in goodness. Yes, goodness that is not marred by sin. Sin, no matter how small, prevents us from truly reuniting ourselves with the love of God. And you all know that even if you build a building slowly, brick by brick, it will eventually become a large building. So it is the same as our sins then.

That is why as the Church had taught us, it is important for us to go to confession frequently, and not just that, but resolve to live a life without sin, as best as we can, every single day of our life. Confession should not be taken lightly, nor should we fear it. That is because the priests who hear our confession has been given with the authority from on high to forgive sins, just as with Jesus Christ, our Lord, who is Lord over all and had the authority to forgive sins, which He imparted to His disciples and from them, to our priests.

Do not fear, for the priests are also charged with the maintenance of the seal of confession, that is nothing that is shared by us to the priests should ever be made known to anyone else other than the priest. We should not fear to confess even our most secret sin. After all, the Lord is a loving and forgiving God, who will see that we are sorry for having sinned against Him and if we truly repented our sinfulness.

Sin is serious, brothers and sisters in Christ, and we should be conscious of our own sins, and understand the malice of sin above all else. Venial sins or small sins may not be a big hinder to our relationship with God, but they do make up to a big mountain of sin if we continue to do them without considering our state of sin.

We should indeed adopt the example of St. John the Baptist, who in great humility proclaimed the greatness of God, how great He was as compared to himself who is just mere servant of God. He readily said to his own disciples how he should decrease in importance while the Lord rose in importance. He did not let His human pride to get in the way, unlike many of us.

We often let fear and our human pride in the way of forgiveness. We do not let the Lord to come and absolve us from our sinfulness. We stood by our pride and let the devil to urge us to continue with our rebellion against God. No, this is not the way we should follow. Instead, cast aside our pride and fear, and instead put in a complete trust in the Lord and in His love and forgiveness.

Let us therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, from now on, follow the steps of St. John the Baptist, lowering ourselves humbly before God, and asking for His forgiveness from our sins, that we will be made righteous once again through our. Lord Jesus Christ, who sanctified and made holy all those who believe in Him. Let us be thrall of sin and evil no more, and let us from this day henceforth, be free and liberated!

Go often to confession and confess our wrongs to God, for our loving Father will surely hear us, forgive us, and embrace us with His love. God forgive our sins and be with us all always. Amen.

Thursday, 5 September 2013 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflection)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listened to the story of the calling of Simon Peter and his companions, the sons of Zebedee, fishermen of Galilee, to become the fishers of mankind. They have been called from their boats, from the Sea of Galilee, to be a part of the grand plan of salvation.

As fishermen at sea, Simon and the other fishermen merely did their daily routine of catching fishes, but then as the fishers of mankind, they broke out of their previous life, and went through trials and tribulations, going to different parts of the world, fishing ‘mankind’ and bring them to God. The world is now their fishing ground, and not just the Lake of Galilee anymore, where they used to work as fishermen.

They had been given greater and nobler purpose in their lives, that is to bring souls they had caught to God. How did they catch them then? No, not by fishing net as they had done to the fishes of Lake Galilee. They did that by being witnesses of Christ, of His death and His glorious resurrection. They preached the Good News to people who had not yet witnessed or heard about Christ before.

In that way they had spread the nets, yes, the nets of the kingdom of God, that all those who are not yet worthy of the kingdom of God, can be brought together in love, and put on the right track towards salvation in God. The Apostles went through much hardships and difficulties as they tried to bring the Lord to mankind, suffering rejection, persecution, and mockery in the process.

Yet the Apostles are not superhuman, brethren, as they are also humans like us. They suffered from doubt, fear, anxiety, and uncertainty especially when Jesus was still among them, and they were indeed scattered when jesus was taken from them by betrayal of Judas, scattered like sheep without a shepherd to guide them.

What is important is that the Apostles did not abandon their calling, the same calling God had called them for when He called Simon Peter and the sons of Zebedee from the Lake, and also for the other disciples. They kept their faith and believed in the Lord when He returned to them after the resurrection. They were empowered with the Holy Spirit, the Advocate on the day of the Pentecost.

They faced oppositions from the Pharisees and the chief priests, as well as the Roman authorities, when they went on to spread the Good News of the Lord. It is indeed as if the Apostles, the fishers of mankind, faced terrible waves and storms in their journey to ‘catch’ mankind to salvation in God. They persevered despite the heavy stormy conditions and saved many in the process.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, how is this then relevant to us who live in this world today, two thousand years after Jesus called His disciples? It is precisely because the work of the Apostles as the fishers of men dis not just stop with them or with their death. The Apostles had appointed their successors to lead the Church of God, and they are truly our priests and bishops of today.

Yes, brethren, they are the successors of the original fishers of men, and their duty is no less heavy as compared to that of the Apostle’s. They also have to work hard to ‘catch’ mankind and bring them into the kingdom of God, just as the Apostles had once done. However, brethren, in fact, we should, in our own small ways, be fishers of men too. Yes, fishers of men, that is to bring the people to God.

How do we do that? It is by showing God to mankind, the living God through our words, deeds, and actions, that the Lord and His everlasting love will be made manifest in this world, through us. The same is also done by our priests and bishops, as the Apostles too had done themselves once. In doing that, we cast out wide the nets of the kingdom, and fish out many men.

Do not be disheartened brothers and sisters, if we think that we cannot do much. Indeed, even one man can make much a difference in our world, and save many. If we start with small things, even eventually this can have large impact, just as we can see in wave ripples, where even small wave can have huge impact on the water, as the waves built upon each other in strength.

The Lord had asked Simon Peter to go and put his net into the deep, and there he found many fish, so many that the ship almost sank. This is also known in Latin as Duc in Altum, ‘to put into the deep’. Again, through this, the Lord challenges all of us, to not just remain in our comfort zone, that is ‘near the shore’, and instead set out to the deep. As fishermen all know, the further out they go into the sea, the more fish they will be able to catch. Thus, we too ought to follow the lead and cast our ‘net’ into the deep, that means giving out of ourselves in ever greater ways, in full and complete dedication and love for our fellow brethren.

Therefore, let us also take the opportunity given to all of us, to be like the Apostles of Christ, to reach out to our fellow brethren who have yet to know Christ, that we can play each of our own parts in the Church of God, with our Pope, the successor of St. Peter the Apostle, chief of the apostles, and the bishops as leaders, together working as the fishers of mankind, for the sake of the salvation of all in Christ. God bless us all. Amen.

Friday, 17 May 2013 : 7th Week of Easter (Scripture Reflection)

Brothers, and sisters, in our Lord Jesus Christ, to follow Christ means that we have to be ready to be persecuted, and to be opposed by the world. Because the world does not belong to Christ, and it belongs to the evil one, who relentlessly sends his fallen angels to corrupt mankind through the world, and when there are those who keep steadfast their faith in God, they will face tough times and suffering, but if we all remain faithful, we will receive rich rewards in heaven.

Peter and Paul suffered greatly for their faith in the Lord, and their evangelising mission across the pagan world at the time. They went through rejections, persecutions, trials, and ultimately martyrdom, which both of them received in Rome, at the capital of the Empire, under the reign of Nero, the Roman Emperor at the time, who blamed Christians for the great fire in Rome which Nero himself had likely caused.

But they welcomed their death with open hands, as they died in the way to glorify God, that through their death, new seeds of faith would emerge and bring the Church ever greater and stronger than before. Remember the saying that the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians. Indeed, the sacrifice of the many martyrs of the faith did not go to waste, because the blood that was outpoured from the martyrs becomes the source of inspiration to all of us, and that is why we glorify them as saints through the Church.

Peter, the leader of the Apostle, was made such because of his faith, and Christ entrusted to him the flock of sheep that has become His own. Christ entrusted His Church, that is the body of all the believers, in this world, and built it on Peter, the rock of faith. Why did Christ then do this, even though Peter had in fact rejected Christ three times, when in fear he denied the Lord during His time of suffering?

That was because Peter, despite his fear and his self-preserving move of denying Jesus, was ultimately a faithful apostle, and a person of love, who truly put Christ over all the others, especially when after that veil of fear had been lifted. And Peter, when Christ asked him thrice over whether he loved Him, he gave his sincere admission of an undying love, and also obedience.

That was why Christ gave him the command to feed and care for His sheep, as the first leader of the Church, the position which our Pope has today, and as the sole representative of Christ in this world, to lead the flock of Christ, as one, towards God. Peter, and Paul, another great apostle, Apostle to the Gentiles, died in Rome, and laid the foundations for the Church there, and after a long period of time, till today, we are where we are now, with the Bishop of Rome, our Pope, as our spiritual leader, the leader of the Church.

The Pope, our bishops, priests, and many other ministers of God’s Gospels, face daily persecution, opposition, and ridicule, especially from our world, and those outside the Church, but sadly, they even face opposition from those within the Church, who had been drifting away from the love of God, and corrupted by the world and relativism.

Therefore, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us today follow in the footsteps of the apostles, especially that of Peter and Paul, who had defended their faith and place themselves in risk for the sake of the Lord. Not that we should risk our own lives, but rather, that we should help the ministers of the Gospel, our humble and hardworking priests and leaders of the Church in the evangelisation, through our own actions, that spread love throughout the world.

May God guide us and protect our Church leaders and all the missionaries, and may He show the world His truth, that all would believe. God bless all of us! Amen.